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Back to the future: why are we opting for nostalgic pop culture?

"Retro" Love

Production of new TV content has increased exponentially since the last decade, due to a variety of streaming platforms competing against each other and a whole lot of channels on the air.

But paradoxically, cultural consumption is moving towards the tried and tested classic programs and series, which seem comforting, familiar and a safe bet.

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Back to the future: why are we opting for nostalgic pop culture?

Back to the future: why are we opting for nostalgic pop culture?

https://www.theguardian.com/safe-is-the-new-bold/2020/jan/31/back-to-the-future-why-are-we-opting-for-nostalgic-pop-culture

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

"Retro" Love

Production of new TV content has increased exponentially since the last decade, due to a variety of streaming platforms competing against each other and a whole lot of channels on the air.

But paradoxically, cultural consumption is moving towards the tried and tested classic programs and series, which seem comforting, familiar and a safe bet.

Searching For Stability

Retro video games and 80’s /90’s music are a popular choice even with thousands of new and ultra-realistic video games and so many options in music being available, as they provide a sense of comfort in a world that is increasingly precarious and unstable.

The overabundance of content makes people feel overwhelmed and confused. Add to it the fact that today’s pop culture options often reflect the current dystopian world, when most of us are wanting to escape from it, and have limited time. 

Volitional Reconsumption

.. is a deliberate act of revisiting old cultural favorites, as a form of self-discovery and self-identity. When people rewatch something, they watch it more intensely and can find out creative details and hidden meanings that were lost in the first viewing, appreciating the fine work of art even more.

Example: The Most Popular Sitcom in the UK in 2019 was the 90s sitcom Friends, which was in the Top 10 most-watched show list on Netflix the same year.

Shared Experiences

In a society that is losing its sense of community, sharing of classic cultural entertainment, like watching an old, cherished movie together is an outlet towards a positive shared experience.

The tried and tested pop culture options have emotional and psychological upsides for most of us, making them a comforting, nostalgic choice.

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Nontraditional social strategies

Nontraditional social strategies
The so-called 'nontraditional social strategies' can fulfill social needs whenever we are not able to fulfill these needs by using traditional social strategies.&n...

Traditional vs. non-traditional social strategies

While research has shown that nontraditional social strategies, such as reading a book or watching movies, can substitute for spending time with your loved ones, there is evidence that the traditional social strategies still hold actually the key to longer-lasting happiness. 

However, whenever it is not possible to combine the two or practice traditional social techniques. then you might want to consider the safest option: the nontraditional social strategies.

Nostalgia for social interactions

Whenever we are not able to meet our friends or family for a long period of time, we tend to feel nostalgic for those moments of togetherness that have just become even more precious. 

By watching movies, listening to songs, or just reflecting on our relationships, we actually help repair and rediscover who is really important to us and we will, therefore, be even more grateful when given the chance to meet up again with those very persons.

K-Pop

It’s hard not to like K-Pop(Pop music from South Korea), with its infectious tunes, doll-like stars, high-production values and great dance moves. In the last few decades, South Korean culture has ...

Origins

The Original K-Pop Stars, The Kim Sisters, were a hit in the U.S. back in 1959.

In the mid-90s, Seo Taiji & Boys became the first ‘modern K-Pop’ stars. K-Dramas or Korean soaps also started gaining traction in Asia and beyond. The South Korean government started exporting popular media culture as an economic initiative, making it a major source of foreign revenue.

EXO BTS and Psy

  • K-pop has slowly taken over the globe with slick production, military-level discipline and years of training for the promoted pop stars. Boy bands like EXO, which debuted in 2011, were dizzyingly successful due to state-level backing and control.

  • Psy’s record ‘Gangnam Style’ became an international craze, garnering 3.5 billion Youtube views and praise from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

  • Boy-band BTS became best-selling artists worldwide, earning USD 4.65 billion in 2019 for their country.

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John Green, Looking for Alaska

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.”

John Green, Looking for Alaska

We use our memories to imagine the future

We predict what the future will look like by using our memories. This is how actions we do repeatedly become routine. For example, you have an ideas of what your day will look like at work tomorrow based on what your day was like today, and all the other days you’ve spent working.

But memory also helps people predict what it will be like to do things they haven’t done before.

Past and future for amnesia patients

An evidence that memory and imagining the future might go hand in hand comes from research related to amnesia patients. Studies show that when they lose their pasts, it seems they lose their futures as well.

Functional MRI scans made possible for researchers to discover that many of the same brain structures are involved in both remembering and forecasting.

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