Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three Reflections on Nostalgia

Natsukashii is a hard to translate Japanese adjective, referring to nostalgia for the past - but not simply the past, but soemtimes referring to an idealized past that never really was...

From an interview with the Canadian comic artist Seth:
Am I nostalgic? Can you feel nostalgic for an era you never lived in? I am interested in the time before I was born, but I feel the most nostalgia for the era of my own childhood. The 1960’s and early 70’s was the last vestige of that old world… elements of it were still hanging around everywhere. I didn’t think about it much as a child, but now I realize those old businesses and products and movies etc. that were lingering into the time of my childhood left a deep impression on me. All that stuff seems very sad to me. I’m not really a nostalgic type so much as a melancholic. I spend a lot of time alone, and most of it is spent in a fog of self-pitying melancholy. It sounds pathetic, but it is so true.

When there is no hope for a future (or for any world beyond this current one, dominated as it is by the inexorability of decay and the merciless march of time), many must turn to an idealized past - sometimes quite conscious of the artificiality of this constructed view of the past - to find some semblance of safety, of home, and, I would even argue, of the Eternal we are built for.

Glen Campbell sings "Southern Nights", inflected as it with a sweet kind of sadness.
Glen Campbell is so wonderful.

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