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Quotes / Nostalgia Filter

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"No matter how golden an age, there will always be someone complaining that everything looks too yellow."
Randall Jarrell

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    Film - Live Action 
"It's old rock. That doesn't make it classic. What sucked back then still sucks today."
Matt Farrell, Live Free or Die Hard

Chazz Darby: What do you think, Ian?
Ian "The Shark" O'Malley: To tell you the truth, I stick to the classics. Rock 'n' roll's been all downhill since Lennon died.
Chazz: My whole life, people have been cramming this classic rock crap down my throat. Do you think I give a shit about The Beatles?
Ian: No offense, but today's music doesn't have a whole lot to say.
Chazz: Is that right? So you're gonna tell me that "Purple Haze" says something?

"Say not, 'Why were the former days better than these?' For it is not from wisdom that you ask this."

"And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’"

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
— Opening line of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, quoted on the box of the first (1989) Trivial Pursuit 1980s Edition

"Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were."
Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme,
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have express'd
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And for they looked but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.
William Shakespeare, "Sonnet 106"

"Anything before you’re thirty-five is new and exciting, and anything after that is proof the world’s going to hell."
Daniel Suarez, Influx

"I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip."
Ignatius J. Reilly, A Confederacy of Dunces

"...confusing time with its mathematical progression, as the old do, to whom all the past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years."

"Farewell, Romance!" the Cave-men said;
With bone well carved He went away,
Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead,
And jasper tips the spear to-day.
Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance,
And He with these. Farewell, Romance!"
Rudyard Kipling, "The King"

"Mauvais souvenirs, soyez pourtant les bienvenus [Unhappy memories! Yet be welcome]
vous êtes ma jeunesse lointaine...[for you are my distant youth.]"
Georges Courteline, quoted as an epigraph for the film, Army of Shadows by Jean-Pierre Melville.

"Get enough of them together, looking for the America they always believed they'd grow up in, and they glom together like overcooked rice, form integral starchy little units. With their power tools, portable generators, weapons, four-wheel-drive vehicles, and personal computers, they are like beavers hyped up on crystal meth, manic engineers without a blueprint, chewing through the wilderness, building things and abandoning them, altering the flow of mighty rivers and then moving on because the place ain't what it used to be."
Hiro, Snow Crash

"See, that's the problem with putting too much stock in the old days. You remember all the GOOD stuff, but you forget about the time you got spanked by your best friend's mom."

I admitted that it was indeed vain to hope for an eternity for Athens and for Rome which is accorded neither to objects nor men, and which the wisest among us deny even to the gods. These subtle and complex forms of life, these civilizations comfortably installed in their refinements of ease and of art, the very freedom of mind to seek and to judge, all this depended upon countless rare chances, upon conditions almost impossible to bring about, and none of which could be expected to endure. We should manage to destroy Simon; Arrian would be able to protect Armenia from Alani invasions. But other hordes would come, and other false prophets. Our feeble efforts to ameliorate man's lot would be but vaguely continued by our successors; the seeds of error and of ruin contained even in what is good would, on the contrary, increase to monstrous proportions in the course of centuries. A world wearied of us would seek other masters...I could see the return of barbaric codes, of implacable gods, of unquestioned despotism of savage chieftains, a world broken up into enemy states and eternally prey to insecurity ...Our epoch, the faults and limitations of which I knew better than anyone else, would perhaps be considered one day, by contrast, as one of the golden ages of man.
Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian (translated by Grace Frick)

In the past, men were handsome and great (now they are children and dwarfs), but this is merely one of the many facts that demonstrate the disaster of an aging world. The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause the to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life and Martha no longer loves the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels, Lucretius becomes a woman. Everything is on the wrong path.

    Live-Action TV 
"I have tender feelings for Nixon, because everybody has warm feelings about their childhood. (Actually, I didn't like the Watergate trials 'cause they interrupted The Munsters.)"

"Yeah things were simpler then
You ask exactly
The New Pornographers, "Sweet Talk Sweet Talk"

"As your body floats down Third Street
With the burn smell factory closing up
Yes it's sad to say, you will romanticize
All the things you've known before"
They Might Be Giants, "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head"

"We recognize the present
Is half as pleasant
As our nostalgia for
A past that we resented
Recast and reinvented
Until it's how we meant it"
Barenaked Ladies, Testing 1, 2, 3

When I was a little man
Play-Doh came in a little can
I was Star Wars' biggest fan
Now I'm stuck without a plan

G.I. Joe was an action man
Shaggy drove the Mystery Van
Devo was my favorite band
Take me back to my happy land!
The Aquabats!, "Play Dough!"

