Future Nostalgia

Cameron Lee Cowan
7 min readMay 20, 2024

Tradwives and RETVRN have taken the social media world by storm. All of these new terms and ideas like “lindy” and “based” are usually around someone doing something or living their life in an old-fashioned way. A call back to a simpler time when the world “made sense” and where traditions and long-held values hold sway above all things. So why are we so into the past? Why people advocating for a return to the land, a return to farming, or a return to simpler living? It’s complicated, but I’m excited to report that it has happened before.

RETVRN

In a society with changing values, collapsing traditions, and shifting social norms, people who are thrown off by the changes will want to go back to “better” and “simpler” time. Any time there are large shifts in society, you’ll see a call for a return to the past for its benefits.

It is important to remember that these phenomena is not unique to our age. It’s already happened before in this country, especially in the 1880s and into the years before World War II. A “back to the land” movement had already been popular because of the squalor of the industrialized cities like Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The American wing of the Victorians were already obsessed with cleanliness to prevent debilitating diseases like tuberculosis, various fevers, pneumonia, and typhoid fever (among many…

--

--

Cameron Lee Cowan

Creative Director of The Cameron Journal. Culture, political commentary, and much more!