Pop Culture Nostalgia: A National Concern


I’m gonna strap on this guitar here and just JAM for a second. Feel free to pick up that bass and join in!

Leafing through my “Junk” feed on Google Reader this morning, as I do every morning, I clicked on a post featuring fan-made Star Wars posters. This is pretty standard — the sites I subscribe to means new Star Wars posters pretty much every day — and in most cases, something I look forward to. The Internet has only democratized creativity, to the point where anyone, anywhere can share their work and expect some kind of feedback (even if it’s from a family member). A good thing! But then Glass-Half-Empty Henning perked up, remembered some questionable developments of the past few months, and considered the posters in another context. An ALARMING context. The bullet points came all too quickly:

– Back to the Future celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new Blu-ray release, videogame, and…Playboy spread.
– The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 35 years old, recreated for no real reason on Glee. (Editor’s note: …And it is — shockingly! — still NOT VERY GOOD.)
– The Sound of Music (45!) cast reunited on Oprah. Because that’s just something the people want? Okay.

GHE Henning then moved beyond the realm of easy anniversaries into a bevy of other signs of the Apocalypse. Hollywood’s near-undying blood demand for film “reboots” and “re-imaginings.” Goldeneye, the classic N64 videogame, days away from a re-release on the Nintendo Wii. Last week he opened the mailbox to Entertainment Weekly‘s “Reunions” issue, which brings together the casts of TV shows not even five years gone. When Lonestar‘s creative team is reunited next fall for an “enchanting look back,” he’ll know for sure that 2012 is a very real concern, and that it’s already too late to stop it. (If that means no more adult Quidditch leagues? “Well, SILVER LINING,” he says.)

“Just wait a minute there, friend!” Out of nowhere comes an interjection from Glass-Half-Full Henning, who notes that he likes those fan-made posters, and the Back to the Future merchandise, and some of the reboots. “Pop culture nostalgia has its place, you know,” he continues, “sometimes for artistic value (which varies) but maybe more for the obvious passion and effort that goes into its creation.” GHE Henning rolls his eyes, hard. “Well MAYBE…we should channel some of that energy into creating new things? ORIGINAL things? I don’t know about you, but I’ll be walking into oncoming traffic when Inception becomes a musical. And it will.” After crying a little, GHF Henning throws his arms around GHE Henning’s shoulders and tries to hug him. “Get off me, man! You know I exaggerate.”

Whether our addiction to the recent past means we’re circling the drain here on 2012 or a nation-wide appearance on the show Intervention or neither of the two is a debate not easily settled on Lifting Fog, or anywhere pop culture blog. We all have our own opinions as to the line between “fun” and “really, really sad” and until we can agree — as a pop-cultural public — where that line is drawn, we are doomed to these conversations. The Internet will collapse into itself before any kind of accord is reached. (“DUH,” says GHE Henning.) But putting aside the fighting and the name-calling there is still, optimistically, one thing on which we can all agree: that this…

…is stupid and embarrassing.

“Really, guys? Let’s grow up.” – Everyone, including your parents who just can’t believe this is something any young adult — let alone their child — would do and wish you’d join a gang instead

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4 Responses to “Pop Culture Nostalgia: A National Concern”

  1. Gunky Slug Says:

    So….do you think there’s a chance of a Nimbus 2000 hidden in DJ Steve’s closet?

    • Henning Says:

      I avoid DJ Steve’s closet for a lot of reasons, but the thought of finding that in there is, alone, enough to keep me away.

      …Of course he’d say the same thing about the lightsabers in my closet, so we find ourselves at something of an armistice.

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