Get the Word! Episode: Nostalgia Is the Most Morrissey Impulse

This is a special episode. The word we'll be picking apart today is 'nostalgia'. But this isn't your typical Get the Word! episode. It's an interview with the great Naomi Carmack of the Dope Nostalgia podcast. We discuss the origin and history of the word 'nostalgia', as well as what it means to us, and how it has shaped us and culture in general. We also discuss the music artist Morrissey quite a bit, as that is the tie-in to her podcast, Dope Nostalgia, about 90's music and culture. Find links below to Naomi's podcast, as well as the version of the interview on her end, which includes some Morrissey tunes.

Sorry, there is no audio transcript for this episode.


Dope Nostalgia


Show Notes:

notes on morrissey and nostalgia

1726, "morbid longing to return to one's home or native country, severe homesickness considered as a disease," Modern Latin, coined 1688 in a dissertation on the topic at the University of Basel by scholar Johannes Hofer (1669-1752) as a rendering of German heimweh "homesickness"  (also in 2nd cited source)

Original use closer to how we use ‘homesickness’ now. Do we feel like we are returning home? Childhood home, often? Did not have a good childhood but media was the escape from that so are some of my fondest memories, while also just a time of few worries from just being so young.

Take apart the word: From Greek algos "pain, grief, distress" (see -algia) + nostos "homecoming," from neomai "to reach some place, escape, return, get home," from PIE *nes- "to return safely home" (cognate with Old Norse nest "food for a journey," Sanskrit nasate "approaches, joins," German genesen "to recover," Gothic ganisan "to heal," Old English genesen "to recover"). French nostalgie is in French army medical manuals by 1754.

Medical treatment?!

It was only in the 19th century that doctors finally stopped seeking a literal “nostalgia bone.” It was only in the 19th century that doctors finally stopped seeking a literal “nostalgia bone” responsible for homesickness and abandoned using leeches to try and suck the melancholy right out of people.

Boy how it’s changed - Nostalgia for an Age that Never Existed - Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon

Nostalgia is the most toxic impulse - John Hogman

Refusal to wear Masks WBUR The U.S. has spectacularly failed to contain COVID-19, and it is increasingly clear that that is the result not just of mistakes by the Trump administration, but of a stubborn commitment to some fantasy of rugged individualism. GOES ON TO SAY It seems clear that the majority of performative anti-maskers are accustomed to a certain level of privileged social deference, and are certainly not used to being told that they are wrong.

Why Morrissey 90s? I identified with animal rights issues and sexual ambiguity / queerness

    - only grammy nomination: Your Arsenal (1993)

Controversial Morrissey stances

As politics in Britain grew even more divisive with Brexit, Morrissey spoke up. He wasn’t just pro-Brexit, but he was pro-For Britain, a far-right satellite party led by Anne Marie Waters.

In 2019, Morrissey wore a “For Britain” pin on his appearance on The Tonight Show, further cementing his political stance. Not only is For Britain extremely Islamophobic, but they are staunchly anti-immigration and anti-Black Lives Matter.

“While Morrissey’s strong support of For Britain is just one nail in the coffin, it’s basically equivalent to being a die-hard Trump supporter. So naturally, it’s not too surprising that he’s made other spotty remarks throughout the years, like positing, “Everyone ultimately prefers their own race,” as well as railing against the #MeToo movement.”


Being truthful… I’ve been avoiding reading up more on his controversial statements probably fearing that I will want to stop listening to him entirely. If that happens, how do I reflect on it in a healthy way?

Billy Bragg wrote an essay condemning Morrissey for his support of For Britain

You get that feeling of a lost emotion; a far off feeling; breathing deep because perhaps you capture it and store it. The image seems to disappear and the feeling is misunderstood/changed/altered; you yearn but you don’t know what for: why do we reflect on the past as it was the present; as if it was perfect; as if it was devastating; as if it will change? Could we live in a memory/feeling?
: “Nostalgia is the most toxic impulse of all. It's what drives terrorism, on either end of the political spectrum, the idea that there is a beautiful past we can recover if we just force everyone to do what we want, through persuasion or bombs. That has been a fantasy since the good old days that never existed. “


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