Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nostalgia

I listened to a radio show about nostalgia (ha! "I listened to a radio show" is nostalgia enough for some people). The research conclusion was that people like nostalgia because they are pleased to be able to remember something from the past, especially something that their peers confirm that they remember too, proving that it's a correct memory. It's the opposite of the feeling you get when you can't remember how to do something you once did every day.

If you like to get nostalgic about airline history or aircraft liveries you should look at the posters for sale on this site. They have put an impressive amount of work into building airline family trees of the various successor airlines whose fleets and pilots have combined over the years into what are Air Canada and Jazz today. The aviation industry is so dynamic that I remember the airlines a few generations back. An airplane I have flown is even depicted on one of those posters, in different livery than I flew it, and I saw it recently in a new paint scheme again. I wonder if they stripped it, or if it has the layers of paint still on like an onion.

The recent celebration of the 30th anniversary of Pacman, not only by Google but as a general theme for the day in mainstream media made me realize that the Baby Boomers' grip on popular culture has finally been broken. They were such a dominant demographic group that their experiences were touted as human experience, so forcefully that many non-boomers almost believed they were ours. Millions of us who never saw the moon landing on TV, who found out that JFK had been shot from a history textbook, and for whom sex has always carried the risk of death as well as of life are finally taking charge of the world.

As I write this, I'm aware that there are working commercial pilots with no memory of the 1980s, people who have always had to press Start to shut down a Windows computer, who have always had cellphones, and who have never seen a VCR so old it flashes 12:00. Heck some of you might not even remember VCRs. Hang in there. Pretend to like 80s movies, 80s music, absorb some knowledge of late 20th century politics and nod along to what we say. Your time will come.

This post is dedicated to everyone who ever thought that flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong sounded like a pretty good job to have.

13 comments:

ATC Happenings said...

Great post!

I guess the only thing I could add...

Not only do they not know who shot JR, but they don't know who JR is!

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

My dad bought a new color tv to watch the moon landing in 1969. I was busy wrapping angora around my boyfriends class ring while Neil stepped off the ladder.

I remember going into the basement to pray when the Cuban Missile Crisis happened, even though we were thousands of miles away from Cuba.

I had a betamax vcr because it showed a better picture but you had a heck of a time finding movies.

I worked for a company that made and developed software applications for business and we used 4 1/2 in floppy discs. That was high tec.

What is 80s? said...

re: press Start to shut down a Windows computer..

What's a windows computer? Is it smaller than an ipod? Does it sync with my iphone? Does it do itunes? I'm confused.

CeridianMN said...

I think I need to post that final line to twitter. Maybe facebook too. It's basically an awesome quote.

Thank you.

Geekzilla said...

"...flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong..."

Top Gun! HAHAHAHA!!! The 80's were awesome!

Anonymous said...

Oh God! I remember as an apprentice in the 60's, walking through the rooms where the girls were "sewing" memory by wrapping coils round ferrite rings and soldering them into frames. I think that 1K of memory filled a number of racks that were about eight feet square. I learnt to fly in 1976 and my first ever trip to Germany was in my own aircraft. I had to be precise with my nav because my destination was only 40 miles from the "no-fly" zone around the iron curtain...

townmouse said...

Unfortunately there may be too few of us generation x-ers for our cultural dominance to last long. Already I have to pretend to give a toss about Coldplay and Radiohead... However, I do find it worrying that I overlapped at university with our prime minister, chancellor and two opposition leadership candidates (I didn't move in those social circles so I never met any of them fortunately). I've been wasting my life programming and writing books while they were taking over the country ... terrifying

Ross said...

The Beloit College Mindset List is a good source of nostalgia (or, if you prefer, ZOMG I AM SO OLD...)

Anonymous said...

I am old enough to frequently have flown to Kai Tak (as pax). Always an adventure. I really miss is.

Kevin said...

Aviatrix

In answer to your question, they usually strip the airplanes. Otherwise the paint would end up weighing too much. As an example, the paint on my Piper Seneca weighs about 35lbs.

Nowadays, for airliners particularly, they'll use very thin stick-on colours and logos on top of a basic white paintjob. There's a special magic rubbery buffing wheel that you can use to remove the logo appliques without harming the underlying paint.

And - another thought for you. Who's going to fly all the airliners when the boomers retire? There're insufficient of us Gen-Xers to fly the ones we have now, and the Millenials are overwhelmingly "meh" about flying real airplanes (in my experience).

And with the military moving to UAVs, in a generation, "pilot" will be as rare as "brain surgeon" for professions.

Kevin

Sarah said...

Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good job to me, now and back in the 80's.

I went to an airshow yesterday, and saw a military team demonstration for the first time. I finally saw the Blue Angels - who still play some of the "Top Gun" music in their show. The show was fun - weather was humid, and just right for showing the Prandtl Glauert effect.

Anonymous said...

I just came back from YXE; they have about 20 Fokkers in old, faded, Canadian Airlines livery sitting just off of the runway. It brought back memories of when Canada had two international airlines...

Anonymous said...

Kevin, the sky will apparently be so full of UAVs that human-flown aircraft will be banned from classified airspace.