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for May 28, 2003

Nostalgia = Death
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Take this conversation. For example.
Your favorite auntie whoís not much older than you: I was telling the kids about my teenage adventures.
You: Remember that time you had a fight with your boyfriend and jumped out of the car on Commercial Avenue at like 2 in the morning and you were wearing a miniskirt and go-go boots and carrying a vacuum cleaner and you couldnít get anyone to open the door and let you use the phone?
Auntie: (nostalgic sigh) Ah... good times...
Oh dear. Or how about this phone chat with your exceedingly generous sister?
Sis: you want these Fleetwood Mac tickets? You were the first person I thought of! I knew you were a big fan ...
You: You did?
Sis: - and theyíre only 90 bucks apiece ...
You: They are?
Sis: - and I had a great time at the Billy Joel show ...
You: You could?
Sis: - so I thought you might want to go.
You: I couldnít possibly, and I mean that, but thank you for thinking of me.
Bless us, itís lovely when people try to give us what they think we want. Thoughtfulness is wonderful, but nostalgia is poison. Look around: Hall and Oates are touring, Yoko Ono tops the dance charts, and Debbie Allen is back on TV in the new, improved Fame. Itís 1980 again, and that means 1980 looks like fun from a 2003 vantage point. Letís be honest. If we remember 1980 clearly, it was a year we couldnít wait to put behind us. Everyone was broke because there was a recession. Iran held Americans hostage and Ronald Reagan was elected on the basis of his cowboy attitude toward foreign policy. Reagan was ... I hate to break it to you ... a terrible president whose flunkies tried to have ketchup classified a vegetable so impoverished schoolchildrenís lunches could be cheaper for the feds. Hereís another reminder: we were those schoolchildren who mattered so little. How do you like 1980 now?
On the other sticky hand, living in the past is no more unproductive than chasing the latest, hottest, newest thing. Ugh, thatís exhausting! To sleep nights, one has to strike a balance between being the sum of oneís experience and being excited about the future. Jennifer Wienerís excited because her book Good In Bed is coming to HBO as a series, and you might find this interesting because the heroine is very unconventional for TV. Sheís fat, sheís funny, and we can hope this opens up television executives to hiring actresses over a size 4.
If youíre looking for a time when the world was full of possibilities, why not let that be now?

©2003 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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