Archive for the ‘ Stop & Smell the Nostalgia ’ Category

If I Could Save Time in a Capsule

The “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” Series: Part III

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’re probably aware that I’m currently obsessed with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Somehow, within the last month, I’ve reverted back to my 6-year-old ways and now I cannot get enough of those teenagers with attitude. But, last week, just before reaching the episodes where Tommy regains his powers—one of the most important events of 1994, as you might recall—I came across something that made me hit rewind multiple times.

Source: RangerWiki

During Episode 47, “Reign of the Jellyfish,” the Power Rangers are tasked with burying their class’ time capsule in the park. Rita Repulsa wreaks havoc before they can complete their mission, but the ensuing battle wasn’t what caught my attention. Instead, it was the conversation the five Rangers had at the end of the episode that truly hit home.

Jason: You know, I hope the people who open this time capsule in the future live in a peaceful and friendly world…

Kimberly: …with no hatred…

Billy: …no prejudice…

Trini: …no crime…

Zack: …and no wars.

Then, the following day, chaos broke loose in Charlottesville, VA, amplifying the message behind this episode even louder than before. While the Rangers dreamt of peace and harmony, reality unveiled a present unlike any future they could’ve ever imagined. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists flooded the streets, drowning our nation in the very hatred and prejudice the Rangers denounced nearly 24 years ago.

Unfortunately, the dissonance hasn’t relented. Racists have found validation in Donald Trump’s reluctance to condemn their actions, and protesters find their efforts infinitely more difficult now that the alt-right feels empowered. We’re on the brink of repeating history because those in charge clearly haven’t learned from the mistakes of decades past, and many feel disheartened by the overwhelming anger that permeates almost every facet of our daily lives.

But, when all hope seems lost, it’s the final exchange in this all too relevant episode that inspires optimism.

Kimberly: Think it’ll ever happen?

Jason: If we all do our part, and try to get along with each other, yeah, I do. We’ve just gotta hope for the best.

While this dream world might seem particularly distant to us right now, we have the power to change the future. It’s our love, not their hate, which will win out in the end, but we must not lose sight of this goal. Hatred can only win when there’s a vacuum—when all those fighting for what’s good and right have given up. If we insist upon holding these bigots accountable, including Trump, they will inevitably retreat.

Source: CNN

More than hoping for the best, we must also do our best. We must spread kindness and love wherever we go. If you find yourself in a position of privilege, then you must use your platform to speak for those who have no voice. As Jason said, we must do our part and try to get along with one another. There may be countless people who wish to return to a time defined by hate and cruelty, but we don’t have to look far to see that those who seek understanding and acceptance spread far and wide.

Grand gestures aside, anyone and everyone can make a difference no matter their situation. Simply holding the door for someone can go a long way in a world on edge. Smile at people who appear upset. Start conversations with people who aren’t exactly like you. Support those who feel invisible and unloved in today’s tumultuous world. Small acts add up quickly over time, especially when we all commit to becoming the best we can be. We might not be able to cut these enemies down to size with the wave of the Power Sword, but through kindness and community, we will ultimately eradicate evil every time it rears its ugly head.

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Read Part I and Part II of the “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” series!

MTV Presses the Rewind Button, Brings ‘TRL’ Out of Retirement—but Why?

The “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” Series: Part II

Source: ABC News

For television executives, future success seems to lie in the past. From sequel series, such as “Raven’s Home”, to reunion reboots, such as “Will & Grace”, many TV networks are turning to old favorites to attract new audiences. Yet, while nostalgia certainly seems to sell these days, MTV’s upcoming “Total Request Live” revival fails to take the passage of time into account.

When “TRL” began its initial run in 1998, life was much different than we’re used to now. YouTube was still about seven years away from its debut, internet connections were primarily of the dial-up variety, and cell phones were bulky, analog devices that belonged to businessmen and… well, Zack Morris. Texting wasn’t possible, but beepers were still popular, and killing time on the “World Wide Web” meant monopolizing your family’s landline. Without music television, video never would’ve killed the radio star.

By the time “TRL” called it quits in 2008, the world had transformed dramatically. Smartphones existed, even if they weren’t yet widespread, social media was on the rise, though it didn’t retain the same level of influence it does today, and nearly every video you could imagine was accessible on-demand thanks to Wi-Fi networks.

