The Definition of Nostalgia is Unique to the Reminiscent

The Definition of Nostalgia is Unique to the Reminiscent


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Nostalgia is common to all ideologies (even among libertarians and their unkempt cousins, the anarchists). But conservative nostalgia is almost always geared at recreating communities of the past.  Nostalgia isn’t uncommon, of course, but in any experience it tends to come in waves. Waves of nostalgia and memory sweep across the various gaming message boards […]




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Nostalgia is common to all ideologies (even among libertarians and their unkempt cousins, the anarchists). But conservative nostalgia is almost always geared at recreating communities of the past.  Nostalgia isn’t uncommon, of course, but in any experience it tends to come in waves. Waves of nostalgia and memory sweep across the various gaming message boards and can be physically held through collectible toys.

For months the boards will be crowded with trade offers, OT (off-topic) randomness, and PK smack talking, but then someone will post a memory of the “early days,” which in turn creates a wave of “Do you remember .”-type threads.

Nostalgia is better considered as a perceptual and representational strategy with variant cultural politics, one that can only be understood in relation to thier other goals. The time when nostalgia had the “dubious distinction” of being one of theory’s most “pigeonholed concepts” is over. Nostalgia is not best studied as a moral choice but as a political and personal inevitability. We all do it, we all feel it.

Nostalgia is a poor foundation for any classic movie memories , and film’s visceral pleasures are too limited to effectively compensate for the lack of credible characters or a coherent storyline. Nostalgia is instead something which cannot be constrained to brief formulas or summarized simply; it is a mass of intense and impalpable sensations, both mental and corporeal, which inevitably mark and infiltrate every life to some extent.

Nostalgia is again faulted for its lack of accuracy: the present tries to “focus the landscape of the past through nostalgia-tinted spectacles”. The image this sentimentality constructs is said to have little to do with actual historical period objects, and even the visual elegance of “nostalgia films” is seen as a sign of their mystifying intentions.

Nostalgia is also a privileging of the past over the present—a longing to go back because it was in some way better than the present.

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