I woke up this morning with a song from the 2001 film Josie and the Pussycats in my head, and because of that felt mildly wistful for the era in which it came out, the sort of Millennial Moment just before 9/11, with its boy bands and first Internet Bubble and all the sorts of capitalism (CDs! Malls! Print magazine and newspapers!) that were about to be buried under the next couple of decades of wrenching change. I don’t want to say it as a more innocent time, because of course it wasn’t, but two decades have passed, which means that enough time has gone out that the mental sifting has occurred and and the bright and fluffy bits seem brighter and fluffier in retrospect. It’s nostalgia I’m feeling, basically, for the turn of the century.
But it’s a little weird to be thinking of it as nostalgia, because as a card-carrying member of Generation X, my Nostalgia Era is already pretty well defined, basically early 80s to early 90s, starting with New Wave and ending with Grunge. And indeed that’s the era that gives me the full-on nostalgia feels; the nostalgia I have for the turn of the century, although real enough, is significantly less intense, more of an “oh, yeah, I enjoyed the nice parts of that” feeling than the whole “Proust eats a madeleine” wave of remembrance that I sometimes get for the 80s and early 90s.
I think the reason why is pretty obvious; I was younger in the 80s, experiencing everything for the first time, so on and so forth, while at the turn of the century I was already an adult, with some amount of life experience under my proverbial belt. This is not a complicated puzzle. Still, I find myself interested in the idea that enough time has passed in my life that I can feel nostalgia for two entirely separate eras in history, and qualitatively less nostalgia for one than the other.
I don’t imagine I am the first to feel this, nor the first to note it. So for those of you with enough water under your bridge, two questions: One, do you feel similar real-but-less nostalgia for previous eras that are not “your” eras; and Two, if so, does this phenomenon have an actual name? Second Nostalgia? Nostalgia Lite? Nostalgia Vu? I’m curious and want to know.
Also, if you’ve never seen Josie and the Pussycats, this is my recommendation of it, again, as I’ve recommended it here before, calling it “a trashy pop awesome instamatic picture of the Y2K-era music business,” which is a description I stand by. It’s also funnier and smarter than you might expect. Plus it began my now two-decade-long crush on Rosario Dawson! And the songs are great pop, too. Plus, you know. Nostalgia. Check it out.