You know the good old days weren't always good
Tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems
Billy Joel, "Keeping the Faith"

    Newspaper Comics 
Roger: Andy, you can't judge Captain Goofballon a day-to-day basis, or even a month-to-month one! You have to look at the broader body of work!
Andy: How broad?
Roger: When I was 13, the strip was a riot.
Andy: And just as you are no longer 13...

    Tabletop Games 
Perhaps my memories of my neonate days are hopelessly romantic, but now I find myself surrounded by new waves of foreigners, cheaply available handguns and drugs far more addictive than anything in my day. Gone are the smoky opium dens where we could expect to feed on the occasional Chinaman, the factories from which I could lure fatigued children. I welcome Gehenna, for I tire of this new age. Instead, I must content myself with reverie, remembering the golden age of the Nosferatu and the glory of Victorian London.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Clanbook: Nosferatu (Revised)

You can talk and talk till your face is blue!
But they still do just what they want to do!
Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?
What's the matter with kids today?"
Bye Bye Birdie, "Kids"

"Forward, America! Forward! the hallowed principles of our forefathers! Forward! the sweet tranquility of the status quo! Forward! yesterday!"
Sen. Billboard Rawkins, Finian's Rainbow

    Video Games 
Reinhardt: Ahhh, you kids today with your techno music. You should enjoy the classics, like Hasselhoff!note 
Lucio: Tsk! Oh man, I can't even take you seriously right now!

    Web Animation 
"Nostalgia is like putting cocaine infused marbles into your mouth in that it makes you say stupid things."
Yahtzee, Zero Punctuation

    Web Comics 
Goldenloin: I just meant... there was a time. Before. Things were simpler. We were together. It was... good.
Ballister: It was never that good. You always remember things as being better than they were.

    Web Original 
"Power and authority coincide with gorgeousness and opulence in a world where there are dirty people to look down on who never object because they accept their lot. Men get to slice each other up while radiating honour and nobility; women get to luxuriate and self-subjugate in a version of femininity steeped in both virtue and beauteous uselessness - and all without any of the guilt that a modern context forces on almost all of us."
Jack Graham, "Bring Back the Stocks!"

"Nostalgia is never a return to the actual time. It’s a specific reconstruction of the past, a rewriting of it, to soothe present-tense anxieties. Boomer lust for WWII was a simultaneous lame tribute to dying vets (Happy Father’s Day! Here’s another copy of The Greatest Generation!) and a slap in the face to their slacker kids, Generation X."
Molly Brown, "Time Travel and the New Nostalgia"

"What is happening? Good fucking God, MOVE ON. The reason there hasn't been a new Cobain to emerge on the scene lately is because everyone is so busy reading reviews of the latest In Utero remastering."
Drew Magary, Make It Stop

"We watch I Love the 80s to wax nostalgic about movies that we have no nostalgia for in order to build up the illusion of nostalgia for the purposes of being made to buy something new, but at every turn the actual object of pleasure is displaced — the fun is somewhere else. Dreadful practice. To be avoided at all costs."

"Hi and Lois has apparently decided to embrace its status as one of the squarest comics in syndication by just doing a whole week of 'weren’t things different and maybe better in decades past?' Yesterday we had 'Cars sure were larger and less fuel efficient back when gas was cheaper'; today we’ve got 'remember when everyone used to watch TV, before the entertainment options available today existed?' Super psyched to see if they can drag this out for another four days!"

"The success of Marvels showed the Big Two that there was a market for stories set in the past starring characters that the audience had grown up with. That (Kurt) Busiek is a fantastic writer who can push characters into the future even while tying everything into older continuity (as he did in Avengers Forever) was largely ignored. All the Big Two saw were dollar signs in stories about the past.

"So, next time you’re feeling nostalgic about how great Quakeworld or the original Donkey Kong Country was, I recommend going with it. It’ll make you feel better even if you overlook the problems at the time or the improvements that have been made since. Just don’t over commit yourself to any opinions born of memory’s fickle biases. Because graph paper, himem.sys, and two buttons on a controller were worse than you really remember."

