Adolescent Consumption and the Pursuit of “Cool”

Authored by: David B. Wooten , James A. Mourey

The Routledge Companion to Identity and Consumption

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415783064
eBook ISBN: 9780203105337
Adobe ISBN: 9781136253522


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In a scene from the 1995 movie Billy Madison, Adam Sandler plays the main character, an irresponsible slacker who must go back to school and pass grades 1–12 on his own over a 24-week period to earn the right to run the family business. Along the way he discovers that a classmate had an embarrassing “accident” during a school field trip. An empathetic Billy comes to the rescue by splashing water on the front of his own pants, thereby attracting the children’s attention, who begin teasing him about wetting his pants. Without hesitation, Billy exclaims, “Of course I peed my pants! Everybody my age pees their pants; it’s the coolest! You ain’t cool unless you pee your pants!” Instantly, a behavior that people normally shun becomes the popular thing to do, as every child proceeds to have “accidents.” Upon witnessing these bizarre events, the elderly woman conducting the field trip responds, “If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.”

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