Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Where has all the nostalgia gone?

As mentioned briefly a few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with my long time friend Mike about how nostalgia doesn't exist anymore. Thanks to recent technologies and mainly the ability of niche marketers to be successful on the internet he felt that we can get anything that we missed or remembered without too much problem or expense.

The impetus of this conclusion was the fact that he was able to purchase an exact copy of the Air Jordan sneakers that he had as a teen. I'm willing to bet that even if there weren't a company making replicas he could've easily (though paid much more) found a pair on Ebay or some other online specialty site like Craigs List. Unlike our parents who had to hunt for nostalgic items at yard sales and pay through the nose at auction houses, mine and future generations will have no problems finding much if not all of their precious childhood memorabilia.

You even see it in "collectible" hobbies. Comic books can be read online and downloaded for free if you're savvy enough with the computer. (and most comic book nerds are...) Even before that the major comic book publishers would reprint the difficult to find issues in paperback or reprint issues. I've even seen food items and candies that aren't as popular anymore being sold on the web at specialty stores.

While replicas and reprints and downloads aren't the same thing as the genuine item, it will decrease the demand and nostalgic feelings that we as a culture share for certain things. There will always be a demand by some people for the "real" article, but most of us will satisfy our long lost yearnings with replicas and reprints. This ability to have what we want, when we want it, and how we want it is a mostly a good thing, but I'm reminded of when you spoil a child and then don't deliver. I wonder if there will be some sort of cultural meltdown or temper tantrum if that day were to come.

3 comments:

Major Otis said...

I think your friend has a point. I just showed my son (minor otis) one of my favorite Sesame Street bits on Youtube. The one where Cookie Monster is a train engineer and clears the tracks by eating all the snow. The first time I saw it in 25 years was like being punched in the brain. Awesome feeling. But that only works once. You can't be nostalgic for something that you still have.

Paul said...

What about Hydrox?

Brian said...

I know you jest about the Hydrox Paul, but don't underestimate the power of the net. I would bet that they'll be back in some limited form soon. A cursory search on google shows that interest is there, and where there is demand....