2019/10/17

The Nostalgia Trap

Berserk

Author David V. Steward was gracious enough to invite me on his Writestream last night. The impetus for the episode was this post, which has caused something of a sensation among Generation Y readers.

What strikes you most whenever you get Ys to open up and discuss the past is how similar their experiences are--but only when woolgathering about beloved past diversions. For another "better seen, not heard" generation like the Jonesers and the Silents, Gen Y will blab your ear off about 80s and 90s brands.

The megacorps figured this out sometime around 2010. It's no coincidence that was about when Ys' finally found big boy jobs, and they had some extra scratch to spend. The paypigs who declare they're "over" Star Wars one minute only to turn around and reserve tickets to J.J. Abrams' latest fanfic are almost entirely Gen Y.

The studios know they need only flash clips from 80s franchises to elicit a Pavlovian response in Ys. This nostalgia trap is a major hurdle indie creators will have to figure a way around if we want to build a thriving new culture.

David and I discussed these and many other wide-ranging topics, including his nostalgia for Berserk. In case you missed it live, here's the replay:


If you like Berserk and want more visceral horror action with anime sensibilities, read Nethereal, Soul Cycle Book 1.

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier

45 comments:

  1. I think part of the nostalgia trap at least to me is it correlates to a more innocent and free time.

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    1. That's an interesting counterpoint to David, who reported feeling nostalgic only for the toys, games, and movies, not the times that produced them.

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    2. It's a little from column A and a little from column B type of thing. I purchased an NES within that last few months on a whim due to big nostalgia goggles and after playing some SMB 3 memories certainly came flooding back. It wasn't just of the game itself (which still stands up by the way), but of the times in which I originally played it so long ago. Young and carefree.

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    3. I noticed something similar when I realized I hated online multiplayer games but loved couch games. There is a bit of difference between the two despite both being games that require many people.

      What many of us might be nostalgic for, and not realize, is that we spent our time consuming these things with other people. There was always some social factor at play.

      It might not just be the products and brands we are nostalgic for, but they are simply the easiest thing to reach for.

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    4. El
      My nostalgia is like that too.and it's the oreinternet days and playing outside with the neighbourhood kids.
      xavier

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    5. I think it's a multifaceted nostalgia--the things in themselves, the times and events associated with them, and even the stories and glimpses of Truth and Beauty they pointed to. They weren't Homer, Aristotle or Tolkien, but some of those properties did, however imperfectly, convey something of the luminous and transcendent.

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    6. My spouse has been buying and drinking the limited edition New Coke reissues. I ask, is it actually good? "No, not really," comes the reply, "but when I drink it it takes me back to times and places from when I was a kid, that I barely recall and enjoy remembering."

      This feeling has, so far, been good for two trips out of the county to a seedy convenience store to buy approx two cases of the stuff, one can at a time.

      It's a universal emotion.

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    7. @JD

      Funny, I’m the same way, really dislike multiplayer games but I’m happy to watch someone else play a game. I avoid Twitch and other channels like it, but I’ve always thought a Y could make a go at it if he fired up the SNES and streamed it.

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  2. I wonder if this contributes to why it took until GamerGate, spearheaded by Ys, to notice this sort of cultural war and take it seriously. Boomers shrugged off entertainment as mindless without putting any thought into it, and Xers never trusted anything to begin with. But Ys consumed so much that when it was seized and warped they were the first ones to cry foul.

    That may be why weaning them off of corporate product is so difficult, even when they know it's bad for them. They just can't shed that part of them.

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    1. "That may be why weaning them off of corporate product is so difficult, even when they know it's bad for them. They just can't shed that part of them."

      Hence all the outrage culture critics on youtube. I'm thinking of the geeks & gamers and his ilk model of critic. They'll complain and complain but still watch all the crap because it's like a drug to them. Well, that and all the superchats supporting them.

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    2. GamerGate, spearheaded by Ys,

      Tfw your realize your generation won the election for Trump

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    3. Now we also know why GamerGate failed.

