The cool S

If you attended an American elementary school since the end of the last century, you have probably seen an icon called “Cool S.” (That is really its name.) It is basically what it sounds like: the 19th letter of the alphabet, rendered so as to be maximally appealing to the Billabong set. Its native habitats include the walls of laser-park bathrooms, the margins of math textbooks, and the forearms of 9-year-old boys. Justice Potter Stewart is remembered today for the phrase “I know it when I see it”—which happens to describe the “Cool S” well—but had he attended elementary school in Cincinnati roughly 70 years after he actually did, he would instead be remembered for writing his name “Potter S.,” with the Cool S, at the top of every assignment.

Anyway, it looks like this:

Rachel gutman / The Atlantic

This has been a historic week for the Cool S, because it is the unacknowledged but undeniable inspiration for Tesla’s new pickup, the Cybertruck. (That is really its name.) It looks like this:

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

The influence of the “Cool S” is indisputable. You will notice several other unorthodox design choices: The truck is made of stainless steel, and does not have sideview mirrors. It does not have shatter-proof windows, also. Take down the mighty atlas of aesthetics from its high shelf, and you will find that a thin border separates machismo and self-parody, bravery and priapism. But you will not find the Cybertruck, because it is entirely off the map, floating half-submerged in an ocean somewhere.

The truck was announced via livestream Thursday night, and of course Twitter immediately attacked: Here was a chonky new target for its free-wheeling scorn. Katherine Miller of BuzzFeed correctly observed that it looked like a vehicle from the video game …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Technology


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