The Dark Side Of Nostalgia
Community

The Dark Side Of Nostalgia

Nostalgia can give us good feelings and memories of our childhood, but it can also cause serious problems.

12
The Dark Side Of Nostalgia

Many people these days look back on the media they consumed as a child and are reminded of, in their minds, better times. They are reminded of a time that feels objectively better than the one they live in now. These were the days when there were no worries, no struggle, everyone was friendly and went to church, everything was just better. However, when you actually look back at those periods in time, the truth is never that simple.

Nostalgia driven media often omits the dark periods or outright sanitizes certain moments and people in history. One of the best examples of this is the period known as the 1950s. To many Americans, mostly white Boomers, the 1950s was a sort of American Golden Age. America was reaping the benefits of a postwar economy, the American middle class was booming, and this was the height of "American ideals" like religion and democracy. Shows like "Happy Days" often see this period as an objectively better time than the present, just look at the title. This, however, is not true.

Most nostalgic media often ignores the the dark side of the 1950s. The 1950s were a hard time for many people. The Cold War between America and Soviet Russia was at it's peak and children were being taught about the real possibility of nuclear war. The government was so paranoid about communism that any opinion that criticized America and her policies would have you branded a communist, ruin your professional life, or even get you thrown in prison. Not to mention the rampant racism and bigotry that came as a reaction to the civil rights movement. So why do some people remember the 50s so fondly and wish America would return to such a time period?

Most of the people who say they want to return to that time period are white Boomers who grew up as fairly well off children at that time. When you are a child, you know little to nothing about the troubles of the outside world. You remembers things like riding bikes, watching your favorite T.V. show, or getting ice cream at the drug store. Nostalgic media only gives you those moments you remember fondly to create warm memories of your childhood, so what's the problem?

Warping and sanitizing our view of the past has never led to good. It ignores the real history that is always more complex than many in American society would want. When we elevate only the "good parts" and ignore the bad you aren't teaching history, you're mythologizing real people and real periods of time. Mythologizing flawed and often downright bad people (Christopher Columbus) led to this "cult of traditionalism" among the older generation that we are dealing with today. People who twist and turn their logic to defend statues and monuments to bad people, some have even threatened harm on real people to defend them. Nostalgia can remind us of our happy carefree childhoods, but it can also close us off to new ideas and discoveries that can actually make the world better. We shouldn't be looking to the past for a better future, we should be looking at everything in front of us and ask ourselves, "how do we make this better for everyone".

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments