At the end of the day, what's, like, cool and amazing?

Richard Carter | 10/12/2012, 4:17 p.m.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to...
Colony Records was my place for original Black R&B

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt..."
-Mark Twain

Have you ever tired of hearing a particular expression or word? I certainly have. A few years ago, omnipresent, annoying examples were "early on" and "tell it like it is." Both were done to death by the late Howard Cosell on TV's "Monday Night Football."

More recently, it's "at the end of the day." Ed Rollins-a long-time Republican Party operative most recently connected with Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign-has cornered the market. As a matter of fact, whenever he pops up on cable television news, I cringe and find myself counting how many times he says "at the end of the day." Ugh!

And he's not alone. Everywhere you turn, it seems political pontificators preface their prose with this pitiful, second-hand phrase. Hey, y'all, at the end of the day, why not give us a break? You are simply insufferable. I'm just telling it like it is.

But even more annoying to me is the constant use of "cool," "like" and "amazing" by lame white people on the tube-entertainers, news readers, commentators, talk show hosts and guests, all manner of wannabes and politicians. I almost gag thinking about it.

Let's start with that old standby "cool." This is one of many slang expressions that grew out of jazz and other popular music genres originated by Black people. It has been co-opted by whites who are either too dumb or too oblivious to understand.

And just what, exactly, is connoted by the overused "cool"? Is it an attitude? Is it a way to behave, dress, dance, talk, walk or sing? Is it kids trying to act grown-up? Is it heavily tattooed athletes? Is it whites trying to act and look Black? Think about it.

In recent years, there have been many bizarre and goofy examples of white people of all ages-including so-called celebrities-characterizing something as "cool." It rears its overused head on television, in movies, in parks, at concerts, on the street, the subway and in newspapers and magazines. It's all over the place.

One of the word's most curious uses that garnered lots of attention in New York occurred back on Oct. 26, 1999, at a highly publicized Ku Klux Klan rally in Foley Square near City Hall. Perhaps you recall the incident.

Although more Kluxers were expected, only 16 of the infamous white racists showed up-in white robes and caps but without masks. After a 56-year-old white high school teacher expressed anger by punching the leader, one of his admiring students was quoted as saying, "I think it's really cool of him." Hmm...

The teacher's action may well have been righteous, but was it "cool"? Do these people know something we don't know? Or are they simply a day late and a dollar short? Here are a few examples from the last number of years: