Sometimes I watch truly bad television. I don’t think I need to introduce anyone to the mind-numbing minutia of VH-1, do I? Well, for the past few years, VH-1 has produced a program called ‘I Love The ’80s.’ The show features one certain year from the ’80s, along with flashbacks on news, trends, important happenings and pop culture that may have transpired during that particular year, with commentary from B-list celebrities. More often than not, the b-list celebs almost always point out the blatantly obvious point about whatever they might be talking about. For example, say you’re watching “I Love The ’80s: 1985′ and the topic is ‘Back To The Future.’ The commentary would be a little like this: “Yeah, they, like, need, to get back, to, the, future.” It’s at these points, normally around 11:55 pm on a Tuesday night when I’m not only kicking myself for watching this crap, but also kicking myself for not having the two-cent commentary job on VH-1. I guess that’s why the show works though; it makes me feel superior about my knowledge of ’80s pop culture, and it allows for a little bit of nostalgia without crossing the line and starting a blog about Pac-Man.
But that’s besides the point. A few years back, VH-1 realized that the generational stroll down pop culture lane was working so well that they decided to add the ‘90s on there as well. Which is fine. It’s 2008. We haven’t been in the ’90s for a pretty long time now, and I have no problem getting all nostalgic for Bell Biv Devoe, Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard or Lollapalooza.
And now, just the other day, I noticed a new program being added to the VH-1 roster: I Love The New Millennium. My first reaction was, “Already?” But I gave it a chance anyways and vainly tried numbing my brain with a little bit of a stroll down good ole’ memory lane circa 2002. Unfortunately, it didn’t work too well. Terror alerts, Spiderman, Britney Spears; all still fairly common in pop culture six years after the fact. The nostalgia simply wasn’t there yet. I’m thinking that it wasn’t allowed to mature yet, at least for me, but I think there’s a bigger issue at large.
Time is happening faster. With each year that passes, immediacy becomes more immediate, and because of that, yesterday’s news is becoming last week’s (or month’s) news. Simply put, everything in the world is much faster than it was in the ’70s or ’80s or even ’90s. But that’s not the only issue. Through the Internet, Hollywood and programming like that of VH-1, it’s now easier than ever to reconnect with the past. Looking for that Primus album you loved so much in 1991? It’s on the Internet. Looking to reconnect with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory? Watch the Johnny Depp recreation. Curious about what Morris Day and The Time are up to lately? Watch VH-1. So, time isn’t only seemingly moving forward faster; it’s also moving backward faster. As in, it’s now easier than ever to reconnect with the nostalgia that created certain movements in not only culture, but yourself.
This is a bad thing. I’ve read somewhere that fish have tremendous memories, but no concept of time. And by immersing ourselves in the memories of our past and loading up on Rubik’s Cube, Wayne’s World and MC Hammer, could we simultaneously be erasing our concept of time? If VH-1 is any indication, maybe.
For now, I’m gonna stay clear of nostalgia programming and try to keep on having new experiences. In real time. No matter how long it might take.
I’m simply not ready to be a fish. Not yet at least. Maybe next week, as in, tomorrow.