My question is, why the nostalgia? Here are a few reasons I think are the case:
It’s a nostalgic time of year. Fall is full of activity, and that activity can remind us of our own childhood days. I’ve found more memory triggers regarding my grammer school days lately, no doubt from the increase of fall and Halloween décor springing up in the past week. There have also been calls for fall themed and Halloween stories, as writers and readers are shifting their TBR list along with the season. What’s really funny about this is I asked in my prayers last week “why am I so nostalgic lately?” and then I heard and saw all of these things. Obviously, fall isn’t just a “winding down” season, but a season of nostalgia as well, as it’s full of those memory triggers.
The entertainment industry is reaching to the recent past for current ideas. Old Westerns and historic work has always existed, but looking to the not-too-distant past is a relatively new thing in the entertainment industry. George Lucas opened the door to prequels with the Star Wars franchise back in the early 00’s, and a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon to mine the past 30 years or less for creative potential. Now, there are prequels everywhere, and they have to go further back to find storyline. But another thing that I think the entertainment industry is latching on to is links between past and present. The popularity of shows like Stranger Things and The Americans strike a cord with viewers because they explore themes without the heavy intervention of technology that we have now. You couldn’t Google “The Upside Down” or “Communist Spies” back then, and it was easier to hide things in plain sight. That’s a refreshing reminder to those over 40, and a new concept to those under 40, who have always known technology integrated in everyday life. Looking backwards does have creative potential across generations, whether we relive our childhood, or explore a world that existed before your own.
We’re still trying to reconcile the drastic changes in life and the world over the past 30 years. Speaking of technology changing the world, it’s not perfect and does have it’s downfalls, one of which is to limit some creative potential that once existed in the entertainment industry. Cutting that phone line isn’t so catastrophic now, and there’s a lot less mystery to why things are happening when you can Google everything. The limits of technology in the 80’s and early 90’s required people/characters to have a bit more ingenuity and a different kind of “smarts” to get themselves into and out of the situations. I’ve blogged before about how there are some who argue that technology has made us smarter, and some who argue that it’s made us dumber – and both sides claim the reason is the instant access to information. The jury’s still out on which side is right, but I do believe the nostalgia is looking for a way to bridge the gap between old ways and a new millennium. Generation X and before are living in a drastically different world than we grew up in (sometimes, I feel like I fell through a rip in the space/time continuum!), and the effects of these changes are resonating with younger generations, whether they realize it or not. Society has evolved faster than humanity has, and we’re looking back because we’re still trying to catch up with the present.
I’m sure there are more reasons, some simpler and some more complex. But whatever the case, there’s a lot of throwbacks happening. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either, as long as we find a way to bring those inspirations and lessons back to the present with us.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.