Opinion | Society overindulges in comforts of the past

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Photo Courtesy of IMDB

Actor Daniel Craig stars in “Spectre.” Columnist Dylan argues against the Hollywood trend of rebooting old series rather than making fresh content.

By Dylan Gray, Assistant Opinions Editor

After a month of being in 2021, there are many highly anticipated films set to be released within the year. Of course, as is the trend in the last few years, these films are dominated by sequels, remakes and reboots rather than original IPs. 

This point has been talked to death by now of course, but often with flawed logic. People are quick to put the cart before the horse and accuse Hollywood of being “out of ideas” or devoid of originality. But this is far from the truth. There is never a shortage of people in the U.S. and abroad with ideas for original screenplays and other works.

As with many things, money is the driving factor. We as a society would rather consume something we already expect to have a baseline of quality than venture into the unknown. It’s the same reason many people will eat at a chain restaurant in a new city rather than a similarly priced local eatery. It’s low risk and low reward. 

Some of the biggest upcoming films this year include roughly six superhero movies, a Fast and the Furious Sequel, another James Bond movie, a Mission Impossible sequel, a Ghostbusters reboot/sequel (again), a Top Gun sequel (somehow) and a Saw Spinoff (also again). 

This lack of desire to progress with original ideas and embrace new entertainment is more a reflection of a culture in decline than a lack of originality. The producers of the content have not run out of ideas, we as a society have run out of the capacity to enjoy it. 

When a state or culture finds itself in a considerably worse place than it was in previously, it has become decadent. Key signs of decadence include a lack of clear direction as a society, an increasingly hollow culture and social alienation, especially among young people who never lived in a time before extreme decadence had set in. 

In many ways, we have ceased to imagine a path forward and would instead prefer to look back. When a group no longer imagines a future worth hoping for, a nostalgic and distant past is much more appealing. 

In other periods of American history, even somewhat recent ones, there was a much greater emphasis on innovation and change. A society on the decline retreats within itself. The fear of a bleak future makes everything we already recognize seem much more comfortable. A small, dying fire in a vast expanse of cold unknown. 

But it isn’t a beacon of hope. In fact in many ways it is the opposite. To reject the future in favor of the past is a delusion. The past is gone, and every time we try to siphon it for an increasingly fleeting hit of dopamine we only diminish our enjoyment of these things. 

We as a society should ask more of ourselves. The decadent self-indulgence that derives from scraping the bones of previous eras for entertainment creates a cultural ouroboros that ultimately devours itself. We have entertained and consumed ourselves to death with no idea of a way out. 

We have to branch out. Venture into the unknown and take a risk on something different. Or perhaps even make something of our own. The future is ours to seize, but we can only do so if we shuffle off the shackles of the past. 

 

Dylan is a senior in Media.

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