Friday, 18 May 2012

Nostalgia Is Shit

"two dollars for a mars bar! I remember when.." "WHAT what do you remember? Fucking slavery! Shutup."

And an obsession with the past is like a dead fly
Only a few things are related to the "old times"

This post isn't aimed at my historian friends, but rather those that wish to become cultural relics by refusing to acknowledge that which is happening right now. Also, it will be short. 

You people harp on endlessly about how much music, film, 'society', 'values' and everything else was better back in the day. This might be the 20s (decadent), 50s (racist), 60s (naive), 70s (angry), 80s (even angrier) or any other time period so long as it's not now. When we talk about how something was better back then, we're always taking a blinkered view of history. Some things might have appeared better only in relation to other media of the time; or maybe some parts of society appeared less harmful than they are now but you can narrow your vision enough to make anything look good. 

I mean let's face it, special effects are still pretty terrible. I love action/sci-fi movies from the 70s & 80s but they're technically awful when compared to today's, which will be equally terrible in ten years. Compare: Star Wars vs. Avengers. I'm much more impressed by attempts at photo-realistic CGI (which falls into the 'still terrible' category) than Michael 'explode as many things as possible simultaneously' Bay and obviously this wasn't at all possible in previous decades, so people had a different criteria for what constituted 'cool' and it was stuff like this.

Focusing on the (even recent) past slows down the rate of technological advancement. When critics write about the grand old days of cinema when hundreds of 'real' extras were used rather than CGI. Statements like this are unhelpful, and they malign the talent involved as just being strokes of a keyboard or clicks of a mouse. Simply because the implementation is not as difficult (arguable), the development was much more so, but because that's hidden from the end-user (audience), it's not appreciated. Similarly, I really don't care how many extras appeared in Gandhi, why is that more impressive than writing and then using computer wizardry to do this? (Note: I don't like Avatar).

I think the ultimate end-goal of creatives should be the verbatim transmission of the idea in their head, to what appears on their medium of choice. When all have is a butter knife, this is a lot harder to do than with a full set of tools. Maybe if some of us weren't such luddites we'd have more art in the world and if you're going to say that's a bad thing, then clearly we can't even have this conversation any longer (also you're basically this guy:)


  1. That tactic was recently used for less savoury ends...

    Have you read him? It's hard to totally deny his insight ya know.

  2. You're right, sometimes I feel nostalgic for the 90s but then I realise that was the era of bad fashion and a host of other things.