I knew a guy at my previous job who loved technology. ("Love" actually may be too weak a word to properly explain.) One time when a few of us were going to lunch, he was explaining how much better certain stereos and sound systems made old recordings.
Someone else in the car remarked that he'd always heard it was best to listen to a song in its original format -- vinyl, for instance.
This guy glanced up in his rear view mirror and said, "A scratchy record may be the way kids in 60s heard the Beatles, but an iPod and digital sound system is how people standing in the recording studio heard them."
I don't know what the deal is about people obsessed with the past. Maybe it's the uncertainty of our times -- as the guy on Dlisted would say, IN THIS ECONOMY -- and no more needs to be said.
Maybe it's Mad Men, though I'm inclined to think anyone who has really watched Mad Men gets that it's not nostalgia for a bygone era that fans love, but getting to see our parents and grandparents behaving badly (in fact, much worse than we ever have) back when they were our ages. (Also Jon Hamm looking pretty in a suit.) I don't know about you all, but I'm a big fan all those sexual harassment lawsuit precedents that remind folks it's not okay to wrestle a girl to the floor in her office and lift up her skirt to find out what color her underoos are. I may long for a couple of Betty Draper's dresses, but certainly not her life.
But some things have me baffled.
My very first camera was literally a "vintage" camera. ("Vintage" as defined by hipsters.) My dad used it when he was in college, and for the record, my dad celebrated his 40th high school reunion my senior year. You had to search high and low to find the right film because no one made it and photos printed out on 5x5 paper even though the viewfinder was a rectangle. As you can imagine, most of my pictures were crap. The idea that I would trade my new digital camera -- or more realistically, the camera on my phone -- for that piece, just because of nostalgia, is pretty ridiculous. I may want to keep that camera on a shelf for old times' sake, but if a memory were worth capturing, I think I'd use the equipment capable of getting the job done.
The fact is, technology does make our lives better, and not just in computery-ways. (Though I'd also like to meet the person who prefers liquid paper to a delete key.) Better running shoes. Better windshield wipers. Better phones. Better bras. Better pens. Better lead-free-everything. Washing machines. Vacuums. Kitchenaids. Duct tape. Screwdrivers with five different heads instead of five different screwdrivers. Better medicine. Better mattresses. Better light bulbs. Need I go on?
Maybe someone else can explain this fascination with the decades of "socks that don't stay up/maxi pads the size of bricks/subpar dentistry," because I am just going in circles here.