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  • A Meditation on Nostalgia (Editorial)

    Sep 15 2014 06:20 AM | UncleChuckTH in Media Reviews


    It puzzles me that creative people so often seem to be making the same things.

    We like to think that we are progressive, always looking ahead to new frontiers, but in fact the opposite is true. We are constantly looking backwards: at bands our parents grew up with, at books that are hundreds of years old, at movies we remember seeing when we were four years old. Nostalgia is the source of this behavior. It drives us into repeating feedback loops.

    I can point to several media events from the last few months that support this notion. Disney revived a 1959 property with Maleficient, Godzilla came back for the 30th time, the Spider Man series got a second number two, lost properties Peabody and Sherman returned to the screen, the X Men chugged on, Apes took over the planet once again, and the Ninja Turtles came back for yet another iteration. Meanwhile, the Monty Python guys are pocketing their reunion cash, King Crimson is scheduling new concerts for an 8th lineup, and CN is announcing plans for a new version of the Powerpuff Girls.

    This list barely breaks the surface. Why is there so much renewal of old property, and why we don’t get tired of it?

    Nostalgia’s effects on culture are difficult to grasp because they are diffusive. Nonetheless, this is a worthy question. Entertainment blatantly demonstrates our cultural fixation with the past, and in a world where reboots, remakes, sequels, and prequels rule supreme, we should be asking...





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