As Laurier students were treated this past week to a performance from childhood musician Fred Penner, the idea of embracing nostalgia was pre-eminent across the minds of the 20-somethings working for The Cord.
Penner represents a simpler time in our lives, a time when the most important points of contention we faced were how much we did, in fact, love sandwiches. Being able to embrace an icon from the past as an “adult” is something essential to really sustaining our sanity as a pop culture generation.
Even more so than our parents, we were raised as television junkies who looked to the likes of Penner, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Dressup to teach us the ways of the world and use our imagination. It’s figures like these who have helped to shape the people we are and will eventually become.
Hollywood seems to recognize this too, as more and more releases of movies and TV shows are reflections and re-interpretations of our own pasts, and the pasts of generations before us. How else do you explain movies like The Muppets re-emerging as predominant family entertainment, or homages like Drive and The Artist doing as critically well as they did.
It’s too easy to claim how this new generation of young people will never understand or appreciate their childhood the same way we have. But just as the generation before us, it remains our right to do just that.
Youth today do not have a Fred Penner to look forward to re-discovering later in life. Who exactly do they have as an equivalent that will be just as fun to see with a beer in hand, singing about how that damn cat came back, the very next day? Something tells me Yo-Gabba-Gabba will not be headlining Chainsaw for the graduating class of 2028.
So embrace nostalgia when you have the chance to. A childhood is a terrible thing to forget.
–The Cord Editorial Board