Faux Nostalgia

“Lay down the law, don’t let em’ cross the line. Under the hood, got the bad and the good, everybodies doing time.” — Mike Post

The bonus prize today comes for whoever can correctly identify Mike Post and the song he is performing here. We will have to go with the honor system because time is getting shorter these days. These lyrics came from the theme song for the sitcom “Hardcastle and McCormick”. Post made a career of writing sitcom jingles and this is probably one he would rather forget.

The show ran for two seasons during the mid 1980s and it is one I remember watching. In the old days, that would put the show on the scrap heap of history. A show has to be on the air for several years before episodes will officially go into syndication. So, this show joined “Buck Rogers” and “Battlestar Gallatica” (the original one) in the relative dust bin of television history.

Through the miracle of YouTube and other streaming services, these shows have been brought back to life. I have not found full episodes of this particular show yet, but we found the theme song and opening credits. That alone was good enough for a trip down amnesia lane.

At this point, you are probably wondering what this has to do with anything. That’s a fair question. I suppose the point is that nostalgia is a powerful feeling. In this sense, we are just talking about old shows. We remembered them being good because we were younger and because there wasn’t anything better to offer.

As long as those shows exist only in our memories they continue to be as good as we want to remember them. The moment we watch those old episodes (as you can with Buck Rogers and Battlestar Gallatica) we suddenly realize how stupid they were. It isn’t even so much that they were stupid, but that they seem so stupid now. Our sensibilities have changed and so our tastes in entertainment have changed.

I’m sure the perceptive ones among you realize where this is going. One of the allures of conservative politics is the whole idea of nostalgia. The concept of MAGA depends on the notion that America really was great and isn’t anymore because of what those damn liberals have done. It counts on you remembering the past like it was a Hardcastle and McCormick episode. Man those days were cool.

The problem is that they are tapping into a feeling and not any sort of reality. Reality (much like those old shows) was never quite as good as we remember. Oddly enough, it was also far different than what we remember. So, we wax on about how good the Reagan years were when everyone was free and the government didn’t mandate you do anything.

Unfortunately, we can’t YouTube the distant past, so we can only fact check actual rules and regulations. We can’t re-watch a memory. We can’t experience what life was like again to test our memories. The powers that be have managed these conditions well. They’ve used the old west in addition to our childhoods to create a world that never really existed, but we know must be true. So, many of us rail against the present in a not so quiet bout of desperation. It makes so little sense until you consider they are working from false memories or faux nostalgia.

So, they rail against vaccine mandates and quarantine rules that have actually been used in the past. We just don’t remember them. We don’t want to remember them. If we don’t remember them then they must have never happened. If they never happened then all of these mandates now are an obtrusion that’s new. We somehow tack that onto the stuff that actually is new because we live in an ever evolving society.

The same forces that are bringing you Buck Rogers and Hardcastle and McCormick are bringing you this debate over mandates. Life was simpler then. Our shows were simpler then. Everyone knew their place and everyone was a lot happier. If we try hard enough we can train ourselves to really believe that. We can convince ourselves that those were good shows that never should have been cancelled. We can convince ourselves of a lot of things. When forced to face the reality we understand how truly foolish that is. Some of us just don’t want to face reality.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for thefantatasyfix.com. You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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