Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nostalgia

One should never permit themselves to confuse self with the props of self. My dictionary uses "yearning" as the verb to define nostalgia and that is apt. Yet when you read about nostalgia, too often it has been commandeered, like sex, as a marketing hook, a motive harnessed to commerce. The vintage car then and now the new car with a "retro" look, the oldies rock-n-roll, yearbooks, marriages and any number of other sometimes expensive aids to memory can be a delicious little rush. But they are of the past. If the past has not been used to make the present better, which seems much the case for our politics, why try to relive it? If what you think was lost with bygone days was youth and opportunity, you are only right if you also see that you are younger now than you will be later and possibilities lay open to you that have yet to vanish. The looking forward then and the looking back later all miss the now.

And like sex, when nostalgia is willfully employed for manipulation or advantage, the focus is diverted to the props, the objects of desire while the desire itself is abandoned for the poets to retune, reshape and recolor so that later, we may recall. The objects we lean upon to conjure up memory, to revivify dead moments, are empty. Their only art is that we can so readily pour out ourselves into them.

Nostalgia is for the sake of the nostalgic, not for the sake of the objects of nostalgia.

1 comment:

Davo said...

Each generation clambers up the spine, stands on the shoulders of the past..nostalgia is a luxury only for the elderly.