The Smothering Nostalgia

  • Entertainment industries are obsessed with nostalgia. We the consumers of films, videogames, music and books can't get enough of wanting simpler times back, the times that reflect our youthful energy and exuberance.

    Big business capitalizes on this majorly by promoting decades in a glossy fashion as though they were pristine and perfect, they convince us to latch onto their technicolour trains and ride them into the stratosphere.

    The 1980s is possibly the most fondly remembered decade in the history of the planet and you won't get far in life without being submerged in it if you live in mainstream society and indulge in mainstream products.

    Part of this huge fascination with the 1980s comes from the music. The supercharged power ballads, the larger-than-life hair bands, the ascension of new wave and the explosion of pop made music excitingly excessive and the entire decade appears like one never-ending neon-soaked party.

    Films and TV shows almost boasted as much oomph as the music with beloved franchises like Back To The Future, most of the Rocky films, Rambo, Terminator, Ghostbusters, Blade Runner among various others. These classics are adored and even four-decades later with callbacks, sequels and remakes being demanded as we just can’t get enough that era at all.

    Today the sensation of the 1980s can't be halted with new TV shows like Stranger Things and high-budget films like Guardians of the Galaxy leading the way in fuelling our modern nostalgia for this seminal of all decades. We continue to indulge in the 80s like we indulge in a Papa John’s Pizza, it’s retro junk food that we go back to when a flicker of nostalgia ripples through our memories, making us yearn for a time we remember fondly.

    Problems with nostalgia are quite considerable despite all the pleasures it gives. For one nostalgia gives us rose-tinted specs about a time in the past, where we glorify and glamorize it to make it much more appealing than it may have been in reality.

    There’s also the concern that it gives us a false sense of reality to submerge ourselves in the past because the present isn’t good enough for us.

    Honestly I feel this way about WWE in 2003 because I was eleven years old, I loved the edginess of the Ruthless Aggression and the vibes the year gives off in general makes me very nostalgic.

    But in my opinion this reality I’m living in the year 2021 is appalling, only satiated by entertainment products that take me out of reality because I feel life sucks otherwise. This is what nostalgia does, it positively takes us back but it’s like we’ve put on glasses to see things that aren’t real but give us the utmost pleasure.

    This might seem like a strong statement but nostalgia is merely distraction many of us including myself fall into. It’s incredibly tempting to slip ourselves back into simpler times, but because we can’t do this in reality we cloak ourselves with the retro finery we loved from way back when.

    Nostalgia is a lovely thing if we use it as a temporary escape. It’s when nostalgia consumes us that our real lives suffer. Some of you may not care and will drink it up like a strawberry milkshake, but our present and future gives us power to make change possible-the past is wonderful but it eats away the now and won’t develop us further.