Roxanne Tellier: Misty Water-Colored Memories

Roxanne DBAWISI was thinking about nostalgia today, while listening to an old song by The Buckinghams.  Over 1.8 million people have watched this video. Ah, those innocent lyrics, the mop top haircuts … wasn’t life wonderful back then?

Well, yes and no. Sure, we had some terrific pop music, but women were beginning an epic struggle in North America in the sixties. Racism leave it to beaverwas pretty blatant, there was a “cold war,” and kids were taught to seek protection from a nuclear attack by crawling under their desks. “Leave it to Beaver” was a television construct; the show was an homage to the way Americans wanted to live their lives; with fresh-faced, adorable kids, a mom who vacuumed while wearing pearls, and a father who could smooth over any problem that might arise in their white, suburban, middle-class world.

Some people still don’t realize that “Leave it to Beaver” was only a television show. They have actually come to believe – to ‘remember’ – when we all lived just like the Cleavers.

woodstockIt’s like all of those people who claim to have been at the Horseshoe club in Toronto when The Police played in November 1978. The club only drew about 20 punters over those two nights. Yet the number of people who ‘remember’ being there is close to – why, the number of those who say they attended Woodstock! False memories. Memories of what we WISH had happened

Our minds are funny things. Our memories are easily manipulated. Here’s just a little about memory, from an amazing article on (

“They call it the “Illusion of Truth “effect. We judge things to be true based on how often we hear them. We like familiarity, and repeating a lie often enough makes it familiar to us,

And no, simply showing us the correct information doesn’t fix it. Quite the opposite: research shows that once we’ve seized on an incorrect piece of loch ness nessieinformation, exposure to the facts either doesn’t change what we think, or makes us even more likely to hold onto the false information.. You can guess why this is: our self-image triumphs over all. It’s more important that we continue to think of ourselves as infallible than admit we’re wrong. This is how people continue to believe admitted hoaxes after they have been proven to be fake.” 

There is nothing wrong with waxing nostalgic over memories of our youth. It can be sweet, even cathartic, to listen to the old songs, or talk about drinking water straight from a hose. We were young, thought we were going to live forever, and had few responsibilities. Who wouldn’t have had a good time?

The problem arises when people forget that those misty, water-colored memories are remembrances of a bygone time. They can’t just take that sentimental journey; they decide that the past was better, and determine to resurrect those times in the present. For some, it means rejecting anything that’s not from their own era. But if people preferring to live in the past happen to wield power in the business, religious or political community, they may be able to force their ideas on others.

I’m talking about those politicians who long for the good old days they think they remember, those who turn away from the epic strides that have been made in society, science or technology.  Why do they want to force people living in today to revert to the beliefs or technology of yesterday?

The oldies in the Senate, Parliament, Congress … bill passers, politicians and wanna-be office holders who are standing firm on their rights to tell a woman how to use her own body…. they’re also thinking about the ‘good old days. They believe that things have changed for the worse. They want a return to more sensible times, like when people had slaves, and women didn’t work.  But those were the days when the economy didn’t dictate that it took at least two salaries to run a household. Ignoring reality, they want to go back to better times – THEIR memories of better times. And if it conflicts with human rights, so be it. They have the power. And until those oldies leave positions of power, we will dance to their tune.

We like to think that we live in an ‘enlightened’ society. Would that be the one in which the Supreme Court essentially denied that racism still Floridavoterlineexists in America?  Chief Justice John Roberts decreed that, “nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically,” and used that logic to upend the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Apparently, his memory of the events of the last 50 years doesn’t include the struggles of voters in 2012, where hastily prepared and exclusionary tactics impacted non-white citizens

“On June 25, 2013 an ideologically divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal law, a provision requiring that certain states — mostly in the South, including South Carolina — have to seek approval from the federal government before making any changes to their election laws. The Jim Crow-era section of the Voting Rights Act was written to prevent states with histories of discrimination from continuing to disenfranchise black voters at the polls. In 1965, the law was aimed at literacy tests and poll taxes, tools that white men used to maintain control of their politics the way their ancestors had run their plantations. “

The Chief Justice used the *idea* that 50 years of supposed equal voting rights cancelled out the need to protect voters from the *reality* that far too many Americans still struggle with their reactions to non-white citizens having access to polling stations, the right to vote – heck, even the right to bear Skittles. In effect, current law was changed and “used to maintain control of their politics the way their ancestors had run their plantations. “

cheeriosHere’s a reality check. In May, 2013, an adorable new Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial couple and their child spawned so many racist comments on YouTube that the website was forced to disable comments. Apparently the only thing way Cheerios could have angered people more would have been to feature an interracial same sex couple.

What that commercial did was validate the reality and existence of biracial and multiracial people. And a lot of people took great offence.

In July of 2013, The Fine Brothers released an edition of “Kids React” in which they interviewed children 13 or under, of all races, about the controversy. Not surprisingly, it didn’t occur to them that anyone would be shocked at the sight of a mixed race family. The kids were amazed that the commercial caused anyone distress.

That sort of reaction gives me hope for the future. Maybe we need a lot less reminiscing about how great things were in the past, and a lot more discussion on how great things could be today, if we looked at our world with the fresh, clean eyes of a child, unhampered by ‘memories’ of how things used to be.

Now if only every new song could just sound the way I remember music sounding back in the good old days …

= RT =

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. After years of doing things she didn’t want to do, she’s found herself working with a bunch of crazy people who are as batshit crazy and devoted to music as she is, and so she can be found every Monday at Cherry Cola’s, completely unable to think of anything funny to say, as the co-host of Bob Segarini’s The Bobcast. Come and mock her. She’s good with that. And she laughs. A lot. But not at you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: