(Was It Really That Good Or Does It Just Look That Way In Our Memory?)
Written by John Andreula
Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk
Dude, remember when. . .?
We’ve all experienced it.
It happens when we’re telling someone about a favorite TV show or movie from our childhoods, then they watch it and come back with how much it sucked. They couldn’t even get through one episode or the whole film.
Remember that Super Bowl when the home team won? We can vividly recall the resultant elation and tears on the faces of our fathers.
But how does the quality of play from that time compare with that of athletes today? How about the quality of the video footage and sound?
How about that Ace of Base album we listened to on repeat so many times? Every note and lyric is imprinted on our cerebral cortexes.
Memories paint more of the picture than we realize, but is that a good thing?
Oftentimes it is.
I’ve been spending much time in the circuitous pattern of nostalgia lately. I broke out the Super Nintendo for my daughter and nephew. I’ve rewatched Braveheart and Donnie Darko, and am rereading the IDW Locke and Key series.
As end credits roll or we come to the inevitable “GAME OVER”, these are still examples of the best versions of nostalgia. They are still amazing experiences!
Each make me feel as if my taste, opinion, and recollection are all valid.
Nostalgia allows people the opportunity to relive favorite their memories.
In cases where experiences are adequately preserved—through technological means or otherwise—people can share the greatest moments of their past with others. Think about the emotions involved when we look through photographs from times long gone.
Sometimes this is a beautiful thing. It can allow us to create new memories for ourselves and others, as I have done with the movies and video games I mentioned earlier.
It happens when we hear songs that were over-played when first released. Yet hearing it now, decades removed, somehow conjures subconscious positive feelings about living in the era when we originally heard the song too many times.
Serious disappointment can also accompany nostalgia. Fond memories unearthed that don’t live up to how our mind painted the picture can be altogether depressing.
Remembering how cool things were in the haze of recollection is often-times preferable to finding out that our experiences and the subsequent memories of them suck.
Just watch an episode of the 1990s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Thundercats or He-Man. Better yet, tell a friend to who hasn’t seen them. See what happens. . .
Despite all the technology and connectivity of modern times, nostalgia drives business and culture.
Commercial advertisements reuse and repurpose ideas, music, and characters from the past to sell their newest releases to us. The entire music and movie industries exist because of the profits they collect remaking, remixing, and covering our favorites. They always have.
Comic books, toys, and art better left unspoiled in the deep recesses of our minds are given live-action updates and CG makeovers. Look at what’s in movie theaters at any given time.
There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia. It adds flavor to each person’s character. Nostalgia is a building block in our unique personalities and senses of individuality, but nostalgia misused can make us seem really old and out of touch to those you try to impress it upon. It can be downright annoying!
So, the next time you feel compelled to sit a friend down for a binge session of a show they’ve never seen but was your favorite long ago, watch an episode or two on your own first. That way, if it doesn’t survive the test of time and hold up to your nostalgic vision you won’t have to look like an idiot.
John Andreula is a nostalgic geek residing in Colorado.
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