In the 90s, we used to talk a lot about the primacy of the retro, whether or not constantly referring back to the past meant that our innovative spirit was spent.
The passion for an idealised past is very reassuring, culturally; the worst you can throw at it is blandness. Creativity isn’t always successful – if you put a joke that doesn’t work against a piece of nostalgia that does, there is no doubting which is the most affecting. Emotional spaces carved out in childhood exist for ever, and there will always be comfort in their inhabitation.
The paradox of nostalgia is that it has a terrible memory – or rather, like senility, it has a terrible short-term memory and very vivid, utterly inaccurate, recall for the long-ago. Nostalgia is blaming everything on immigrants and multiculturalism, since purity and the past are similar destinations, similarly meaningless, similarly unreachable.