Just Be Cool

cover Quentin Tarantino Wallpaper
courtesy of Wallpaper Folder

“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

just be coolIn 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.

just be coolWhen 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 entertainmentaccording 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.

Just Be Cool
COOL by Imani Clovis

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.

– thepublicblogger

**How to Defuse Anger in Ourselves & Others, PyschCentral

45 comments

  1. I love Quinten Tarantino’s ability to write very unique and interesting dialogue. 😄 🌟 This post is fantastic and so well written. 👏🏾 I deeply appreciate your use of that scene in the movie to express a very well needed defuser of explosive emotion. “Just Be Cool” is used in the same way that Martin Lawrence used “Woo Saah” to defuse his anger. I’ve used that one many times. And even further back in the day, Alice from The Honeymooners always said, “Pins and needles, needles and pins, a happy woman is a woman who grins.” There are decades of instances where the screen arts gave people new ways to defuse anger. But it’s obvious people are still getting out of control and allowing anger to fuel their emotions. We just have to find the method that works best for us and use it whenever that moment arises. Thank you for sharing such an insightful post.

    • Thank you for adding your voice, knowledge and history of lessons learned from cinema. I often say that while I may breach a topic, it is down here in the community forum where the real learning and teaching takes place. So good to have you in The Neighborhood.

  2. I’ve learned from hard experience to say nothing if I don’t know what to think or if I’m thinking in anger. Anger at the right moment and under the right circumstances can give us the impetus we need to make needed changes to our political and legal systems, but anger is toxic to healthy relationships when expressed in the moment.

  3. “…often it’s not our own fuse that hinders our success; it’s someone else’s.” This line resonates with me more than you know. Often times losing cool means losing focus; a derailment if you will. To “be cool” is to stay the course. I may be late with this, but reading your words today came right on time for me. Thank you.

  4. You know… I am behind in my blog reading and today could not be a better day to land on this one. I have been deep breathing and trying to keep my cool ever since I got a phone call from the school principal telling me he found crap in my son’s possession, which will result in his expulsion. Again. I admit to having not been particularly functional since I’ve returned home and felt it was in everyone’s best interest for me to go upstairs to my space and “Be cool” I haven’t been able to write a post today as a result and that is all OK!

    Thank you, Kendall!

  5. Kendall, I wish I read this post before last Saturday night. Last weekend I was at the local pub when a fellow, with a very long history of confrontation in town, approached angrily and made serious allegations involving his ex-wife and I. To make a long story short, he persisted and followed me outside. He threw a few drunken punches that I eluded then pushed him to the ground several times as he would get back up over and over swinging punches. After the ground cut his forehead and blood began to run down his face, he got the point that I did not want to fight or hurt him after several minutes. Thankfully it ended with only a minor cut, but it certainly could have been much worse.
    Getting back to your post. I honestly think that if I read this post last week and said those wise words, “JUST BE COOL”, things likely would have ended better. I really believe that it would have help me avoid the whole situation. Thank you Kendall, I will ..BE COOL.. next time.

  6. Except that counting to ten or going for a walk haven’t been shown of any value. Neither have anger management classes. Preventive detention of persons who show anger management problems is likely the only thing that would prove effective, and this can’t be done for obvious reasons.

    • No debate that your statement is true in reference to some – Seung-Hui Cho – served as their proxy, of sorts, . But Just Be Cool speaks to all of us. We don’t have to have an anger management problem. The one time, and it happens to everyone, we lose our temper and explode could be the worse possible time. Counting to 10 worked for Mother when we were growing up {and therefore worked for us -big smile} and going for a walk is how I catch my breath and the reason why it was lost does not matter. It allows for a change of scenery, but thats more benefit than defuser, its time so take a long walk if need to. Thank you for adding your voice to this forum. You are appreciated very much.

      • I will concede such techniques can work for people who don’t suffer from forms of anger pathology in a serious way. Maybe football works, too, as an outlet. 🙂 In my own life, I’ve found resentments a tough nut to crack, with a lot that just has to be accepted as how it is.

        • ‘techniques’ also take a willingness, a fortitude a practice, a release in order to be effective. I understand your challenge with resentment, you are not only, but resentment is so draining, you will find a technique that works for you…if you are looking. Thank you for dialogue. You are appreciated.

  7. Kendall I have a confession to make. I seen Pulp Fiction for the first time last year. I was tired of my wife asking me. “I MEAN, WHO HAVEN’T SEEN PULP FICTION?”..Anyway, I love the message here. And the next time we get into an argument I will remember to say “just be cool” instead of “calm down.” I will let you know how it goes…lol

  8. I like this, Kendall. I really do. I found ‘Pulp Fiction’ to be very violent for me. But I get what you mean by the humor and very slick directing. I thought Uma Thurman and Travolta (his come back) to be excellent. And the costume design wonderful. Tarantino is a genius. But beyond that, I like your advice about “be cool” in the face of anger. Peoples’ tempers are short these days and their lives are unhappy. Let’s all be mindful to smile more, simply because maybe a kind word or a smile might change someone’s day.

  9. I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction, but I agree that anger is there for a reason, and that sometimes we need to address anger in others. Anger is seldom about what it first appears to be about in real life. People are usually fearful and insecure, or maybe(as in the case of angry drivers) they’ve already had a bad day. I like your advise about diffusing the situation. Now I’m ready to go and face rush hour traffic.

  10. Reblogged this on chrisalbrycht and commented:
    A very well written article on how anger can escalate. Anger can be positive but also destructive. The decision on how to respond to anger or which way to use it, happens with little thought. Just like I did this morning after being cut off by a driver who was paying more attention to his cell phone than the road. I instantly raced up to him after cussing and tailgated. I realized what I was doing after getting on his bumper and seeing his kids in the back seat. How can we create the distance to pull the decision out of our subconscious and arrest the emotional cycle to gain control over the situation? Better yet how can we see the indicators and avoid the engagement altogether?

    • Thank you for sharing your recent personal experience with anger and posing such important yet difficult questions. The answers are out there, and when we dialogue with one another, may be the best way to find them. Have a wonderful day, so glad you stopped by The Neighborhood today.

  11. Spot on! It is very interesting on how someone’s anger can draw you in like a magnet and amplify the need to make a response in kind or with greater ferocity. The urge to check the persons emotions or to dominate the engagement is instantaneous and at times uncontrollable. How much of this is correlated to our fight or flight response or our intuition? How do you get some distance (physical, emotional, cognitive) to stop the urge? Or better yet how can you learn to recognize indicators so that you avoid the engagement altogether?

    • The forum section of shows/posts cannot be understated. I often note, that while I may breach a topic, it is down here, in the discussion were the exchange of knowledge occur. Thank you for adding your voice and for stopping by The Neighborhood today. Have a wonderful and just be cool.

  12. “Pulp Fiction” is one of the best writer’s movie ever. Brilliant. This post is also brilliant. Anger is all tied up with fear within each of us and is a seat of irony because it can either help us survive or get us killed.

    • Pulp Fiction was a classic from the first showing on the first screen. Jackie Brown ranks #1 with me, but it was Pulp Fiction that made me the Tarantino fan I am. Good to see you narble. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and remember, if anger sneaks in….just be cool, my friend.

  13. Great advice! I hope I think of it next time I notice myself getting angry.

    I remember many quotes from Pulp Fiction, the “say what again” piece was awesome, “the path of the righteous man…” another favourite and the “little black medical book”. Priceless stuff!

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