On Nostalgia

“If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’”  Bob Dylan


Presumably, everyone reading this woke up today.  Some of you probably looked at your phone which, if set right, would tell you that today is July 14, 2015.  Most of us got out of bed and continued with our lives, but others got out of bed and shared memes on Facebook or Twitter, nostalgic for a simpler time like the 1950s, 60s, and the now retro 90s.  Turn on your TV and you’ll see riots, young men with dissenting ideals shooting innocent people, war, and a cornucopia of atrocities.  Put on the radio and you’ll hear ‘generic pop garbage’. We live in a dystopian society that, any day now, will collapse upon itself.  To all of this, I only have one thing to say:  Shut up.

Yes, there are bad things happening in the world.  Atrocities and tragedies occur every day and we’re probably only aware of a minute fraction of all of them.  Not too far from where I live, a police officer died due to injuries resulting from a fall while pursuing three armed robbers.   All of this is tragic, but tragedy has been present since the dawn of time.  The seemingly exponential growth of communications technology just means that we see more of the world now than we did back then.  The 50s and 60s was hardly a time of world peace.  The bad things in the world tend to make us forget the good.  Two weeks ago, in a vote that should not have been as close as it was, gay marriage was ruled legal in the US.  In the states, the younger generations are arguably more progressive than that of the hippies in the 60s.  As for crime, the crime rate is the same as that of the 60s and has been in steady decline since the 90s.

Yeah well music sucks now. I wish I was back in the 60s or 90s.  You say, clutching your copies of Sgt. Pepper and A Night At The Opera.  With torrenting being as big as it is now and music streaming services like Spotify, if you can’t find current music you don’t like, then you aren’t looking hard enough.  As for pop hits, I arbitrarily looked up theBillboard hot 100 for 2004.  Take a look at those hits and, aside from the top 10 and repeated names, tell me how many of those artists’ names you can recall, let alone the specific song mentioned.  When’s the last time you heard a Ruben Studdard song?  Aside from the big names, most of the songs you hear on the radio will become nothing more than songs you start to hum for no particular reason and subsequently Google out of curiosity.  Also, and I can’t stress this enough, no particular decade was the best decade for music.  Put down your Tamagotchi and listen to anything post 1999.  Hip-Hop now is in a golden age, the indie sound is taking over the radio, and somehow saxophones are really big in pop music now.  It’s a great time to be alive.

I’ve mentioned this before but I will reiterate; Men don’t suck.  Women don’t suck.  People suck.  If you are constantly surrounded by terrible people, then maybe you need a change of scenery or some introspection.  Just because they dressed differently doesn’t mean the people of the 1950s were any nicer or meaner than people now.  I would argue that people now are more tolerable and socially progressive.

The other day, I was on my porch and I could hear the hourly announcements of my community pool.  No running on the deck, no diving from the sides… I repeated.  They seem to have added more rules since I last went.   I used to spend every day there in the summer swimming, playing dodgeball or doggy(a version of dodgeball where you ran from base to base while avoiding a firing squad of volleyballs), begging my parents for money or scrounging quarters off the ground to buy a pack of candy cigarettes or cheese fries.  I then thought back to two days ago when, on an impulse, Bae (because I’m not afraid of new slang) and I, without telling our parents or asking them for money, drove to New Jersey to spend a day at the beach.  From there we met up with our other friend who lives outside of Philly.  I would be lying if I didn’t feel a bit nostalgic for the elementary days, but at the same time I wasn’t able to leave the pool area without telling my parents and, because this was the late 90s to early 2000s, I had to go home and tell them because I didn’t have a cell phone.  This was also a time where, if a friend moved as far as the next town, you probably wouldn’t have spoken to them again.

The point I’m trying to make is probably the overarching point of life; everything in moderation.  This includes the rose tinted shades of nostalgia.  If you read this and insist on this being the worst time to be alive, I can’t stop you. However, it should be noted that, on July 14, 2015, I have an essentially endless library music in the palm of my hands as well as the potential to watch every episode of Breaking Bad, The Wire, South Park, and countless other TV Shows.  I can also watch a Snapchat story of the South Carolinian government taking down the Confederate flag.  I can keep up with my friends across the country and the world as if they were down the street.  I can marry a dude.  I don’t have to worry (too much) about a nuclear war obliterating the planet.  While it isn’t perfect, the world is a real cool place and will be even cooler ten, twenty years from now.  That or we’ll spend the 2020s yearning for the good times of the 2010s.

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