What are the political purposes of nostalgia? Why does the GOP idealize the American past? And what can this backward-looking perspective give or take away from our collective future? On Now & Then, Heather and Joanne discuss the role of nostalgia in American political history, from Puritan Jeremiads, to the 1913 Gettysburg and Fort Wagner reunions, to the emergence in the 1970s of a cultural obsession with the 1950s.
What happened to LFAA? Suddenly it has a subtitle "props children" and commentors are not identified? Has LFAA been hacked?
From the "Words Are Important" file: I appreciate the good-humored attempt to allow a larger understanding of nostalgia as potentially nuanced and not flat. But I doubt we have license for it. Nostalgia, by definition, is narrow; its effectiveness necessitates an idealized perspective of the past, be it melancholic or rosey. It's because of it's potency for impairing both personal decisions and mass mythology that I think we ought not mess much with the word. "Don't drink and drive" is good counsel. So is "You can't move into a future shrouded in nostalgia". Ok for Hollywood and popcorn but not for rebuilding a nation. One more thought, re: "the political purposes of nostalgia". Since nostalgia is a concept, it has no purpose other than that to which a person or people might bend it, either unwittingly or intentionally. The question might better be "How do we attempt to justify our behavior and habits while under the influence of nostalgia?" Or "How does nostalgia impair me when I go to the voting booth? "
Maybe the big money went to the Gettysburg area to further the goals of local shopkeepers and politicians. Or, maybe the south was loathe to buy goods produced in the north and this was a way to salve the wounds caused by our Gen. Sherman. And, the speakers seem to say that the southern soldiers were not entitled to take pride in what they did. Do the speakers extend this attitude to the soldiers who died in Vietnam? I dunno.
Mark Clague, Musicology professor at UMich, studies the Star Spangled Banner, and writes about/presents on it all the way from "Anacreon In Heaven" to Jimi Hendrix's version…and probably beyond. So if any of you who read this want to know more about the SSB, there's a place to start.
The older voters are more reliable and nostalgic