That’s a common thing for old people to say. That everything was better in the past. Much, much better. Easier, quieter, friendlier, politer, greener. Being Greg McRetro, this is a thing worth investigating. It seems pretty much all the old folks from all generations think that, one way or the other, everything was better in the past. What’s going on here?
To be honest, I also think things were better in the past. I grew up in the eighties (of the previous century I must add) and in my experience, those were just epic times. The music was great. We had very compact cassette tapes to record these awesome tunes. Lots of exciting things regarding gaming and computing happened. As a result (or cause) of the video game crash in 1983, the home computer made its appearance and I was lucky enough to have a Commodore 64 at home. Others may remember the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) taking over their homes. The Internet started to form, boundaries faded. And those disgusting orange and purple colours thankfully disappeared from our homes.
Now, I think it’s totally understandable when people who grew up in the seventies say the eighties sucked ape balls. It killed their beloved arcades. The cold war peaked and there was a constant fear for The Bomb to be dropped. The music was terrible: electronic, cold and depressive. So was interior design. AIDS was discovered, making sex as an expression of love almost scary. And why send an electronic message if you could also write someone a letter?!
I probably could mention similar things about the seventies, as seen by people who grew up in the sixties. Or the sixties as seen by people who grew up in the fifties. But the forties, those were different, they had to be, at least here in Europe. With the second world war raging around. And the thirties with its Great Depression. No fun at all. The twenties however, must have been a real blast.
Disasters and wars aside, there must be a reason why so many generations say that everything was better in the past. Maybe it’s just because you have a different perception as a child or young adult. One that allows you to think positive, be creative, have an open mind to the world and everyone in it. As a child you have less obligations, you learn new things all the time, life seems endless and the future very far away. It’s an unpleasant thought that these ways of looking at things disappear, or at least degrade, whilst growing older.
There’s a great movie about this theme. And that’s Midnight In Paris, where a nostalgic screenwriter mysteriously finds himself going back to the 1920s every day at midnight. Which he thinks is totally awesome. The people he meets in that time however have quite a different view… If you haven’t seen it, go see it. But for your information: the 1920s just sucked ape balls.