Soooooo, nostalgia. It's one of the 20th century's Stealth Buzzwords. In this age of
and and ,
nostalgia (the breakfast of Champions) is like a shadowy specter, lurking off on the very edges of our society, waiting to be all... dark... and shadowy... and stuff. You know it's there, I know it's there, the Marketing Men in Black know it's there, but it's never presented in its raw form. Like smack, nostalgia has to be cut with something to be palatable to the general masses. This is why there's so much 'old is new again'; new cars are built with old names... why singers are covering so many old songs... why old TV shows are becoming new movies... and so on and so forth.
Some of us enjoy nostalgia uncut. I've gone through my tour of duty collecting old Atari 2600 carts (have you blown the dust from Atari today?), finding old horror films from the past, and using Java 1.1 when Java 1.3 is in pre-release. So when the nostalgia craze began to sweep across Western Civilization like the Power of Cheese, I was really quite ready to embrace it, shadowy-ness and all.
Of course, I didn't look too closely at what had been delivered to our societal door by the UPS Man of Fads Past. Not at first. Which is the only way that I can excuse myself for missing one, inescapable fact about factory-packaged Nostalgia Flakes.
It's like digging into a biiiiig Hot Fudge sundae and tasting Cream of Wheat. It's not what you ordered, it's not what you wanted, you don't even particularly
want it, but you swallow it anyway, because on some lizard-brain level you believe it's good for you.
When we visit the names of cars that were synonymous with Freedom and Adventure, Rebelliousness and Excitement, what is it that we get today? Conformity! Bland lines! Tiny, inoffensive frames! And cream of wheat!
Or look at the movies they make from old shows. Take for example
Mission: Impossible -- they take a clever, smart premise and systematically raze it down to even its theme music, building back up in its place a construct that's as stable as Poly-Filla and toothpicks. Or as a more poignant example,
Lost In Space, a film that I would have truly loved had they not tried to link it to the campy series of the same name. What we are losing in the rush to shove the product of the past onto the shelves of the present is the spirit of what it is that we're repackaging and stamping with the seal of renewal. What, I ask, is the point of remaking something if you have none of the elusive spark of that thing in your crafting? All that you've really done is mortgage your creation on the asset of a name, essentially hiding out behind a thin, cardboard cutout of a legend from yesteryear. Pay no attention to the script writer behind the curtain! I am Oz, the Great and Powerful -- now, with CGI dinosaurs!!!
I've reached the end-point of my rant, and I've yet to sum everything up as a thesis. The temptation is strong to say nothing more, thumb my nose at every teacher who has ever told me to finish my thoughts before moving on, and leave everyone hanging. But no... I feel the need for closure in this. I feel the need to prove that I have a point to convey. What I believe that I'm saying is that creativity is a quicksilver bitch-goddess that gives and taketh away. And as she is more and more often dressed up in whore's clothing for the masses, the clothiers in charge will be turning an eye to what came before for their next Quick-and-dirty product. They need to catch the People's attentions, and the trend in this day and age is to do it by glitz rather than by presenting a superior product, and sadly this is often because we have so many Products all vying for attention that you wonder if perhaps it's not time to clear the board and start the game over again with fewer pieces. I'm not sure. All I know is that I love the past, I want to revere the past, and the more that I see my fond memories being cranked out into Factory-Processed Advanced Meat Paste Substitute, the more I wish that no one had every invented the term 'Cover' (used in the context, oh my GOD, Madonna covered "American Pie"?).
I've also learned that Robert Smith really kicks ass.
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