Friday, July 07, 2006

repackaging nostalgia

About seven years ago, my mother bought a book from a variety shop and rather excitedly, one Sunday afternoon over meatballs, shared it with us. She and my aunts oohed and aahed over an Americana that "no longer existed" while my brothers and I expressed our outrage. "Can't you see what's happening? They're selling you your memories"we said. Well, they got pissed off. Of course, who likes a self-righteous twenty-something know-it-all asshole jerk?
So, they dismissed our collective indignation as our "need to be different."

Well, I guess I still need to be different. I was on this popular website the other day and in the course of one hour, counted ten posted nostalgia survey bulletins from friends and acquaintances whom I consider to be of above average intelligence.
Don't get me wrong. I get just as warm and fuzzy as the next product of the 70's, when I see the cover of Duran Duran's "Rio" or hear the beginning guitar solo of "Sweet Child o' Mine." And I admit, lately I've been enjoying old movies. Nevertheless, how unfulfilled are we that we must perpetually seek out and revere the past? What is it about the past that we perceive to be consistently better? What are we doing wrong? Obviously, working sucks in general and working out of cubicles sucks even harder but people, come on. Can't we spend our time avoiding one another more fruitfully? Like, maybe by reading books (ahh ahh!! he's crushing me... i said the b-word) or preserving our own memories by taking pictures with film (you know, that stuff that Kodak used to make). I know. I'm an asshole. Call me nostalgic, I like books and celluloid between my fingers. I like to be able to ride my bike without getting run over by DPT.

But today, we repackage everything that means anything to us. We hold on so tightly to what's dear to us that yes, dear friends, we, the misguided poets are sampling dialogue from movies, poems and various other artworks. Call it ekphrastic, call it stealing, call us nostalgic. We're guilty too.

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