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The Crimson Connection

The student news site of Cypress Woods High School

The Crimson Connection

The student news site of Cypress Woods High School

The Crimson Connection

Nostalgia is a lie

Nostalgia is a lie

 

For many, nostalgia comes in the form of smelling Play-Doh, reading “The Magic Treehouse”, or even hearing a song from your favorite childhood movie. The pleasant feelings we have when recalling those memories almost always outweigh the thing’s innate value. Nostalgia itself is a very fine line that borders between emotion and memory, each of which is easily and commonly interchangeable.

Nostalgia sounds nice in theory, but it’s just a memory. Memories can cause strong emotions, but they are also changed every time they are recalled. Marla Paul, a journalist working for the publication Northwestern Now, said “Every time you remember an event from the past, your brain networks change in ways that can alter the later recall of the event. Thus, the next time you remember it, you might recall not the original event but what you remembered the previous time,” Paul said. 

People experience nostalgia when recalling a fond memory from years prior that they yearn for, but what many don’t realize is that it also happens when reflecting on a negative memory as well. When experiencing nostalgia, you are mourning something that you never even experienced, Mandi Moon, a journalist for Reporter, said, “Those memories, while not entirely fabricated, have been selectively chosen and further tinged and modified by your own brain to seem far better than they truly were,” Moon said. 

 The American Psychological Association and Merriam-Webster definition of nostalgia is, “pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.” What many people do not know is that up until the 21st century, nostalgia was defined as a mental disorder, and is still considered a symptom of depression.  

Almost all nostalgia that people claim to feel is driven by capitalism. Consider why exactly people remember tangible things associated with nostalgia. Items of materialistic value, ranging from scented markers that all the cool kids had in elementary school or the strawberry milk cartons on “Green Eggs and Ham” day, all are marketed to remind consumers of a better time, one that they may not have even experienced. Most commonly, nostalgia can be held, consumed, or easily accessed. Easily accessible memories or nostalgia are rooted within capitalist desires, with most items of nostalgia being easily replaceable, which in turn holds infinitely less sentimental value and more material value instead. This idea of nostalgia being mainstreamed to media consumers is most notable in TV shows and movies. More often than not, movies are targeted toward a specific group of people to instigate a nostalgic response out of the consumer, when in reality the media is created as a way to generate money and remind the consumer of a similar movie, with a similar concept, but never contribute to the viewer’s actual childhood or nostalgia. This is most commonly represented by the overabundance of sequels and remakes in the film industry. The continuous creation of adding on to an original source and production of sequels is a cheap and lazy way to make good money, but also a quick and easy way for people to feel nostalgic about the original.

Mark Fisher, author of  “Capitalist Realism”, highlights how the consumer market preys on the insecurities of adulthood and the longing of returning to childhood felt via nostalgia. 

In all, nostalgia, while fondly thought of, is a marketed and falsely depicted emotion that is built off of manipulated memories, and isn’t nearly as real or reliable as people think it is.

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About the Contributor
Lauren Lavers, Publications Liason
Hello! My name is Lauren and I am the Publications Liaison for our press staff. I am a Senior and this is also my fourth year on the yearbook staff. I have always loved journalism and I have been assisting the newspaper for years so I am thrilled to be a part of the staff this year. My favorite band is The 1975 and Matt Maeson and I love reading horror books in my free time.

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