America’s Pop Culture Is Stagnating. Here’s Why That’s a Problem.

  • Post category:News / US News

Get Your Patriot911 Newsletter In Your Email Inbox

Americans seem to be stuck in a cultural rut.

In 1981, a mere 16% of the most popular movies in the country were sequels, spinoffs, or remakes of other films. In 2019, that number shot up to 80%.

Just this week, multiple outlets reported that Mattel’s Barney the purple dinosaur from the 1990s is getting a modern reboot.

I suppose there really is nothing new under the sun.

USA Today reported Josh Silverman, Mattel’s chief franchise officer and global head of consumer products, as saying, “Barney’s message of love and kindness has stood the test of time.”

Silverman continued, “We will tap into the nostalgia of the generations who grew up with Barney, now parents themselves, and introduce the iconic purple dinosaur to a new generation of kids and families around the world across content, products, and experiences.”

The key word there is nostalgia.

American pop culture seems to be trapped in a nostalgia loop, endlessly recycling content, mostly from the 1980s and 90s, to try and capture the special feeling adults had when they were kids.

But with each pass through the pop culture press, the content becomes more fetid, replacing feelings of warm sentimentality with revulsion and cries of “Please, just let this die!”

Is Biden the ultimate embarrassment to our country?

This poll gives you free access to your Patriot911 Newsletter in your email inbox. Email field is required. Unsubscribe at any time.

That’s not to say that nostalgia, when properly utilized, can’t be a potent ingredient in making modern content.

Netflix’s hit show “Stranger Things” is oozing with nostalgia; a charming love letter to the 80s right down to the awful hair.

But while “Stranger Things” stands on its own feet and uses 80s nostalgia as a set piece to dress up an otherwise engaging story, much of modern American pop culture seems to exist only as a specter of something from a better, happier age.

In 1981, when Harrison Ford first whipped his way on screen as the charismatic Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” audiences were thrilled to see a new action hero gallivant across the globe in search of treasure. The film became such a classic that the Library of Congress preserved a copy in the National Film Registry in 1999.

Ford’s charm as the leather-slinging archaeologist had significantly faded by 2008, when “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” hit the silver screen.

And it will definitely be completely gone once an 81-year-old Ford hobbles his way through “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” set for release next year.

Indeed, the trailer for “Dial of Destiny” seems to highlight the issue with leaning too heavily on nostalgia.

“I miss the desert. I miss the sea,” bemoans John Rhys-Davies, who plays Sallah, a friend of the titular Jones who has been around since the very first film. “And I miss waking up every morning wondering what wonderful adventure the new day will bring to us.”

Ironically, given the fact this is a trailer for a film made nearly a half century after the original, Ford as Jones responds, “Those days have come and gone.”

Those days have indeed come and gone, but the inability of Hollywood to let them go is creating an objectively worse America.

The late Andrew Breitbart famously said that politics is downstream from culture.

Culture matters and impacts those who live it. A tepid, monolithic, unoriginal culture will create tepid, monolithic, unoriginal citizens.

As society continues to consume this low-quality and recycled garbage, pop culture deteriorates further, and the vicious cycle continues.

It is essential that pop culture—that is, culture to be consumed by the masses—be of higher quality than endless inferior remakes of better content from 40 years ago.

Fixing this issue requires not only that Hollywood gets with the times, but that we do as well. Americans cannot be content with rehashes. We must demand new, better, unique stories that survive on their own merits, not ones based on retelling the past.

Let’s leave Barney and all those other dinosaurs in the past where they belong.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation. 

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post America’s Pop Culture Is Stagnating. Here’s Why That’s a Problem. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Share to break through the censorship!

JOIN US @NewRightNetwork on our Telegram, Twitter, Facebook Page and Groups, and other social media for instant news updates!

New Right Network depends on your support as a patriot-ran American news network. Donate now