Monday, November 9, 2009


I'm fascinated by the power of nostalgia. This omnipresent emotion can distort and even reshape the past, present, and future. It is a comforting blanket that can be explicit or subtle.

Almost as interesting is a concept much more unusual but maybe comparably prevalent: fake nostalgia or fauxstalgia. Fauxstalgia is similar to regular nostalgia in that it fosters a sense of comfort and happiness. But what makes fauxstalgia so unusual is that it creates a strong feeling for a time or place that we never actually encountered. For example, I occasionally feel nostalgic (fauxstalgic) for the Roaring Twenties or the Atomic Age of the 1950s. I was born well after these eras.

Fauxstalgia is what turns Mad Men, Indiana Jones, and Gone With the Wind into hits. While nostalgia is a reflex, fauxstalgia comes from training - through pop culture and mass media. It is a projection of emotional perfection. Triggers of fauxstalgia are very powerful.
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