How would you cast your past?

Came across this quote from one of my favorite authors in this book recently:

” … each new generation approaches the past like a box of Christmas decorations brought down from the attic: the curation of what survives operates by chains of events that rival the arbitrary selection and deletion processes used to assemble team members on TV reality shows” (Coupland, 2010, p. 35)

Not sure exactly why this stuck out. Possibly because of the implication that thought that “the past” is a subjective idea that may or may not be very “real.”

It’s that way when listening to terrestrial oldies stations. They tend to play the same 10 songs over and over and those 10 songs come to represent a whole time period. Those 10 songs get romanticized. Then along comes, say, the XM/Sirius version of the decade and, suddenly, that decade wasn’t as good as you remember.

At least that’s how I feel about 80s music.

Or, the quote stood out because of this idea of the past as reality show archetype. How you cast the past says more about you than the actual time period.

For example:

  • If you view the past as The Bachelor (or Bachelorette), you think people actually liked you.
  • If you view the past as Celebrity Apprentice, you think all your teachers were pompous and no one had good ideas.
  • If you view the past as Survivor or The Amazing Race, you probably had fun in the woods growing up.
  • If you view the past as Cops, you’re paranoid
  • If you view the past as America’s Funniest Home Videos, you have a crotch fetish.
  • If you view the past as The Real World, well, you’re old because there’s a whole generation of people who have no idea what you’re talking about.

So … how do you cast your past?

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2 thoughts on “How would you cast your past?

  1. I view my life as a Sitcom, rather than Reality TV. That being said, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. I’m told by my former classmates, that they most admired me for being a social chameleon. That is, the ability to fluidly go from one social group (ie from jocks, or richies) to another seamlessly (to brains or outcasts). Parker Lewis was a Ferris Bueller knock off. I successfully pulled a “day off” complete with calling in for a, not so reluctant to participate, friend. Parker Lewis had a pesky little sister, as did I. Parker also had cheesy site gags, just like me. Parker Lewis is also dated, did I mention my cheesy site gags?

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