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    4. Did it? Nothing ever really ends. A lot of people growing up NOW will grow up knowing that corporates and SJWs will not let even your passtimes be. That's going to have an effect. Everyone who has ever declared history to be over has been wrong.

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    5. Youtibe atheism was spearheaded by Ys, too. That's how you get a range of them from Metokur not knowing how to stop the oncoming collapse, to Sargon thinking you can wave it away with cobbled together ideology, to the Amazing Atheist getting bloated on weed and Patreon donations.

      The rest of us have come a long way from a decade ago, but we're not quite there yet.

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    6. Jim is the physical manifestation of Gen Y nostalgia for the Wild West internet. His whole shtick is the Scout from Team Fortress trolling a BBS chat circa 1993.

      One of his personas is called the Internet Aristocrat, FFS.

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    7. I suspect he's going to undergo a radical transformation within the next few years.

      All Ys will. We kind of have no choice.

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    8. His interview with Nick Fuentes hinted as much.

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  3. I thought us Boomers had the nostalgia market cornered. There was a period in the 80's and 90's where pretty much every crappy thing I was into as a kid became the IT property for about 5 minutes. When you are a kid, lots of things seem really awesome. Sometimes they really are and sometimes they are just sh*t seen through the eyes of an 8 year old.

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    1. There was a period in the mid-90s when the seventies came back in vogue. Whether it was the films of Quentin Tarantino, That 70s Show on TV, or bands aping 70s acts, nostalgia for that decade was inescapable.

      It was engineered by Boomers but oddly aimed at Generation Y, who had no memories of and could not be nostalgic for the 70s.

      I never did figure out what they were trying to prove.

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    2. Twenty-year nostalgia is a pretty common theme in media. A fair number of films and TV shows set in the 40s were 1960s fare. "Happy Days" recalled the 50s in the 70s. I stopped tracking into the 80s media, but likely a fair number of call-backs to Woodstock and similar Boomer idols.

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    3. Devin Stack (Black pilled) suspects the social engineers liked to do media of the 50’s-70’s to write false narratives to tell Gen Y to just accept things as they are, there was no great time period, the Boomers didn’t ruin Shangri’la or they had to ruin it, because the 50’s remnants of Christendom were really evil.

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    4. Man of the Atom--We had 60s nostalgia with The Wonder Years in the 80s, and numerous other lesser instances. I'm not entirely sure what's different about Gen Y nostalgia--easier access to the original sources, less new stuff to replace the old, or the rise of a corporate culture devoted to both exploiting _and_ perverting the originals.

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    5. @M. L. Martin -- Since we know Hollywood to be People of the Lie, then the "20 Year Nostalgia Tour" looks to be something to investigate.

      Starting 1960 to Present, with call backs to 20 years prior in each decade, to influence those sensitive to nostalgia--sure sounds like something Tinseltown would play.

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    6. That explains why we lived through two decades of 80s nostalgia. They've tried several times to create 90s nostalgia, but Ys remember it too clearly to be fooled by it.

      That Netflix show, Everything Sucks, is a grab bag of 90s tropes that feels as authentic as Milli Vanilli's vocals. Tries such as The Simpsons 90s episode were wildly inaccurate to the point of parody. Movie reboots of Power Rangers and TMNT stalled and ended up nowhere. So they keep going back to the 80s. Remember that new Transformers movie?

      The nostalgia card isn't going to keep working.

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    7. Also, not only do Ys still remember the decade too clearly, Millennials don't have nostalgia, and Zs don't care.

      The 80s might be as far as it can be pushed.

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    8. The social engineering aspects make an uncomfortable amount of sense. The stuff in the 60's (MacHales Navy, Hogan's Heroes) didn't represent the 40's any better than MASH and Happy Days represented the 50's. And don't even get me started on That 70's Show (hint:the era wasn't all lava lamps and pot). So yeah, it sounds reasonable to me.

