Entertainment Weekly Wouldn’t Know Cool If It Bit Them In The Ass

Merriam-Webster defines the slang form of the word cool as:

very good: excellent; also: all right

Using this as a guideline, Entertainment Weekly tried to create a list of the 20 All-Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture. In descending order they are:

20. Sydney Bristow

19. Atticus Finch

18. Batman

17. Nancy Drew

16. Jack Bauer

15. Dirty Harry

14. Will Kane

13. Foxy Brown

12. Captain James T. Kirk

11. Mad Max

10. Spider-Man

9. Robin Hood

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

7. Han Solo

6. John McClane

5. Ellen Ripley

4. Harry Potter

3. Superman

2. Indiana Jones

1. James Bond

There’s a lot to quibble about with this list, but there is one huge glaring eyesore of a problem with this list. It sits right at number four: Harry Potter. I don’t know who’s idea that was, but Harry Potter is one of the least cool characters I could possibly think of. When it boils down to it, he’s a dweeby little nerd with a couple friends that practices magic all day. You ask anybody, that’s no one’s definition of cool.

And it’s not like there is anything inherently special about Harry Potter. It seems like he only knows anything about anything because one of his parents’ friends grabbed him by the shirt collar and forced something upon him. He’s always given special treatment and secret knowledge just because of his parents. That’s not cool. It sounds more like he’s kind of spoiled.

Even if it’s accepted that Harry Potter is one of the coolest cats to ever be thunk up, how in shit’s name is he cooler than John McClane or Mad Max. Harry Potter wouldn’t even be a forgettable pun for John McClane. Really, Han Solo too? How could anyone even think that up as a joke? Harry Potter flies on a broomstick. A freaking broomstick.

Then we’ve got Atticus Finch. I’ve seen the movie and read the book, and Atticus Finch just isn’t cool. A great character, deserving of a lot of respect and whatnot, but he’s square like… like the most square thing you can think up. No one runs up to Scout screaming about how cool her dad is. No one. Ever.

Same thing goes for Will Kane. He gets mad props for standing alone and risking his life to serve up the justice Frank Miller and his gang deserve, but he’s just not cool. Isn’t the cooler version of High Noon High Plains Drifter? Clint Eastwood’s character isn’t exactly nice, but he’s a hero of sorts, and a damn sight cooler than Will Kane.

The list does have some good females characters, but how could anyone think Ellen Ripley is cooler than Foxy Brown. Killing aliens is pretty sweet and saving little girls is heroic, but she wouldn’t know cool if it spit acid in her face. Foxy Brown, on the other hand, oozes cool with every bit of her take-no-shit attitude. She says things like “You pink-ass corrupt honky judge, take your little wet noodle outta here and if you see a man anywhere send him in because I do need a MAN!” Ripley calls an alien a bitch. The former is cool, the latter, not so much. And Foxy Brown’s thoughts on vigilante justice: “It’s as American as apple pie.” Enough said.

And does anyone in the real world think Robin Hood is cooler than Dirty Harry? Dirty Harry breaks up a bank robbery while eating a hot dog. He doesn’t even set it down when he starts blowing punks away. That. Is. Cool.

6 comments to Entertainment Weekly Wouldn’t Know Cool If It Bit Them In The Ass

  • Terri

    You obviously haven’t read the Harry Potter books. It was predicted before his birth that the one person who could defeat the most evil wizard living at the time would be born soon and Harry was one of 2 babies born that fit the criteria. His family was targeted and his parents died trying to protect him. He was a “chosen one” and THAT is cool. Being able to do magic and fly? Very cool. Considering how many people want to be him or joining that world (and we’re talking people running into walls at that railway station lol) , I think he fits the criteria!

  • Furious

    Thanks for the comment, Terri.

    I’ll concede that Harry Potter fits the definition of cool as in something that is popular, but popularity wasn’t what EW was going for, or they wouldn’t have included the likes of Sydney Bristow.

    Personally, I’d think someone acting like Harry Potter would be teased way more than any other character on the list. I just don’t think Harry Potter is cool the same way James Dean was. But heck, my sister would probably say I’m about as far away from cool as you can get, so everybody sees cool a little different.

  • Terri

    People feared and were in awe of Harry more than he was ever teased. He had pretty much a non-fun life (abused growing up in his aunt and uncle’s house) and was attacked frequently in his school years by deadly, and older forces. While he had some help and was lucky, he invariably had to get through the big battles by himself (i was going to say final battles but there’s more than that in each book). Throughout it all and by the end, he remains a decent and sane human being. In my book, he should have been number 1.

  • Furious

    There’s no shortage of people who think highly of Harry Potter, and despite all the obstacles in his life he turned out a well-adjusted, honorable person. But cool? Really?

  • Terri

    I suppose it’s one’s definition of cool, as you’ve said. Han Solo was a mercenary so the gunfighting was already right up his alley. He just happened to fall in love with a princess who was fighting with the underground forces. James Bond was cool, but again he was specially trained to kill. It was his job. (As a female here, I’m going to state I disliked some of his ways with women -don’t laugh!). It wasn’t always cool nor the fact that he killed so much. Indiana Jones was after treasure. Harry isn’t after money or attention. All these guys are also older whereas Harry was just so young. He could have walked away or just said no, but in the end, he offers himself up again and again. That is cool.

  • Furious

    I can see how the violent nature of some of these characters could turn someone off. Or James Bond’s womanizing or Robin Hood’s tights. But I just can’t do it Terri! My conscience won’t allow me to say that Harry Potter is cool!

    I do appreciate your attempts to convince me. Obviously, you’re pretty passionate about HP.

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