Golden Age Thinking
I’ve never felt as old as I had this morning. I kicked off my day watching Stuart Brown’s Brief History of [Video Game] Graphics. On my commute to work, I listened to Johns Gruber and Moltz discuss ’80s computing technology on The Talk Show.
Being born in ‘85 (we may as well call it ‘86), some of topics discussed in both of these pieces grazed the edges of my memory but weren’t so far off that I couldn’t muster up a sliver of recognition or plausibility for the topic at hand. However, many of the subjects and terms (DOS, floppy disks, “raster”, 8-bit, etc.) had me pining for life in an earlier time. A time when faster, smaller, cheaper meant a Gameboy vs. Gameboy Pocket; not a 250GB 2.5” HDD vs. 3TB of cloud storage. It may seem crazy to wish for a pre-Internet era, but then again, Golden Age Thinking is crazy.
Paul (Michael Sheen), Midnight in Paris:
Nostalgia is denial - denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking - the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in - it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.
I then got to thinking about my mother’s lack of interest in technology. She’s on a candy-bar phone, still abides by a phone book, and prints out directions from MapQuest. Maybe she was never focused on her Golden Age as much as she is comfortable living in it. Where she stands in the current tech landscape is likely a Golden Age for others.
I love technology, but at some point (and I don’t feel it’s too far off) I will I call it quits on trying to keep up? Will I settle in what will become a future someone’s Golden Age? All I know is that this morning, I was the guy in the 7 year old car (my wife drives the new one) listening to talk radio (podcasts) on a 2+ year-old smartphone (I’ve been upgrade eligible for months). And today’s music is terrible. And I’ve been to a movie theater once in the past year. And there will never be better TV than Seinfeld. And I don’t understand EDM (Electronic Dance Music / Erotic Dancing Miley / Exorbitantly Deep Minecraft). And I’m comfortable.