I’ve watched this clip of the 1993 Oscars repeatedly, and I don’t know why. Is it nostalgia? Sure, it’s that – certainly playing Forever Young over 30 year-old-video is going to contribute to nostalgia. Is it sadness at the people who are no longer with us? Yes, there is some of that.
But I think it’s really sadness at the passage of time. I know we’re supposed to understand it’s part of life and all that, but it’s really strange how it still just…happens to us. And these people, who were effectively considered immortals in 1993, are not exempt.
One of the most interesting things about our ability to access quality video is that it makes time much more obvious to us, the shortness of our lives much more obvious, and the overall patterns of humanity more clear. All these actors were young and ambitious, most starting out broke – a story that’s been told a thousand times before, except now we compare these young people in 1993 to young people today. Today’s young are always competing with past versions. And we see that it’s more of the same. We all follow the same impulses, generation after generation. But we capture it in video.
If we had video of Julius Caesar or George Washington, would they have seemed much different than today’s politicians? Even the best ones? We’re witnessing the flattening of time and of myth.