Nostalgia: An Oral History 

Since its invention in 1927, television and other media has played a major role in almost all of our lives. From watching a show with our whole family to eagerly eating breakfast and watching Saturday morning cartoons, we have all come in contact with TV at some point in our young lives. It is this connection, between our lives and the television that gives nostalgia that role. Everyone has a different childhood, yet television can act as an almost uniting force; linking us all through our good memories. 

 

In addition to viewing television as an influence to nostalgia, we can also look at how the past, and by extension, television plays a role in the development of who were or at least as a demonstration of our interests. Two math teachers and two art teachers were interviewed and we can see some similarities and differences in their interests and experiences.

 

Put together, the common thread between all interviewees is that they are all educators, not only experts in a field but carry a need to pass on their knowledge.

What is Nostalgia?

The origins of Nostalgia are rooted in war and immigration. People who had to spend an extended period of time in a new and unfamiliar place would come down with an affliction, a physical illness.

 

It was named Nostalgia from the Greek words, Nostos: return and Algos: suffering.

 

Over time, the idea of what nostalgia is and its role changed from something was a negative experience to something pleasant and desired. Not an illness, but a connection to the good times of the past. A healthy expression of your past surroundings.

Our View of Media

In today’s society, we have a very negative view on television and so-called “new media.”

 

Television is often thought of as an amnesiac, a forgettable experience. Something to do while you waste your life away, in insignificant nonsense.

 

This view of television ignores the truly influential and powerful effect that television has in our lives. 

 

 

Television and new media is not something that numbs us and makes us forget our lives. It is something that can have powerful ties to the past. Something, that when intertwined with our lives, can fill us that positive experience of nostalgia.

“The turn toward memory and the past comes with a great paradox. Ever more frequently, critics accuse this very contemporary memory culture of amnesia….They chide the inability [to remember]. The amnesia reproach is invariably couched in a critique of the media, while it is precisely these media….that make ever more memory available to us day by day”

(Huyssen, 2003)