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    9. I was going to bring up MASH, but that felt less like straight nostalgia and more an attempt to use the 50s' war to comment on the current/just-ended one of the 70s. It may be the first harbinger of some of the current 'converged nostalgia,' in fact ...

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    10. The Vampire Castle can't generate 90s nostalgia because that was when the cultural gravy train ran out.

      80s nostalgia is sticking around because the brief resurgence of Christian morals actually fostered some works with authentic value.

      Like David said, the original Star Wars trilogy resonated because it had meaning.

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    11. With Matrix sequels and the like, though, they do seem to be trying. But you're right; once you move from the Twilight's Last Gleaming to the Wasted Peace, you lose anything with enough reality and goodness to sustain even a shadow of what it was.

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    12. I'll start taking the attempts at nostalgia seriously when they create new projects with cell animation, film, and morality that isn't warped and dead, which they can't do.

      90s nostalgia also can't really happen because we're still in the '90s. If we went back to 1999 tomorrow things would not be that different. Heck, if we went back to 2009 instead it would be practically unchanged.

      I'm looking forward to all the "Best of the '10s" lists that are going to start popping up net month. It should be a repeat of the one from the '00s, except even worse.

      As it goes.

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  5. A line from the Christopher Nolan's movie Interstellar has haunted me since I firs herd it. The dialogue is delivered by John Lithgow's grandfather character.

    "When I was a kid, every day brought something new: some new gadget, some new idea. Like every day was Christmas. Imagine it--seven billion people, and each and every one of them trying to have it all. This world isn't so bad."

    It's the sour tone and the last sentence that dates Lithgow's character as a Millennial and so dates the whole movie.

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    1. I really liked the first part of the movie for how well it nailed what living in post-society is going to be like.

      "Just look at all that stuff we had. We don't need God, or family, or friends, or a meaning. As long as we have our things."

      Now they're taking your things after taking the rest. Hiding isn't going to be an option much longer.

      That "I just want to grill for God's sake!" meme works more for Ys than it does Boomers.

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  6. The last few posts hit quite close to home. Especially so because I recently visited the towm I lived in during the late 80s and early 90s. Back then it was a quiet suburb quite far from the nearest major city and covered in vineyards, wineries, empty fields, and scattered developments affordable to middle class families that wanted to live in a safe neighborhood. There was even a fire station a couple blocks away from my home then staffed with friendly firefighters.

    Today the vineyards and wineries are gone. The single family homes are now priced beyond what middle class families can afford and only wealthy boomers or those that purchased them in 80s (but I repeat myself) own them. The empty fields were turned into apartment complexes, condos, strip malls, big box stores, and trailer parks. Trailer parks...
    That fire station is gone too and the county fire department runs radio ads pleading for donations to keep their remaining stations open.

    It felt like someone had spent tens of millions of dollars to erase the history and culture of the town. Then they replaced it with globalist consumerism. Just like what's been going on with popular culture lately.
    Now I could have just dropped into a helpless state of cultural depression and spent my free hours (and dollars) seeking out my next hit of nostalgic bliss like a drug addict. I know a lot are going down this path though. Just looking at the sales of Devil Mouse Star Wars or how well Stranger Things is doing on Netflix should be a clue that nostalgia dopamine sells.

    But something snapped in me. I see those things for what they are now and can't stand them anymore. Maybe it was God's hand intervening in my life, but now I understand...you can't go back. Ever.

    At the same time I remember the things I loved so much from that era. I remember growing up watching the original Star Wars, Indiana Jones, GI Joe, the A-Team, the Last Starfighter, Willow, Top Gun, the Dark Crystal, Predator, Conan (x2!). And a whole lot of others I'm forgetting. You know what they all had in common? They were made for the audience's enjoyment. And the good guys were actually good.

    Today, pop culture is made for the corporation's well being, and main characters (I hesitate to call them good guys) are not necessarily good people.
    To me this is a call for us to become creators and bring back the awesomeness that we loved from that era...not be shackled to the twisted effigies that the globalists push on us.

