Without A Net | Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Nostalgia for the obsolete

The new book Obsolete by Anna Jane Grossman takes a look at things going obsolete within our lifetimes. The book includes 100 essays on fading subjects, such as mix tapes, camera film, and writing letters.

It seems that the amount of time before something becomes nostalgic is growing shorter. I personally lamented once popular Web site hosting service GeoCities being shut down recently, remembering my early online adventures building horrible Web sites using GeoCities.

It's also interesting to see how, as something's usefulness declines, our affection for it grows. This isn't to say that these objects are useless. I was talking with a friend the other night who bought a typewriter rather than using a word processor, expressing a love for the tactile level it brings to writing. A photographer friend still carries an $11 plastic camera, which when his fancy professional camera's battery died and his backup had gone AWOL, he used to complete a recent photo shoot.

For a personal favorite in Internet nostalgia, go check out the very first White House Web site from the Clinton administration. (This site really makes me wish that, like Al Gore at the time, Joe Biden had a cartoon gallery.)

(Via Kottke.org)