I Know How He Feels: Sometimes, nostalgia feels good

Frivilous nonsense here:

Cinemassacre‘s (also known at the Angry Video Game Nerd) release his latest video a few days ago, and it really hits home.  It’s not just about VHS and video formats or Nintendo games.  It’s about that sense of anticipation of movie watching (saving money to buy or searching video stores to rent movies).  It’s about the waiting and the effort required to enjoy movies (watching or recording from TV, being home or setting your VCR).  It’s about the shared experience of an era that only people who lived throught it know about.  And it doesn’t have to be movies or TV – it could be anime, comic books, magazines, the newest Dungeons & Dragons module, whatever.

It’s now possible to watch anything instantly from any era.  I bet I could binge watch any TV series from my past (or before I was born) and see every episode.  But as he says, it’s not the same, both because the instant gratification takes away the anticipation and the effort, takes away the mystery of not knowing what to expect.

Worst of all (though he touches on this the least) how music is no longer an album experience.  Artists make ten to twelve songs, but because only one gets heard, the rest are ignored instead of shared secrets, favourite album cuts that dedicated fans know and anticipate at live shows.

At 17:55, he says:

“But on the other side of that, there were many other bands that I didn’t get to hear back then because I was too busy focusing on one thing at a time.  So, the question is, is it better to have access to more all at once, or to have less, and appreciate it more?

I identify with and shared the same experiences he talks about.  This might even bring a tear to some eyes. ^_^



  1. flex says

    It’s a nice video.

    I think I know what you are saying about shared experiences and nostalgia. As well as the difference between needing to wait vs. instant gratification. And there may be some truth to that.

    But, on the other hand, a few years ago I watched, and listened, as a co-workers son first started learning guitar. Then, because he could access YouTube videos, listened to and tried to learn riffs not from just rock or blues, but folk, blue-grass, cool jazz, swing, and classical. It was fascinating watching a young person, probably about eight, follow their own path through musical genres. Thirty years ago that would only have been possible if he had gone to a very good teacher, who knew all those styles themselves. I can’t say that the kid’s musical education is superior because of his exposure, but I will say that he doesn’t look at any music with contempt.

    But, even with the incredible amount of information available today, with the ability for most people in the industrialized world, and many even in the less industrialized nations, to access more knowledge than any library could contain, there will be common experiences within each generation for which some will develop nostalgia. I know that my son will undoubtedly have a certain amount of nostalgia for Pokémon, because he was interested in it as a child.

    Ultimately, I don’t think it will matter that media can be consumed faster today. The fans of a group will still spend more time listening to find those shared secrets. Without trying to criticize the video, the reason he only listens to a new Iron Maiden album once may well be because the music doesn’t appeal to him as much as it once did. A better question would be, if he could only purchase one album each week, would he chose Iron Maiden first? As our interests and tastes change, so do our desires and priorities. Cinemassacre is clearly a collector, and a collector of media he loved in the past. It is not inconceivable that he purchased the new Iron Maiden album mainly because he wants to have them all. In other words, media will take the same time to consume today as it did thirty years ago. You can’t watch an episode of “Welcome Back, Kotter” in five minutes.

    What is different is that you can watch a season in a few days rather than over the course of a year. If there is any anticipation for the show, it is measured in minutes or hours rather than weeks. At the same time, I don’t know if the lessons from any media need a great deal of reflection. Maybe some of the more obscure philosophers. But the stories in “Barney Miller” or “MASH” are pretty anvilicious,

    I guess at the end of the day, I’m suggesting that human beings will, in every generation, find things they will be nostalgic about. They will also have things that they need to wait for, and enjoy the anticipation of them. Most animals cannot see very far into either their future or their pasts. Our language helps us see further than other creatures, and allows us to remember joys we have had, and anticipate pleasure which may come. Nostalgia is bringing those joys of the past into the present, and anticipation is bringing expected pleasure of the future into the present. I think human beings will always find ways to experience both.

  2. jrkrideau says

    It’s about that sense of anticipation of movie watching
    This helps explain my lack of appreciation of modern culture. I think I remember seeing two movies, before I went to university. Mary Poppins and something, maybe Dr Zhivago?

  3. says

    I remember when ALIEN came out; I was psyched because I thought it was going to be great – and it was. Then there was Blade Runner. And then things started to just … get bad. Stanley Kubrick wasn’t making movies any more and we had endless unexciting superhero movies. Then The Lord of The Rings and the crushing disappointment of what Jackson did to The Hobbit. Since then I have not allowed myself to anticipate a movie, until Dune. Now, I feel a flutter of anticipation and hope. But they could still screw it up.