I've had an article on the back burner for some time now that just hasn't been published because I'm afraid it'll get me fired. Here's one that has a slightly lower chance of conjuring a pitchfork-wielding mob to my front door. Hope you enjoy!

There is no such thing as nostalgia

Not the way people think, anyway. "Nostalgia," rendered as a preference for familiar things from one's own past, does not exist. What does exist is the ugly reality that things from one's past are often better than things from right now. I can give you any number of examples, but I probably won't bother with too many.

  • Ghostbusters
  • Star Wars
  • Indiana Jones
  • Terminator
  • ...do I really need to go on?

It's not just movies; it's everything from architecture to artwork to trains, planes, and automobiles. In a relative sense, at least, (and by that I mean discounting the relentless march of technology) things were better back then. As such, our "rose colored glasses" are not rose colored glasses as such. They are simply the dispassionate perspective of the objective observer.

The idea that we want to reexperience bits of culture that are a part of our heritage is bullshit. No one wants to sit through Indiana Jones V. No one wants to see a "young" Han Solo. We are willing to give these things a snowball's chance in hell, sometimes, for the following reasons.

There is nothing new anymore

I don't mean "there is nothing new under the sun." I mean that, in an organizational sense, no one has the balls to make anything new anymore. Name one company with the guts to go out on a limb these days. For that matter, name one critic who isn't itching to pan every film he sees for not being Titanic. Or Titanic 2: The Tanicking. No one is willing to put forth anything new or original or exciting and, even more shameful, no one is willing to espouse anything new or original or exciting.

We aren't allowed to make things anymore.

That being the case, what choice do we have beyond loving the things we already have? Of course, from the corporation's perspective, that's not going to cut it; they can't keep charging us for Ghostbusters because we bought the VHS in 1993. The only way they can continue to milk that cow is to invent a new format every few years, and even the dumbest schmucks these days have realized that there is no differnece between 1080p and 4K when it's sitting on the other side of the living room.

Maybe they should upgrade our living rooms? Oh, wait—they have done that. The average living room has shrunk by 75% since I was a kid. I wonder if that was planned.

No one remembers how anymore

Even if Disney or Cucktivision or Bioware or {Insert Lame Company Here} wanted to make something original rather than smashing out the latest edition of Call of Booty 4: How to Frozen Your Dragon, could they still do it?

At this point, the answer to my question seems obvious to me, but I thought I would pose it in case it isn't obvious to anyone else. The answer is no. I'm not ready to argue—yet—that we have lost the capacity to create great art as a whole, that it no longer exists within our society, but I am ready to argue that the culture in place at these kinds of corporations is such that genuine artistic talent is too often snuffed out by bureaucratic processes or literally run out of the company for the crime of wrongthink. Surely this cannot be particularly surprising to the members of my audience, but somehow the bulk of Western society has shambled on through the past two or three decades without any awareness of the lamentable deconstruction of the very concept of merit.

We are told that Daisy Cringely's Rey is a good character. That she represents both the strong and feminine. Nevermind that she receives no development whatsoever, or that the way she interacts with humans (badly) and machines (miraculously) suggests autism-inducing levels of exposure to prenatal testosterone, or that she begins the story with every tool she requires at the end of the story...

...No, let me harp on that for a minute. Do you remember DOOM? No, not the new one, although that one wasn't bad; I mean the 1993 original. Yeah, the 1993 game that ended each level with a door marked EXIT, a timer, a kill count, and a map. That game had better character development than any modern Star Wars flick, and I am not shitting you. Your character (usually referred to as "the Doom guy") starts off with what looks to be a shitty combat pistol and progresses through a variety of successively more powerful weapons, up to and including the BFG. I think that stood for "beautiful and fantastic gun?" ...Oh, wait, no, the game was made before everyone's cods were replaced with soy, so it stood for BIG FUCKING GUN. This literally represents a better and more compelling story arc than the one we are subjected to for Ma-Rey Sue...

...Anyway, he (Rey) begins the story with literally every skill and every character trait needed to drive the story to its completion, and we are unironically told that this represents the pinnacle of modern storytelling. Fuck, we even ate it up, to the tune of two billion dollars. How hard up are we, anyway?

Editor's note: "he" was a typo, but I thought it was fitting, so I left it.

This is the kind of example we get today. Young artists are fed this dreck and told that it is ambrosia. Even if we wanted to produce something of genuine worth, something containing a kernel of truth or beauty, even if an individual is capable of creating a representation of truth or beauty, we hamstring ourselves with a sickening diet of schlock and refuse.

fontaine

I could have included much worse pictures, mostly of feminist so-called "art." I didn't, because I don't want to go straight to hell when I die.

tl;dr

We are not drawn to nostalgia. The endless stream of sequels, remakes, reboots, and soft reboots pouring from Hollywood's distended anus are not the result of any genuine hunger on the part of the audience. Our situation is the result of a focused campaign to destroy the will and the ability to create among our culture's best and brightest in order to dim the bright line between the best and brightest and all the rest.

Yeah, some people will want me to provide some evidence of that, but this article is already too long. If you have a problem with my conclusion, talk to me about it.

In short, when we consume these things, it's not because we want them but because nothing else is on offer, and at least the shitty new version might remind us how awesome the original really was.