Back to the Future

George Orwell is alive… and blogging. The Orwell Diaries were created in an attempt to garner interest in Orwell in today’s fast and furious online hub. And it’s apparently working quite well. His descriptions of the everyday mundane certainly aren’t 1984, but they sure show he has an eye for capturing life and the pen (or keyboard) of a well-versed writer.

George Orwell

George Orwell

In many ways, the presence of the Orwell blog is something of a contradiction in terms for me when I immediately gravitate towards describing it as nostalgic. Because it is almost certainly not. For the most part, all of the material published on the blog has previously not been seen by most of Orwell’s readers. Nor does it really yearn for a bygone era. Instead, the passages offer a new way of not only observing history, but of observing the current methods of communication. It’s applying parts of our past while focusing on the present.

While Orwell’s recent foray on the net offers a new scent of freshness to an old hat, the sweeping grip of nostalgia is a hard one to escape in music. The rock acts of the 60s seem to cast massive shadows over today’s music… but only because the generation that was reared on that music controls the sun beams that create said shadows. Thanks to the massive population of the baby boomers it’s nearly impossible to escape the myth of the 60s. Even Rolling Stone, what was once created in the guise of a progressive music magazine, has become nothing more than a nostalgia-soaked rag, to busy praying at the feet of some dead band (often quite literally – when a portion of an original lineup is deceased) to actually pay attention to the music of today. For most people my age, they’re brought up under the opinion that the best times were encapsulated in a 10 year period before we were even a future concern in our parents’ minds.

Rolling Stone cover in 2007

Rolling Stone cover in 2007

But, at the same time, it’s so hard to criticize people for loving the music that they do. This very blog has more entries discussing Fugazi than most currently-operating emo acts. There is a fine line between nostalgia and a love for something that was created in the past. As much as I love Fugazi or any first or second wave emo acts, I don’t yearn for a time which has passed. Many of these groups were created and motivated by the idea to do something new and challenging. And in that, their ideas still seem fresh and unrelenting to this very day. And so do many of the acts that have been influenced by them. But the best ones don’t merely reproduce something old and repackage it as a new idea. The boomers can have their Wolfmothers, Vines, and whoever else reminds them of some newer version of Led Zeppelin (yes, a band from the 70s, but still a boomer-favorite) or the Rolling Stones. It’s very much a part of the whole rock-as-g-d shtick that is so pathetically rehashed it’s more depressing than enraging. Some folks wonder why the music of today is so bad. Well, it’s probably because they’re too deeply involved in their past to notice what’s actually occurring around them. If Orwell was alive, he’d probably notice those little details in life as well. Now that’d be a great blog entry…


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