Nostalgia: How Far is Too Far?
Bell-bottoms. Polaroid cameras. Toe rings. Bucket hats. Glasses that make you look like a young Jeffrey Dahmer. How far are we going to take this?
Earlier today, a friend of mine shared the news that Lana Del Rey’s ‘Love’ has been pressed into a limited-edition heart-shaped vinyl record. There are only 5,000 copies of this record being made, so you should probably buy one before thinking about the logistical mystery that is playing a heart-shaped record on a turntable. And if you’re not so into the vinyl scene? Never fear, the article soothes, come September it will also be available on cassette.
Excuse me? Cassette? You mean the thing we upgraded over 20 years ago? Those shitty tapes that I used to record myself practicing my Torah portion for my Bat Mitzvah? Those things? With the plastic cases that broke easily and the black tape that came spilling out if left in a hot car or re-wound too often? Those cassette tapes? Cassette tapes, welcome to your tape. Oh, and I absolutely blame 13 Reasons Why for a lot of this nonsense. You’re going to tell me that a group of teenagers in 2017 who are all partially responsible for a peer’s suicide ALL own a way to listen to a cassette tape?
Look, I understand that trends are cyclical. I’m a huge hypocrite: I own a record player, polaroids hang on my wall, and I’ve recently fallen in love with mid-century furniture trends. I think it’s really cool that we’ve blended older looks with modern things- our Instagrams have never looked better. Our aesthetic is amazing, if mildly confusing. But candidly, you guys, I’m a little worried about us.
For starters, we have absolutely no chill. Have you seen how far we’ve taken chokers?
People are psyched to pay $40 for a pair of platform flip-flops. And it’s not just women’s fashion — I walked into an Urban Outfitters the other day and that store is legitimately selling Champion brand sweatpants for $50.
I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
That’s not to say that some trends coming back don’t have merit. I will agree that just like seeing a film on 70mm adds grittiness and texture to a film like Dunkirk, hearing your favorite albums on Vinyl can provide a higher quality- if you’re buying the right stuff. But can we take a moment to figure out what we’re nostalgic for? Because I definitely don’t miss the days where my mom made me wear leggings with stirrups on them or my Furby that I ended up stuffing in my hamper because it wouldn’t stop talking.
We’re living in dark times. We have a president who’s tweeting baffling and offensive legislation. The news is fake. The earth is dying. We have to convince each other that science is real. There’s a lot of dark shit happening that we have to worry about right now without having to listen to me bitch about how bucket hats have literally never looked flattering on a single human being.
It makes sense that we’d want to return to a time when none of that was happening. Wasn’t it simpler in the ‘90s? Shouldn’t we bring back Rocko’s Modern Life? Don’t we miss when the biggest scandal was Bill Clinton being a perv? We should stomp out of 2017 and into our time machine with our heads held high and our jelly sandals buckled on tight. But to be honest, it’s tripping me out to see everyone dressing like they’re casting a live-action Rugrats re-boot.
So here is my plea: live your lives, enjoy the resurgence of things that you remember bringing you joy (even though nobody misses rewinding a VHS and so help me god if those come back en masse). But let’s maybe cool it just a little, because if things continue the way they have, we all know what’s coming next.
And if you actually want to bring back some joy and goodness to this crumbling vessel we’re currently suffering on, try volunteering. Living in the past is a nice distraction, but not one that’s going to fix anything.