In The Hours Have Lost Their Clock, Grafton Tanner charts the rise of nostalgia in an era knocked out of time.
Nostalgia is the defining emotion of our age. Political leaders promise a return to yesteryear. Old movies are remade and cancelled series are rebooted. Veterans reenact past wars, while the displaced across the world long for home. But who is behind this collective ache for a home in the past? Do we need to eliminate nostalgia, or just cultivate it better? And what is at stake if we make the wrong choice?
Moving from the fight over Confederate monuments to the birth of homeland security to the mourning of species extinction, Grafton Tanner traces nostalgia’s ascent in the twenty-first century, revealing its power as both a consequence of our unstable time and a defense against it. With little faith in a future of climate change and economic anxiety, many have turned to nostalgia to weather the present, while powerful elites exploit it for their own gain.
An exploration into the politics of loss and yearning, The Hours Have Lost Their Clock is an urgent call to take nostalgia seriously. The very future depends on it.
“Is our collective life flashing before our eyes as we head toward certain annihilation, or does our nostalgia play a healthier role, orienting us in an otherwise post-temporal reality? In a world where the reassuring sweep of the second hand has been usurped by a digital pulse, Grafton Tanner’s meditation on looking back may be just what we need to dare look forward again” Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock
In this episode with Grafton Tanner, Max Parnell and Maria Sledmere discuss cultural canonization, virtual reality, worker resistance in Big Tech, social media fatigue, nostalgia, algorithms and more. Listen on Spotify and Anchor.
In episode 3 of Delusioneering, “Indistractable,” Grafton discusses the “techlash” by charting the career trajectory of Nir Eyal, a second-rate tech entrepreneur, who praised habit-forming technologies in his 2014 book, Hooked, and then showed us how to disconnect from them in his 2019 book, Indistractable. Take a listen here.
Forbes journalist Matt Klein interviewed Grafton for his article about Dispo, a social photography app created by David Dobrik that emulates a disposable camera. They spoke about how nostalgia for pre-digital technology has spiked in the digital age. Read thearticle here.
Grafton spoke with Luke Robert Mason, host of FUTURES Podcast, about how nostalgia is leveraged by Big Tech and corporations, how fictional universe-building has impacted the way we think about lived-reality, and how our recent obsession with the past might stop us from imagining a better future. Take a listen here.
The first episode of Delusioneering, Grafton’s audio series for Repeater Radio, is now live on Mixcloud. Take a listen to “Capitalism is Always too Late,” in which Grafton discusses how “just-in-time” capitalism failed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grafton discussed how social media constantly resurfaces the past, why film and television use nostalgia to keep us engaged, and whether there’s a way to wield nostalgia in pursuit of a better world. Listen to his conversation with host Paris Marx on Google Podcasts and Spotify.