    I see that in Mr. Niemeier's novels, there are clear callbacks to the Gundam franchise. I put that same awesomeness into my own work where good guys are always good and Christians are never portrayed negatively (unlike Hollywood where Christians are almost exclusively portrayed negatively). And I do see others out there doing the same.

    The hard part is going to be rescuing our brothers and sisters from their addiction to the crack of nostalgia laced poison that passes for pop culture now. That's something I don't have an answer for. Right now the big megaphone belongs to the corporations, not us.
    All I can ask is that we pray hard for a solution to present itself. And when God puts it in front of us we grab hold of it.

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    1. Supply creates its own demand, or more accurately, "Inherent in supply is the wherewithal for its own consumption". We must, MUST create consumer pop-culture that doesn't suck, before people are able to consume it.

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    2. You have my sympathies for the degradation of your home town, and you have my admiration for using your talents to create new works in defiance of the globalist Death Cult.

      The way to break friends and loved ones from the nostalgia addictions is with subtle and respectful dissent.

      FRIEND: Did you see the latest Episode IX trailer?
      YOU: No,they lost me with the last couple of movies. The classics Lucas drew from capture the original feel way better. Have you ever seen Captain Blood?

      CO-WORKER: I can't wait for the new Brandon Sanderson book. Did you pre-order it?
      YOU: I don't have time since I've been going back and reading the pulps that inspired modern fantasy.
      CO-WORKER: Aren't those old books just crude damsel in distress stuff?
      YOU: That's what I thought at first, but then I read the original Conan stories. They're nothing like we've been told! You might get a dungeon crawl, a heist story, or even a whodunit in a haunted mansion. I'll lend you my Robert E. Howard anthology.

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    3. We need damsel in distress stories back to be honest. I grow tired of the "Strong Female Character" archetype that's been going on in all media for the past decade at this point.
      We need true feminine characters again and not butch like characters who are basically male in how they are written.

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    4. The Strong Female Character archetype is so beyond tired at this point that I think even normies detest it. The reaction to Batwoman is partly because of this trope leading to dead and lifeless storytelling possibilities.

      But framing a suggestion to the pulps in a sort of "Naw, man, you were lied to" will probably turn some heads.

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    5. "For another "better seen, not heard" generation like the Jonesers and the Silents, Gen Y will blab your ear off about 80s and 90s brands." - is this what's behind the popularity, ephemeral as it was, of Ready Player One? I say ephemeral because, RP1 is one of those books that within 2-3 years after release (or whenever it blows) up, used book stores, yard sales, and donation bins are practically drowning in copies of it.

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    6. Yes, it was. The megacorps figured out they could pander to Gen Y by selling their childhoods back to them.

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  7. Ready Player One was the epitome of it. In my very unpopular opinion it began to blow up with Scott Pilgrim and slowly grew from there to the sludge of wink and nudging over shared 1980s and 90s products we're currently swimming in.

    The nostalgia drug is losing its potency. They've been beating the drum too long and too loud.

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    1. We fully agree on Scott Pilgrim. I had it pegged as cynical nostalgia bait from day one.

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    2. Glad to hear it. My realization as to what Scott Pilgrim was while those around me continued to consume is what originally destroyed my obsession with pop culture and set my path on finding real truth. The realization of hollowness is one I will never forget.

      To this day people will leap to its defense despite the obsession over it being one of the reasons pop culture is so bad now.

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  8. The drug is losing its strength because the audience is getting older and the list of IP that can be pillaged is getting shorter. The big brands have been used up to the point of absurdity. Trying to do yet another version of Star Trek or Star Wars is like sending out an 80 year old hooker on one last trick. It can be done, but it won't be pretty.

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    1. This is why it should be interesting to see the state of things in a few years. I know people who used to fall for the nostalgia trap getting more and more cynical very quickly.

      The only question is what they're going to do when they reach their limit.

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