The national book tour of Fox News Channel host Greg Gutfeld’s “Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You” kicked off last night at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas. Gutfeld, the host of Red Eye, was joined on stage by fellow The Five co-host Dana Perino.
In opening, Perino apologized for the main star of The Five, Jasper, not being in attendance to which Gutfeld replied that Jasper isn’t after all a real dog, he’s Dick Morris dressed up in a fur suit.
Suggesting that he originally wanted The Five to be called The One, Gutfeld joked how with Perino as a co-host, it could have been the One-and-a-Half or with Bob Beckel, The Ten. Perino reminded though that The One was a slot already occupied – by Bill O’Reilly.
In discussing his upbringing and the path that’s brought him to prominence as a political commentator known for his comic style, Gutfeld cited his mother as always having fed his uniqueness. Saying she recognized he was physically incapable of sports, his mother instead bought him Mad Magazine which for him confirmed the adult world is weird as well as provided introduction to politics and satire. His mother later also gave him National Lampoon which brought raciness into the mix. Per Gutfeld, “those magazines framed my life and made me want to write.”
As a college student at University of California, Berkeley, Gutfeld said he was “liberal by default.” Everyone at Berkeley unquestioningly bought in to ideas like that wealthy people are evil. Learning about The American Spectator provided him with an alternative view of the world that made sense.
Not Cool, Gutfeld’s fifth book which debuted at #7 on The New York Times best-seller list, focuses on how people make bad decisions because they want to be liked, it sounds good or because they want to be “cool.”
Gutfeld views “cool” as an elite hipster or progressive term that is bad because it’s value neutral allowing bad decisions to become justifiable in the name of being cool – a status people find desirable. Being cool plays into people’s desire for acceptance as well as their fear of rejection.
Gutfeld used Philadelphia cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as examples of how evil is depicted as “cool.” In discussing Rolling Stone’s cover and article on Tsarnaev, Gutfeld noted if that bombing had occurred at the Rolling Stone offices, perspective would have been different. The progressive mindset that maintains detachment from the suffering allows evil and darkness to be put in the prism of “cool.”
The “cool” movement is aided by the media-academic complex, a predictable group “as edgy as marbles.”
Free radicals are those who reject the hipster elite’s cool culture. They are nonconformists who operate on a code. Free radicals are those who don’t join the lock-step cool movement. With not being politically correct, they have to be ready to have a target on their backs.
Gutfeld discussed how, to be effective in changing public opinion, free radicals have to not only be correct, but must be persuasive. Using Andrew Breitbart as an example, he noted that free radicals must also be “happy warriors.”
Gutfeld said the best approach to changing cultural norms is humor combined with facts, but cautioned it ties back to the needed ability for persuasion.
Gutfeld attributes Red Eye’s success due in part to its guests being people unafraid of rejecting political correctness, people operating with a code. It’s hard, he said, to find people who will be honest on television.
Gutfeld and Perino agree that The Five is successful because, unlike many other news-oriented shows that care most about what their media peers think, their show is about the audience.
The show hosts’ chemistry is spontaneous and candid, they enjoy each other. The arguments seen on air are lively and real. Per Gutfeld, you can’t argue with someone you don’t like because you just don’t care – it’s not worth it.
When asked what authors or publications he would recommend for younger people, Greg noted that as this group ingests words differently, blogs like Ace of Spades provide great perspective. He also suggested checking out Reason Magazine.
Authors mentioned included Mark Steyn, P.J. O’Rourke, Gavin McInnes as well as Matt Labash and Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard. He also said “you can’t go wrong” with Charles Krauthammer.
The Not Cool Tour will make 10 other Texas stops including one Saturday in College Station and one Sunday in Waco. Click here for the full tour itinerary.