I am tired of nostalgia.
This does not mean that I am sick of the past. I will still hear the Morrowind theme, close my eyes and be transported to the snowy shore of Raven Rock. I still love “We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank” by Modest Mouse. The past defines what and who we are. But living in those moments forever is so repetitive and we gain nothing. Nostalgia should bring us comfort and not be passing references.
Media now, especially books, movies and television, embrace this nostalgia wave. Netflix has Fuller House, Everything Sucks, Stranger Things, Lethal Weapon and more. Star Wars will have a new movie once or twice a year till the heat death of the universe. A number of stories now are “soft reboots” meaning that the story is the same but the people are different.
Sometimes nostalgia references make sense as they are part of the universe. Stranger Things is a great example of a show that has references that help ground the world. Yes, sometimes it is over the top. No child would have a Dark Crystal poster as the movie bombed in theatres but having the kids dress up a Ghostbusters the year Ghostbusters came out makes sense. Ready Player One, on the other hand, is a terrible example of awkwardly mentioning references for no reason except to have a brief cheer for nostalgia. DeLorean! Indiana Jones! Space Invaders! Remember the time when arcades were a thing? Hollywood makes sure you don’t forget.
I once read online that “The children of the ’90s are the nostalgia generation.” It was a short post that said that those who grew up during that period were in a time when technology moved so fast that they can still remember what it was like before the turn of the century. Individuals who are just coming out of high school know computers as a staple of life. Those born in the ’90s, like myself, remember a time when we did not have everything at our fingertips. When we look back at a time before cell phones and things literally feel simpler. It feels comfortable to remember a time before the breakneck pace of the world. It is safer to tell the same stories and to reference older pop culture.
I think it is time to let go and embrace new things. We should stop looking at the past and how far we have come, but we should also look toward the future and see how far we can go. Roddenberry did it from the ’60s into the ’80s and we now have endless seasons of Star Trek that made some pretty accurate guesses of the future.
We should stop watching things and “getting references.” We all get the reference. It is so hard wired into our culture not to get the damn reference. We get it. There is a time and place for nostalgia, turn it down.
– Steven Smith, Entertainment Co-Editor