cover Quentin Tarantino Wallpaper
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“Each of us holds the power to defuse our own anger and even others’. This is especially critical because often it’s not our own fuse that hinders our success; its someone else’s”.
– Dr. Joe Strand
The Art of Cool by XIXX
JUST BE COOL
WRITTEN & EDITED BY
KENDALL F. PERSON
In 1994, a young Quentin Tarantino would make his mark in the motion picture industry with an independent film titled Pulp Fiction. With the backing of Miramax Films, Tarantino had an extravagant (for an independent film) $8 million dollar budget, and he made good use of every cent.The ultra violence of the film was neutralized by sophisticated directing, a splash of humor, Oscar worthy performances, and the intriguing, intersecting story lines. To date, Pulp Fiction is one of the highest growing indie films of all times, with a worldwide gross of more than $220 million dollars. There were many memorable scenes and characters, some shocking others prolific, but most only make sense within context of the movie. But one line, just “be cool” delivered with veracity by Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) transcends this cinematic wonder to become a part of our day to day lives.
There are exceptions, of course. When Seung-Hui Cho walked onto the Virginia Tech campus in 2007 and initiated the deadliest school shooting in American history, telling him to just be cool were words that would have fallen upon deaf ears, as a blood lust was all he could feel. But most of us are not psychotic, and even if we are prone to rage or challenged with managing anger, we find ways to lower the volume before it alters our fate. Breathing in and out, counting to ten, going for a run or drowning ourselves in art, are all proven tools to maintain control of our emotions and to defuse our anger, allowing the mercury to peak well before it hits ten.
When Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer) flies into hysterics upon seeing Jules holding a gun to Pumpkin’s (Tim Roth) head, she nervously pulls out a gun herself, elevating a tense confrontation among thieves, one of whom is a hit man. But Jules is able to defuse the deadly situation by convincing Honey Bunny to just “be cool…. like Fonzie.” While many of the scenes from Pulp Fiction were allusions, imagined by the director and manufactured by Hollywood for maximum entertainment, according to Harvard Medical School instructor, Dr. Joe Strand, this one was not, “Each of us holds the power to defuse our own anger and even others’. This is especially critical because often it’s not our own fuse that hinders our success; its someone else’s”.**
Anger is a natural emotion and usually a shared experience, and although it is associated with – and more often than not – the root cause of arguments and violence, anger does have cognitive and supportive qualities, that allow us to defend and speak up for ourselves. In competitive sports, anger causes an adrenaline rush, placing players in a zone, forcing focus and the elevation of the plan, which can affect momentum, and ultimately, alter the outcome of the game. Anger helps to maintain or build self-esteem, which in the case of domestic violence, is the first emotion beaten out of the victim. But managing anger – internally and externally – is a challenge we face daily, and its element of surprise, may find us erupting from zero to ten in split seconds. And on the occasion, there is no defuser in the crowd, we may say something that we will regret or in worse case scenario, someone could end up dead.
The imagery of Fonzie, an iconic character from 1970’s t.v. who epitomized cool, was enough to calm Honey Bunny, deescalating a fatal situation, allowing her and Pumpkin to stroll out of the diner, both very much alive.
So the next time you are cut off in traffic, then race ahead to flip-off the rude driver, or the children are visibly frightened at the intensity of their parents’ shouts, or you are bumped into at a jammed pack nightclub and decide to give the accidental bumper a piece of your mind, or a troll submits an off-topic, vicious comment on your page, that has yet to be approved or moderated, take a deep breath before responding. Enough time to roll the tape forward in your mind, and to fully comprehend, that on a scale from one to ten, five can help you think clearly, locate a solution, defuse a situation and maintain control of an otherwise beautiful day; but a ten – an explosion of emotions – no one wins.
Do not allow anyone else’s bad day to affect your good one, and deliver the same respect in return. And if you find yourself in a tense situation, and can think of no other way out, remember Jules, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny and these three little magical words….just be cool.
**How to Defuse Anger in Ourselves & Others, PyschCentral