A Field Observation: Can Too Much Nostalgia Be A Bad Thing?

If life is about moving forward, then why are we so obsessed with revisiting the past?

Some of the most popular content we see in our daily lives tends to be wrapped in nostalgia. Through spreadable media this comes in the form of different kinds television commercials or ads on the internet. You may come across a blog or a Facebook page dedicated to popular things from a users childhood.

This is the opposite of a commodity culture, which favors expression through new possibilities. These ideas are shared within a specific group or fandom.

According to scholar Lewis Hyde, these are examples of two distinct fantasies.

” Because of the bonding power of gifts and the detached nature of commodity exchange, gifts have become associated with community and with being obliged to others, while commodities are associated with alienation and freedom.”

I feel that people like to hold on to the past mostly because we as a society don’t like change. The past is familiar, it brings us comfort, it reminds us of what we feel were simpler times. We all have moments in our lives that we wish could be revisited. I think that’s fine to an extent, the past shouldn’t be forgotten otherwise we would never learn from our mistakes. At the same time though, there is a point when nostalgia blinds us from moving forward.

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The Meaning In The Message

Content is important within the media. Yet despite the amount of spreadable media in the world, none of it would matter if the message doesn’t grab anyone’s attention.

According to communications scholar John Fiske, “If the cultural commodities or texts do not contain resources out of which the people can make their own meanings of their social relations and identities, they will be rejected and will fail in the marketplace. They will not be made popular.”

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People look for personal connections in what they read and watch.

By encoding messages into content it can then be analyzed by an audience to find meaning. Messages that are open ended allow people to find new interpretations that can deviate from what the producer originally intended. This can have both a positive and a negative effect, depending on the content. Personally, I’d like to believe that it does more good then bad.

What Does It Take To Be Creative?

It’s an interesting time to be alive in this digital age.

The internet has given us the chance to be more creative now than ever. Through social media we’re able to put out our creations for people to see and spread. At the same time, because so many people can create things to be shared, it can be tough to make something that stands out from the rest.

In an article by Jenkins, Ford, and Green (2013) they state the following:

“Successful creators understand the strategic and technical aspects they need to master in order to create content more likely to spread, and they think about what motivates participants to share information and to build relationships with the communities shaping its circulation.”

Anyone can make a video or a blog post, but it takes skill, passion, and creativity to really make something special. Something that will grab the viewer or listeners attention to here what you have to say.

Even then it’s not certain whether it will work.

“They cannot fully predict whether audiences will embrace what they have designed, but a creator – whether professional or amateur – can place better bets through the listening processes.”

YouTube is a great place to test out what you have with an audience. Personally, I love watching movie and game reviews. I enjoy listening to others opinions and possibly seeing something from a different point of view.

Creativity is very precious. It’s a gift that we all have and should use to better ourselves. Whether that be in science, health, or entertainment to name a few. Without it, the world would be a much bleaker and uninteresting place to live in.

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Netflix Witcher Receives Backlash

Last week Game Informer published an article on the upcoming Netflix series, The Witcher. The series is based on a collection of novels and short stories. The books also led to the creation of three video games set after the events of the books.

Recently it was announced that Henry Cavill (Superman, Mission: Impossible Fallout) would be playing the main lead, Geralt of Rivia. An unconfirmed source has stated that Ciri, Geralt’s adoptive daughter, might be played by a non-white actress. This has led to angry outcries towards Lauren S. Hissrich, the series showrunner, causing her to temporarily leave social media.

I’m honestly not surprised to hear people reacting negatively about this. This is not the first time a group of “fans” have complained about a casting choice. It’s especially annoying here, considering they haven’t casted anyone yet, this is just speculation. I personally don’t have a problem if they cast a non-white actress. This series is known for having a richly diverse group of characters and cultures.

Overall, I think this is a good thing for the industry. In the last few years we’ve seen a rise in diversity within the film, tv, and video game industries. Ethnicity shouldn’t be what makes a good performer, it should be the talent and skill.

 

 

 

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