· Stone Cold should come back and give John Cena a stunner.
· WWE should try and get the old WWF name and scratch logo back.
· John Cena is the worst wrestler in the world. Anyone that praises Cena in any way is a terrible wrestling fan.
· Although... turning him heel may make him good again.
· Children and women are the cancer of professional wrestling.
· Although, children can redeem themselves by watching Attitude Era clips and favoring it over today's product.
Taimapedia, Popular YouTube Wrestling Community Opinions

'Schlafly’s work was pivotal in the victory of the “pro-family” movement over the Equal Rights Amendment...For instance, she laments the loss of “real men” who went to war to save damsels in distress, men like the draft dodging wife beater John Wayne."
Encyclopedia of American Loons on Phyllis Schlafly

"Waah, where’s the glorious philosopher-kings who’ll take me back to their enlightened caves and regale me with their vast manly wisdom and fawn over how intelligent and philosophical I am before sheathing off their heavy robes and—? Oh yeah, hurgygurgy, something something cocktail chit-chat has gone downhill these days."
Cerberus, "But Nobody Bleeds For the Hack Writer"

"Living in the modern world is hard. Trying to be a decent person in a diverse, pluralistic society takes work, and there will inevitably be missteps along the way. All of us across the political spectrum believe that democracy has problems, the government has problems, 'political correctness' has problems. But even in its most innocent form...a dislike of 'political correctness' and the modern world can take you to some very ugly places very fast—the past was, as only some of us have the privilege of forgetting, a very ugly place."
Arthur Chu, "Occupying the Throne"

"I look forward to Star Wars Episode VII. I look forward to see the visual effects from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith but done ten years later. It should be stunningly cool to see. We live in a time when storytellers can tell any story and it generally amazes me there are people who cross their arms and want to go back to a time that never really existed. The thesis that limitations lead to genius is just flat-out illogical. If we gave The Beatles crappier guitars or we gave your new favorite band vintage equipment, would they make better music? No. They would make music with the tools at their disposal. The anti-CGI discourse needs to end."


"Now that there's a NEW Generation of Pokémon, I immediately abandon ALL the hatred I had of Gen III and IV in favour of saying how much the Gen V sucks. I hated Gen III? when?"
— Quote from VGF.

"The biggest problem with nostalgia is that it's a ghost of an emotion. That's not saying that if you like something when you're young you can't rediscover it and like it equally, or more, later. I loved comics as a child, spent all of middle school telling my classmates that comics were training pants for premature ejaculators, and was fixated on The Dark Knight Returns while my high school chemistry project group careened its way through a Barnes & Noble study session. Legitimate interest clings to you in a way that nostalgia doesn't. Nostalgia flees almost as quickly as it creeps up on you."

"These Are the Voyages... is an episode harking back to the peak of the franchise, at the expense of everything that has happened since. In doing so, it constructs an elaborate but unconvincing fantasy of what that 'golden age' might have looked like. Enterprise cannot magically make Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis ten years younger, and it does the duo a disservice to have them go through this unconvincing illusion. It is sad to throw away a decade of work and development in pursuit of idealised past, but it is tragic to discover that the past can never be reclaimed."

Fond memories of The A-Team ruined by watching it.

    Web Video 
Kid: You know this is a kids' movie, right? It's not like the Turtles were better in your day.
Narrator: They were!
(plays the infamous dance scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze)
Narrator: Ugh... Touché.

"Fuck anime! Anime used to be good. Or I used to be dumber."

If anyone tells you that they miss The '80s, point them to this song and ask if they still do.
Bennett the Sage, on Milli Vanilli's "Baby Don't Forget My Number"

Nostalgia... can be toxic. Now bear in mind, I did not say that it is toxic, but that it can be toxic. This assumption that because we have pleasant memories of something, that it was always good, all the time. A desire to get that back ignores all the good that's come since then... as well as all the bad stuff that was there too. It poisons you, making you more susceptible to deception, to your own greed. Who's to say that your own past is more important than someone else's future? And because you may want something that may not have been real at all, the farther the goalpost gets. Because you can't really reclaim it. So it just gets worse and worse, and you get greedier and more desperate for it, because what you really want is never going to come. Until, in the very end, you become the thing that you hated in the first place.

You become more concerned with chasing some imaginary feeling that you forget where you are and that you can create real, obtainable goals right now. To this mindset, the past is more important than the future. The Earth-2 Superman thinks that he can reclaim everything by bringing back something from his past. Superboy Prime exemplifies this most of all, and in Issue #4, his character works. Because it's an actual tragedy; someone who thinks he's reclaiming something that's his, when of course it isn't his. He's too fixated on this ideal version of the world that he can't believe that anything else is possible.

