Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle, R.I.P.
Nostalgia has gotten a bad rap in recent years. It is true, as some critics have alleged, that nostalgic thinking can cause one to compare the best of the past with the worst of the present. This often leads to a distorted view of history. Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan belied the fact that America was already great. This certainly applies when reading laments of the decline in public intellectuals, a complaint based far more on emotion than data.
Using nostalgia to guide one’s thinking can be dangerous, but ignoring the emotion is also a fool’s errand. Trump’s call for a return to a mythical, monochromatic 1950s America resonated with a solid minority of Americans. I noted earlier this week that one appeal of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” was that it harked back to a more benevolent era in the United States. And after two months of social distancing, it is even possible to understand the reckless behavior by some Americans to reclaim a social life that would have been possible three months ago.