Meandering Monday about the Disappearance of Communal Nostalgia

Jesus Christ Superstar Live was on this Easter. I was excited when I heard about it – not because of the musical artists involved in the project (I haven’t paid attention to the modern scene for a while, so most of the names meant nothing to me), but because of the original 1970 rock opera album (this was before the first stage production or the movie.) When it came out it was a hot topic of controversy, and whether you liked it or not, it felt like everyone was listening to and talking about it. I had listened to the 4-sided album so many times that to this day I can still hear it in my head (I used to be able to perform the entire album vocally – including the instrumentals – I may still be able to today, so you may want to stand back just in case it suddenly breaks out…)

To people who weren’t around back then, the music is probably meaningless. When they heard that the show was going to be on, they might have been interested because of the artists (if there were any they cared about.) Otherwise, they probably didn’t bother watching (unless they were stuck with some old fogies like me from the 70’s, which wouldn’t be too unusual since Easter is usually a family holiday.)

I haven’t watched the entire Live production yet (I DVR’d the show, and have only seen the first 20 minutes or so), but I had a hard time not hearing the original echo in my mind, and so I found myself judging it against what I’d known for ALMOST FIFTY YEARS. The people hearing the rock opera for the first time were probably able to judge it just on the merits of of the production, with no other frame of reference.

We are losing that common frame of reference. WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE, if you wanted to see an episode of a TV show, you darn well better watch it WHEN it airs, because that was going to be your only chance (unless the show was really good, then you might see it in syndication, at which time you would STILL have to watch it at the exact time that it was rebroadcast.) No streaming. No VHS. No DVR. No DVD.

Most people – especially the young ones don’t watch TV shows at the same time. The older fogies use their DVRs, the younger ones stream. With no one watching the same things at the same time, it’s rare for people to spend time discussing something like the last episode of Friends or MASH around the watercooler (besides, you’d most likely be guilty of spouting spoilers, since you couldn’t assume someone wasn’t waiting to see it sometime later.)

We’re not even listening to the same music at the same time as anyone else anymore (we have our own playlists instead of what’s on “the radio”.) What do we have in common anymore, if everyone is off doing their own thing? Years from now, what will there be to build meaningful, communal nostalgia around?

Just saying…


My next release (due on May 4th) will be another collection of collections – The Last Three Things I Could Get Out of My Mind, which (unsurprisingly) will contain my last three Out of My Mind collections. I’ll want to have some preorder runway on it, so I’d best get to formatting…


CellfishnessCover2William Mangieri’s writing – including his most previous publication “Cellfishness” – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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