When I was in my teen years not very long ago, I became obsessed with 80’s culture. I loved the style, the music, the lingo, the hair, the sass. I felt nostalgia for something that I had never personally experienced in my own real life. So much so, that I began to lose track of where I was in my time. Which sounds bad, and it can be. But I don’t want to give the impression that I’m against nostalgia or appreciating a time before our own.
But during this period in my life, I had watched a movie by Woody Allen called Midnight In Paris, starring Owen Wilson, great flick. And basically it made a point about nostalgia, an idea realized through the main character’s experience. So in this movie, Owen Wilson’s character is in Paris, and is living in the past, he prefers French culture in the 1920s. At midnight, he’s mysteriously transported to 1920s Paris, where he meets all of his favorite figures from that time period and where he begins to fall in love with a woman from that era, an era that he thinks to be the “golden age”.
But at the end of the movie [SPOILER ALERT], he and the French woman that he falls in love with (who’s from the 1920s), end up in an even earlier era in France, I think the Renaissance era. Owen Wilson’s character thinks it’s dull, while his 1920s girlfriend is absolutely enamored by it, she thinks that that was the “golden era”. That’s when Owen’s character comes to this huge realization, that no matter what time period people live in, they’ll always look to another, past time as being more significant and interesting than their own.
I thought this was so true, and this idea of nostalgia really echoed within me since I was living proof of that concept, that people don’t appreciate the time and culture that they live in, but instead draw from past eras. And when I mediated on that idea, I felt that it was so wrong. I felt like I was missing out! What if the time I’m living in, the culture that I’m growing up around, is in fact a “golden age” that people 50+ years from now will look back on and try to imitate. What if I am a part of history and I don’t realize it? What if I grow old and look back with regret that I didn’t appreciate or take advantage of the time period that I’m living in right now?
Modern culture will soon become fuel for nostalgia in the future, and it’s important that we appreciate the time we live in right now. Of course, with how potent modern culture is today, and how easy it is to be in touch with it what with social media and vines and memes and YouTube, it’s hard not to recognize what our modern culture is in 2017. You may not like it, you may think it’s stupid, but it’s what we are as a generation and how we’ll be remembered, why resist it?
Or should we go against the grain and make our own history? What’s your take on modern culture? Discuss in the comment section below, or at apt113.org/culture