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.