This passage from the 1992 column on nostalgia for Victorianism points to something that goes beyond [post=11904726]general December merchandising stupidity[/post]:
Nostalgia is a form of amusement unto itself, like recreational outrage. It isn’t a disconnection from the land that causes people to bemoan modern ways, and idealize the past–it’s disconnection from ourselves.
It’s become a fairly pervasive cultural neurosis. Look how easily we can turn “the spirit of the holidays” on and off, or the use terms like classic diner as if they really meant anything–even the term classic alone.
No wonder everyone thinks they have to watch It’s a Wonderful Life right now–instead of just having a wonderful life itself.