Now, nearly 10 years later, MTV’s already fighting an uphill battle before “TRL” even premieres.

First and foremost, the team must tackle the elephant in the studio: social media. For those of us who grew up during Carson Daly’s “TRL” days—the days before DVR and live-streaming—our idea of “sharing” was talking about the latest Britney Spears video the next morning before the first middle school bell rang.

Source: Scott Gries/ImageDirect

Today’s teens and tweens, however, will likely spend more time staring down at their smartphone screen than their TV. Perhaps that’s why the network plans to split hosting duties among five VJs during this go ’round—they need to satisfy this generation’s self-induced ADHD. How they’ll integrate social media remains to be seen, of course, but it’ll likely distract the viewers from the true premise of the show.

MTV will also have to pad the show’s latest incarnation with plenty of appearances and performances by today’s top artists if the network hopes to gain and retain the interest of these fickle viewers. Anyone can watch the hottest music videos of the day via YouTube now—a luxury unavailable to its original audience—so even the countdown alone won’t draw people in, no matter how interested they might be. Plus, anyone who’s ever watched “TRL” knows that they only play videos in their entirety when they premiere and when they retire, so if they stay true to the nature of the show, they’ll need to find a way to alleviate the subsequent disappointment.

While “TRL” was our reason to rush home back in the day, it doesn’t hold much allure for modern audiences, at least not in its original form.

MTV lost its way for years as executives focused on developing reality programming that disregarded the “M” in “music television” entirely—think “Jersey Shore” in all its spray tan glory—but the current leadership hopes to return the network to its lyrical roots. If executives can channel today’s young music lovers’ fascination with social interaction and use these behaviors to enhance the “TRL” experience, they might just attract the audience they seek.

As for us oldies? We will probably take the Carson Daly route and leave well enough alone. If you need us, we’ll be off in the corner relearning the dance moves to “Bye, Bye, Bye” for old times’ sake.

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

To read Part I of the “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” series, click here.

It All Started With Warm Noodles…

The “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” Series: Part I

Smells can transport us to another time and place. We might not yet have time machines to alter our physical position, but our senses can trigger memories that elicit forgotten emotions, moving us in ways that transcend literal location. Musty buildings, for instance, will always remind me of my “haunted” college dorm, while old books take me back to the period when my mother and I read “The Amityville Horror” every night after dinner. Some smells, however, hit us unexpectedly, revealing memories we never knew we had.

For me, it all started with warm noodles.

My mother would often make elbows earlier in the day so we’d need only warm them over at lunch. On the day in question, when I removed the container from the microwave to test the temperature, the smell sent me reeling. Suddenly, I was back in my grandmother’s kitchen, doing homework after school while she cooked dinner over the hot stove. Elbows were her noodles of choice, so the faint smell of warm pasta was always in the air. It wasn’t until that moment, though, that I realized how closely intertwined those two seemingly disparate memories were.

 

Ever since, it’s as if I’ve been on an endless spiral back to my single-digit days—days when I’d listen to the radio on my Sony “My First Walkman” or ride my “Beauty & the Beast” bike in rapid circles around my grandfather’s basement. Even the quietest sound or the briefest sight will take me back to the days of stirrup pants and Dunkaroos.

But I guess I’m right in style, wouldn’t you agree? Nostalgia seems to be “in” right now, or so the impending “Will & Grace” reboot would have me believe.

Coincidentally, I’m exactly two months away from my 30th birthday, which seems like the perfect time to reminisce about my first few decades and reconnect with the moments and the memories that have made me who I am today. If you couldn’t tell by the introductory subhead of this post, let me confirm your suspicions—yes, this entry will serve as merely the first in a series of entries dedicated to “the past” and whatever that inevitably entails.

Don’t worry! I have no plans to fixate on myself explicitly. (I’m not going to make you read about my high school crush or the time I skinned my knee in kindergarten, if that’s what you’re thinking.) What’s ahead? Well, only I know, for sure. You’ll just have to keep checking back! Because I truly hope that you will take the time to “Stop & Smell the Nostalgia” along with me between now and October.

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