Monday, May 4, 2015

Retrospection Dysfunction

      In the late 70's there was a nostalgia boom for the 50's. Looking back I can understand why.  The 50's were awesome; from James Dean to Buddy Holly to those freakin' cars, what is not to love?

     And the 70's? Well, they were the goddamn 70's.

     But the weird thing is there was only a 18 year gap from the end of the 50's to 1978 and "Grease".  However, the 50's nostalgia tornado started a few years before that, "Happy Days" and "American Graffitti" being prime examples.  Now, yeah, yeah,  I know, Lucas' film took place in '62, but it felt like the 50's.  The 1950's hadn't even gotten old yet, for Cripe's sake (I don't know who Cripe is, either, ask my Mom) and folks all over America were ready to pour it on their cereal in the mornings.  Think about that for a second. In significantly less than 15 years, a past decade was being revered, re-packaged and celebrated in music sales and airplay, on the screen both big and small, and to a lesser extent, in fashion sense!

     Jump forward a little bit now. Compare the mid to late 70's 1950's resurgence to the minimal nostalgia boom for the 80's after that decade had come and gone.  Not even comparable.  As we move forward I think respect and love for "days gone by" is being lost. Past decades have not been looked upon with reverence, except by those that were "in their prime" during them.  It's hard to grasp.

     The same goes for the time capsule items of their time.  Take a look at a 1967 Pontiac Catalina.  Compare it to a 1993 Acura.   One was already regarded as a badass classic only 10 years after it rolled out and the other is a piece of shit, even mint, 22 years later.  What's wrong with this picture?

      Part of the problem is tech moving too fast. I had time to smell the roses growing up, moving from the transistor radio to the mp3.  No one can enjoy the scent of those flowers anymore.  They can't appreciate anything developing.  Time and electronics are moving too fast to admire the changes. Anyone draw a WTF reaction looking at the Apple Watch because they also chuckled at "Star Trek" wrist conversations?  I sure as hell did.   Technological advancement in the last 20 or so years is exponential to the previous 60.  From the 1940's to the mid 90's we crept from vinyl to 8-track to cassette to compact disc. From the maelstrom of the mid 90's, we have leaped like a flash from what was considered freakish technology in the CD to thousands of songs being stored on a device no bigger than a few credit cards being rubber banded together.  We have instant access to unbelievable stores of information with a few keystrokes, nullifying the library, or at the least, the Encyclopedia Brittanica.   What was once a huge VHS library is now available to you through internet streaming.

     How can nostalgia find a home there?

     Sadly, it can't.

     I am 43, and feel like I'm part of a hell of a lucky generation. Close enough to see what my parents had, I grew up on vinyl and the radio, but now utilize the whippersnapper tech they have today.  I crossed the time channel from Ralphie Parkers "A Christmas Story" with Ovaltine and Little Orphan Annie to scrolling down to Beck's "Blue Moon" on my iPhone.

     The difference?  I respect the change. The kids today don't.  My daughter looks at my vinyl "Never Mind The Bollocks" LP like a Brachiosaur left in in the living room. Chuckles of disdain shower my commentary on how Pitfall Harry was as complicated as video games got for me.  I love the tube radio, hand-held transistors, and the console TV. Why? Because that's how we got to the cd, the mp3, and SMART TV.   Even if I can't figure the latter out, and had to google what amounts to the equivalent of a Street Fighter 2 finishing move on a Wii U keypad in order to log out of fucking Netflix.

      I sound old.  I feel old.  But I'm not. 

      I think what it is is that I'm not scared of the new tech and the modern conveniences, they're just that, convenient.  I'm terrified all of that great stuff from way back, (and not so way back) will be forgotten. 

      Or worse, disrespected.

      You bastards are just moving too damn fast.