Σάββατο, 1 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

What I Think About Stuff-The Problem with Nostalgia

Old timey idiocy at its funniest.

The Problem with Nostalgia Or  Way Dumber than you think.

Let me start of by explaining the definition of nostalgia: this word is Greek in origin and translates to ‘pain from an old wound’. It was a word reserved for war veterans and never, ever meant anything good for the person experiencing it. 

Except perhaps that he made sure the motherfucker who gave him that old wound isn’t around to tell the tale.

Nostalgia was a reminder of horrors on the battlefield and the operating table, a reminder of fever, of surviving through a cure that was, in many ways, worse than the affliction. Nostalgia was a constant reminder of harsher times and the people experiencing it were their historians and everyone was glad those times weren’t around anymore.

But the world moves on, times get better (albeit in small quantities) and pretty soon, the original meaning of the term was forgotten. Nostalgia suddenly changed its meaning to “reminiscing of old things” or ‘looking back to the past longingly’. The reason? Television.

That horrible source of procrastination. Thank God we’ve got our computers; now we spend our time creatively, not browsing meaningless shit for days on end!

People that are reading this article were probably born or grew up in the 80’s. That means that by the year 2000

When we realized that science still hadn’t come up with the floating cars it had promised us SINCE THE 50’S (seriously science, what the fuck?)

We were in our 20’s and had suddenly realized that we were grown-ups. Now, growing up isn’t that big a deal. In fact, untold millions of our number did this in ages past and in way harder times than ours. They stiffed their upper lip, twirled their manly mustaches and jumped into the fray and moved along.

Of course, they didn’t really have a choice. After all, they didn’t have the internet.

Pictured: the internet. Because that’s exactly what it looks like and how it works.

They did not have this nexus of information and instant communication to carry their whinning across the globe, allowing it to bounce off satellites and back into everyone’s personal computers at the same time. They could not simultaneously project their joined butthurt across the billions of humanity and whine and piss and moan about how hard it is to grow up.

But pissing and moaning isn’t much of a term now, is it? So they needed another term, a catchier one, that would give their condition some…pizzazz! 

And thus, nostalgia was redefined.

Ah yes, back when there were only three sites on the internet and they were all shit.

From a word that stood for how terrible the world was and how much better we are now in comparison, it became synonymous with how great everything used to be…

When we were kids.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a kid in the ‘80’s:

And for those of you that came a bit later in the party that we call mankind, here’s one from the 90’s:

I’d like to ask you to look at both images as objectively as possible and try to come up with a way they both don’t come across as dorks (with the exception of little Ian at the top, he looks like the sexiest dork alive). You can’t, can you? Is it because you hate children, or are you trying to convince yourself that you’re some kind of misanthrope that cannot come to terms with the idea that the world will continue existing long after he has perished?

"Now I will destroy the whole world."

No. It’s because your own perceptions of taste, style and your overall understanding of the world have changed, simply because you have grown older. It’s not your fault that you’ll find yourself feeling embarrassed as you open old cardboard boxes that you kept in a storeroom somewhere and look at all those ridiculous sweaters you bought so you could pick up chicks when you were 14. It’s not your fault that you’ll listen to old tapes and CDs (if you were one of them rich kids) from the Spice Girls and feel an unease tingle going up and down your spine the minute the first song and starts playing and think: “Oh dear God, why the fuck did I buy this in the first place?”

That’s normal. Your kids and their kids’ kids are going to look back to the past and think how much sillier everything used to be. It’s the natural order of things.

Except that our generation is doing everything in its power to break that circle. But not for the sake of every generation since, no sir. We’re doing it for our own goddamn sake and damn everyone else!

Hasbro is the one True God and Optimus Prime its prophet.

We infest the internet with petabytes worth of praise over shows, cerals, lunchboxes, comic books and series that we grew up with and damn everything else that came after them. We spend our entire time paying tribute to things that we consider to be the “absolute epitome of entertainment”, dubbing them as unparalleled classics and pitying the poor generations to come that will not experience the pop cultural glory that we experienced growing up.

