The strangest moment for longing is now

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Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of September 11th. If this wasn’t obvious from just a glance at your calendar, then it must be from a quick scroll through your TV options. National Geographic / Hulu airs 9/11: One day in America; MSNBC / Peacock a Memory box: Echoes of September 11; HBO has somewhat controversial of Spike Lee New York Epicenters. News and social media feeds also quickly fill with memories and thoughts. As befits such a dark anniversary, there is a lot going on in the culture to commemorate this day. There’s also a lot going on right now that might make it feel like we’re back in those days.

As Think Tanks like to remind you, that all changed after 9/11. Modified airport protocols, increased surveillance everywhere, the entire political landscape of America has apparently changed overnight. Culture has changed too. Films with terrorist intrigues would have has been sidelined; rising travel costs have delayed films like Mad Max: Fury Road, which will not arrive until 14 years later; Lilo and Stitch, of all things, had to be strongly altered. A trailer for Sam Raimi’s Spider Man has been modified to delete a scene with the twin towers. The standing comics had to understand how to tell jokes without disturbing the crowds. Rap-rock rage-y as Limp Bizkit started to fall apart (though maybe it was just musical Darwinism). Some people rightly claim that a film like Fight Club, which ends in a city in pieces, would never have seen the interior of a theater in a post-9/11 world. The examples are endless, but the TL; DR is that in America there was a way of life before September 2001 and one after – and these differences permeate the culture of and around that time.

Twenty years later, we are living in a time of deep nostalgia. Part of this was brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and a desire to live life before masks and lockdowns and a constant fear of terminal illness, even if it is only experienced through a screen. But more specifically, the current nostalgia seems to live squarely in the 1990s – the (seemingly) happy days just before the terrorist attacks. FX is currently broadcasting its latest American crime story episode, about President Clinton’s impeachment and the changing sexual politics and media landscape that turned it into a talk-head fiasco. There’s a new Matrix movie, including the trailer dropped out this week, which makes everyone yearn for 1999, even though HBO’s recent Woodstock ’99 documentary is there to remind them that it wasn’t exactly the best year on record. And if that wasn’t enough, Steve Burns, the original host of Blue indices, randomly appeared on Twitter this week to apologize for disappearing from our lives.

In a way, it’s just the natural flow of things. Ten years ago, millennials and Generation X youth were experiencing the same set of emotions about reliving the ’80s. But as the cycle of nostalgia draws closer to 9/11, the ability to look ahead. back with nostalgia diminishes, and the things that will make us most nostalgic will be the ones that bridged the worlds before and after 9/11, like The Sopranos. (The prequel to this series, The Many Saints of Newark, hits theaters October 1.)

Frankly, that’s probably how it should be. Nostalgia is beautiful and all, but it’s often too sentimental. It is not uncommon to want to rediscover the joys of one’s youth, but this notion implies that everyone’s youth was in some way joyful. Not everyone was; nostalgia is something offered to the privileged. Of all his punches, one of the EuphoriaThe most illuminating reasons, although exaggerated, were that this was a spectacle on people born after September 11. As this generation reaches adulthood, the line is often that they will not know innocence time before the attacks, but really in the aftermath of September 11, Americans realized that innocence may never have been there at all.

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