Blinded by Nostalgia

by William Skink

Nostalgia for this 36 year old is me buying a CD at Best Buy (the new Faith No More album). Before I was old enough to have my own moments of nostalgia, I was sold Baby Boomer nostalgia for their counterculture movement. I distinctly remember watching the movie The Lost Boys (though not when it was first released in 1987). The Doors were a featured part of the soundtrack. I was hooked.

Discovering the music and writing of the 60’s, and the Beats they sprouted from, felt like a rite of passage to a new level of understanding. This was the rebellion against the cul-de-sacs of suburbia I was trapped in. This was how to dig the deeper veins of reality, where the truth hides.

I’m not sure when the disillusionment began, but 9/11 was the shock that re-calibrated my senses. I had just turned 22, and was still jumping through undergrad hoops at UM. It’s fair to say the government’s conspiracy theory explaining events that day didn’t sit well with me, so I looked elsewhere. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of a journey into the depths of chapel perilous.

The link is to a post by horror writer Matt Cardin, from his blog The Teeming Brain. It’s a good exploration into the concept of chapel perilous, weaving his personal experiences with the deep history of the term, which can be traced back to mythical quests for the Holy Grail.

What got me thinking about all this is the movie Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s crime novel of the same name. The movie is a brilliant take on the paranoia that infused the decade of decadence, a decade that killed off any lingering hope that the opening of the doors of perception would lead to something good, something positive for our species on this planet.

I no longer buy into 60’s nostalgia as peddled by the aging Baby Boomer generation. My coming of age occurred as the end of the millennium turned into the age of terror. Whether you know it or not, we are all stuck in chapel perilous.

  1. “I no longer buy into 60’s nostalgia as peddled by the aging Baby Boomer generation.”

    Anti-war protests, anti-capitolism, global cooling (now warming), racial unrest. You a fool if you think 60’s era nostalgia is meaningless.

  2. steve kelly

    Appropriate, remake, reinvent, it’s all there for the taking. It’s always retro.

    “How does it feel, how does it feel?
    To be on your own, with no direction home
    A complete unknown, like a rolling stone.”

  3. Hmmm. There was a generation, both world-wide and ‘Merikan, who were not offered the largess of the Boomers or took part in the offerings of the Boomer’s Gen X Reagan baby suburbanite offspring. One of those now runs your disfavored ‘Regime’, and it is no surprise that he isn’t liked by either the Gen X suburbanite kids, Gen Y or the Boomers (save that he’s black, and the BB’s kinda like that.) In the rare times that the media has bothered to note that generation, my generation, we have been called ‘lost’, referred to as ‘angry’ and ‘combative’. World-wide, people of that age have become the very terrists that we all should ‘fear’.

    The telling thing about our gen is that we are decidedly distrustful of spirituality, and yet steeped in Dogma (think Lost Boys). We’ve been to the Chapel Perilous, and go back for vacation at times. No offense, but please consider that for a bit.

  4. Turner

    Usually I don’t have trouble understanding posts. But I have no idea what anyone is saying here. I tried to slog through the Teeming Mind piece. Same lack of understanding. I get most if not all of the cultural/historical references but don’t see how they’re being connected.

    But spiritual metaphysics was never my thing. Maybe it’s a blind spot in my psyche.

    • lizard19

      I’m reading a biography on Kurt Vonnegut right now, and this is the last paragraph of the chapter I just finished:

      In October 1974, after returning from a memorial service at Town Hall on West Forty-third Street for the poet Anne Sexton, another suicide, Kurt wrote to Jane in a thoughtful mood. He was worried that his creativity was petering out, and that there were forces at work in America he could not understand or explain. Major, disturbing changes were afoot, though apparent only in clues here and there. It was mysterious. Whatever was happening, he wrote her, they should hang on and prepare to “wind up miles from here.”

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