A Conversation on Nostalgia and Pop-Culture Throwbacks 

Best-selling writer Chuck Klosterman (But What If We’re Wrong: Thinking about the Present as If It Were the Past) and Pitchfork music critic Simon Reynolds (Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past) discuss how nostalgia drives pop culture and the music industry and what that means for the way that we look at ourselves. Can indulging “retro” pleasures be productive, or are we stuck in a groove? 


Chuck and Simon are two of today’s sharpest wits breaking down what makes pop culture tick. They have written brilliantly about the ways that music, television, and other media employ nostalgia—from Amy Winehouse’s retro sound and hip-hop sampling to the throwback appeal of VH1 Classic and Hollywood reboots. We’ve asked them to wage a friendly debate about the merits and dangers of looking to the past for inspiration.


—Ryan Davis, Associate Director of Engagement and Public Programs