The reason that I mock Superboy Prime in other works is because he stopped being this cautionary tale and instead became a farce; a method for the writers, Geoff Johns in particular, to complain about angry fans who didn't like his work. "Oh, they don't like change! They only want something from their past." But as I've said before, Geoff Johns is guilty of this, too.

The man has never met a retcon he didn't like. He likes to pretend that plot points happened a certain way because it suits the story that he wants to tell. Conner Kent is a perfect example of this; Geoff Johns is the one who introduced the retcon that Conner was also a clone of Lex Luthor. Because it served the story he wanted to tell. He is guilty of the exact same toxic nostalgia, wanting to recreate a world from his past by sacrificing the past of everyone else.

And sometimes, that world was better; Hal Jordan's turn to evil was a bad, bad idea and fixing that was the right call. The difference between Superboy Prime and Geoff Johns is that Geoff Johns is capable of fixing those mistakes while also not sacrificing everything that went along the way. Bear in mind, when he brought back Hal Jordan, he didn't kill Kyle Rainer just because "Well, you gotta clear the way for Hal!" It's more about repairing the future than changing the past.

Sure, he still screws it up on occasion (Prime himself is the best example of that), but he's usually intent on serving the larger picture. Superboy Prime, however, is trapped in this sense of entitlement. His reality, his sacrifice, is the only thing that matters to him. He feels that he deserves it all, and doesn't care who he has to hurt to bring it back. And despite his constant proclamations, it's because he's not Superman.

Superman is a promise to serve the world, all of humanity, hell, all of life itself. He puts the world before himself, because that's the man he's grown to be. Superboy Prime, though... Well, he's a teenager who suddenly got superpowers, lost his entire planet, got shoved in a glass prison with two old people and a weird creepy guy who was technically only a few days old, and gets to watch everyone else on Earth get the happy ending that he thinks he's supposed to get. Dude's got issues.

Infinite Crisis is trying to be critical of this mindset, but it also has no answer to the rightful criticisms that mindset lobbed at the DC Universe. It has gotten too dark. The heroes have done morally questionable things that ended up hurting themselves and others. And while it's still shaking its finger at all that, it revels in those same elements: excessive violence, death, the heroes failing. All of it is personified in a teenager bawling his eyes out while literally ripping people apart and screaming "You're ruining everything!"
Linkara, talking about Superboy Prime and the Central Theme of Infinite Crisis Atop the Fourth Wall

    Western Animation 
"Ever noticed? No matter how tough your grandparents had it when they were kids...they still call it 'The Good Old Days'."
Mosely Moville, Moville Mysteries

"You know, in retrospect, I may have over-romanticised those memories."
Phineas Flynn, Phineas and Ferb

Every great empire reaches a point where going backward can seem more appealing than going forward. When the world is changing so fast, it makes us yearn for the old ways when life seemed simpler. But it doesn't mean those old ideas are good for us now. We have to face one reality as a country.
Randy Marsh, South Park

    Real Life 
"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine."

"There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a past, which in fact, never existed."

"Yesterday is yesterday. If we try to recapture it, we will only lose tomorrow."
Bill Clinton, speech at the University of North Carolina's 200th Anniversary

"In the post historical period there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual care taking of the museum of human history. I can feel in myself, and see in others around me, a powerful nostalgia for the time when history existed."
Francis Fukuyama, The End of History

"Being the lice lady was quite a good job in those days as so many of us were lousey a good deal of the time. Whenever I see the visual cliche of a character scratching his head as if deep in thought, I am transported back to my happy, lousey childhood."
Tom Baker, Who On Earth is Tom Baker?

"The Memory Cheats."
John Nathan-Turner (Doctor Who producer 1980-1989), Points of View

"It's an Orwellian quirk of this country that we are extremely fond of our heritage of bloody murder, the gore of yore, the poisonings, bodysnatchings, and slit throats of a reassuringly long time ago."
David Stubbs, The Guide, issue 28th Jan-3rd Feb

"Not only are all ages in chart pop equal, chart pop never changes, it only appears to change on its surface level."

"To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence...I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times."
Alan Moore on superhero movies

'The Golden Age of Science Fiction is 'twelve'."
— Peter Graham, science fiction fan.

"The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshipped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness."
Pierre Trudeau, 1970

"Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders."
— Mary Schmich, "Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young", Chicago Tribune, June 1, 1997


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