Nostalgia, or the “remembrance of things past,” as the Bard would say, is a growing trend it would seem, from the reactions in film and media. People’s attachment to the past, or nostalgia for what has been, is perfectly natural. However, it is reaching levels that are not altogether healthy.
There comes a time when looking backward too much at the past can hinder our progress in the future. This nostalgia is an epidemic of sorts. “You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time,” Charles F. Kettering, an American engineer and the inventor of the electric Starter said.
Many people hold a soft spot for their childhoods. This is common knowledge, but ever since companies recognized the extent to which people will go to recapture what they think they had in the past they have been exploiting it.
Apparently Disney has decided rather than actually create new films for its audience, it will instead pander to the overwhelming nostalgia held by many, and simply re-release its classics to theatres. They have already rereleased “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King”, with more films coming. Realizing that there is much money to be made off of people’s fond memories and emotional attachment to the films of their youth, George Lucas quickly followed suit re-releasing the first film in the Star Wars hexology, with more undoubtedly to follow. “Titanic” is also being rereleased into theatres.
Nostalgia has become a commodity and a quite lucrative one. Our memories have become a market that is easily tapped into.
This bittersweet longing for what once was, idealizes the past and leaves no room for improvement in the future. We are being held back by this tender string of reminiscence that somehow keeps us barely pushing forward at all.
As American journalist Bill Vaughan pointed out, “It’s never safe to be nostalgic about something until you’re absolutely certain there’s no chance of its coming back.”
We fool ourselves that then must be better than now. When really it is just that we only remember what was good and pure, or as children didn’t realize the bad. As American cowboy, Will Rogers put it, “Things ain’t what they used to be and probably never was.”