I’m a child of the 70s, teen in the 80s. But there is something inside me that appreciates films and music of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. I’m a particular fan of old blues, swing, doo wop, and barber shop style harmony in the music. In the films, I have a deep appreciation for noir, gumshoes, and western.
I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it the same reason I’m overjoyed that we now have the technology to do full justice to comic book heroes I read almost religiously as a kid, in our cinematic productions.
Some call such stories simplistic. They say that endulging in fantasy damages your ability to accept reality. Others go to the opposite extreme and suggest that we need escapism of this kind, because reality sucks.
But, for me, there is a comfort in knowing that amid a reality wherein we are locked in cages of our own making, labeled with self chosen titles; we are capable of creating stories that promote ideas outside our chosen box. There is a particular fulfillment in knowing that the hero is standing up to a world full of zombies out of sheer will to survive. Or that the common human being, thrust into power by circumstances beyond his or her control, has learned to control that power and use it for heroic ends. r the old cowboy, who just wants to retire on his ranch in peace, will stand up against the gang of cutthroat kilkers terrorizing the town. Or the wonan who stands up against corporate corruption, demanding fairness and safe work environment.
There is a joy in the hero story. Because we have clearly defined “good guys” and “bad guys. ”
It is the same with the old music, books, etc. It is comforting to believe that in a chaotic world, there are still ideas that apply, like love, faith, hope, charity, joy, and courage.
Reality is often such that we forget these notions. That is why the world needs people who are willing to cling to and preserve those notions.
We need heroes. Not necessarily tights or armor clad perfect physical specimens, with cosmic powers; but good, honest, upstanding, genuine “good guys. ” Our media is full of anger, hate, depressing images, and separatism. And that’s just the daily news. We live in a world where the negative can be in front of our faces just by turning on our phones. So, when we escape into our books, music, and movies, we are really making the best of the world around us. Some call us geeks, telling us we are wasting our time.
But neurologists are finding evidence that positive and negative input actually affect the output of the brain. So, why not give ourselves positive, pleasurable input? Why would you discourage a child from playing superheroes in the backyard? Why would you not pour through old John Wayne movies for the moralistic speeches and one liners? Why would you not sing along to an old Frankie and the Four Seasons song?
Wow.. Dated stuff right? But it can apply to any generation. Silly, dated, old, jingoistic, idealistic, fun, uplifting things should be preserved. They should be viewed with esteem. Because the more we let go of those things, the darker our world becomes. The more we put our old heroes out to pasture, the less we are inspired by their heroics. The more we do away with the values, principles, and quaint little notions from our past, the more we begin to believe that “good guys” are just a myth.
I, for one, will always sing to a doo wop song, cheer for Captain America and Superman, quote John Wayne, and believe in the fundamental and innate goodness of people.
I will strive to be one of the “good guys. “