Behold, ladies and gentlemen, GLORY!:

Transformers is praised as being the awesomest series ever made in the history of the universe and until recently, I adhered to the belief as well. It was the first cartoon show I ever watched and I loved it with all my heart. I considered the dialogue to be Shakespearean (in comparison to my non-existent knowledge of what constitutes Shekespearean dialogue) and I considered the storyline to be highly cerebral.
Then I made the mistake of caving to peer pressure and watching the series all over again. And let me tell you, it sucked balls.
Watching the original Transformers series was the equivalent of having the fist of reality smash into my rose-colored lenses and exposing me to the compost heap that was the show. Am I being too harsh with such an old show, you’ll ask? Perhaps I am one of those silly artsy assholes who tend to criticize children’s shows by applying common sense to them? 
To these people I say:
Okay, asshole, justify the logic behind robotic races having robotic pets that can transform into mix tapes.
I have only myself to blame for this. Deep down, I knew Transformers, GI Joe and every other series I grew up with as a kid would seem dumb and shoddily mad in comparison. I am not blaming the series. I am placing the blame on us.
Us, the stuck-up, pampered generation that grew up with a rich pop culture it chose to preserve like a fetus in a jar.
Or an H.R. Geiger body-horror version of Ripley in a lab for no discernible reason
You see, much like anything, pop culture isn’t meant to be preserved. It’s tailored to the needs of its audience and its time. It’s not built to look good forever or inspire awe in every generation since.
Pictured: the one and only notable exception to the rule.
Pop culture of each time is meant to provide us with visuals and tropes that we are then meant to expand on; they are shoulders of giants that we are meant to climb so we can reach our next phase. It’s not meant to obsess over and antagonize each other. It’s not meant to circulate on goddamn ebay and reach absurd costs for obscure bits of it.
And it sure as hell is not meant to inspire multi-million dollar mounds of horse shit like this:
Pictured: the end product of money that could have instead funded cancer research.
Our generation’s nostalgia not only serves to defeat the purpose of pop culture, it also perpetuates its obsession, ad infinitum, by regurgitating the same old tired crap like reviews on movies and games more than two decades old that we are supposed to care about. Sure, some of them are genuinely original and funny, but they’re lost in the general maelstrom of NES and retro game reviewers.
Jesus Christ, people. I’m not a gamer personally but can you honestly tell me you can compare this:
A sharp 64-bit Ocarina
To This:
Mass Effect 3 not pictured due to memetic abuse
And honestly think Ocarina as the better game? Mass Effect 2 was a game that had tons more work in both writing and overall gaming design than Ocarina. It was, in every respect, a far superior game.
Oh, of course the graphics are better, that’s just the natural procession of things. But have you noticed something else as well? The writing’s getting better too.
Old videogames weren’t the absolute best gaming could be. They were just a stepping stone. They were just a stage in the overall evolution of entertainment. They were the best of the best of their time. NOT ALL TIME.
But just in case anyone needs my opinion on the matter, this is my bestest gamest everer.
But why does our generation perpetuate this? Will future generations do this as well? I hope to God the answer to the second question is no. I’ll be way too old 
And hopefully filthy rich
To give a damn by then, but I hope that the next generation won’t be as love with itself and the time that spawned it as ours was.
Now as for my first question, why are we doing this, it’s not just a matter of selfishness and a denial of growing up. For most of us, it’s also an indicator of something far worse. Something that we have obscured so deftly, that we’ve elevated it to an art form:
Is that a bad thing? Of course not! Not everyone is meant to be an idea machine. But ideas and concepts stem from harsh times and to be frank, our generation was pampered. Most of us led easy, carefree lives and lived like teenagers until well into their twenties (some of our number still do, even though they’re nearly pushing thirty).
As a result, we retreated into the security blanket of our childhood, where we were perfectly without blame and everything was awesome. Problem is, the world kept moving on without us. Some of us moved on. Most didn’t make it.
While others chose to tread the treacherous middle ground and made a shitload of money off it.
We need to get over our generational culturosturbation and move on. We need to focus on how to make new ideas and how to use our love of what we grew up with for a purpose, to generate new concepts and give something greater to the world, instead of poring over our childhoods.
Psst, 20-year old reading this: you’ve got 50-70 years ahead of you. That’s like waaay longer than your teens. Are you gonna do something about the glorious decades ahead, or are you going to keep living in your pre-pubescent shitty dreamland?
Cause, you know, there’s bitches in the future.

It’s bitches all the way down…

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