Time Essay: The Best of Times-1821? 1961? Today?

Nostalgia flowers naturally in worried times, which makes other eras seem better. But the contemporary fascination with nostalgia also reflects a different kind of judgment on our age. There is a discontent with the present, a foreboding of a plastic future, a looking back with longing to times that were—what? Simpler, happier, better? But were those times really better? The corny old movies, the Art Deco shapes, are now seen not critically but fondly, as shards and artifacts of times that were more sharply defined than ours (the Roaring Twenties, the Gay Nineties)....

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