Happy New Year 2020!
Happy new year! I sit here, in the very spot as I did last year, at the very time I did last year, to write a happy new year post in the same manner that I did last year.
It’s the end of a decade that I can’t look back on, despite so many wonderful pop culture events, and say it was a great decade. Pop culture, from film to music to art, has stagnated. We revel in the past; in reboots, in remakes, in sequels and in revivals. We fear the future with good reason, because all too often the present is terrifying.
When RetroZap started, my idea for the site was simple: a place for Generation X to geek out about the things they loved from the past, present and future. I joked that the unofficial tagline of the site should be “things were better before.” And, while so much of pop culture was amazing in the past, it cannot be glorified at the expense of the present. For two decades, I’ve seen what that’s produced in pop culture, and in its audiences: kneejerk reactions, hateful ideation, agenda-laden dissertations, virtue signaling faux heroics and hidden motives that co-opt everything from fan communities to Rotten Tomatoes scores. It’s pathetic, and I want no part of any of it. I’m ready to leave it all behind in the last decade.
Moving into 2020 and beyond, RetroZap’s mission has become ever more crystallized. We shall continue to deliver the same great content as we ever have, for the love of the material we discuss. We will seek to enhance the experience of our readers and listeners. We will never add to the cacophony of chatter, milquetoast reviews and snap opinions that have come to dominate so much of the pop culture internet. We will not do this for a profit, either; this is fun, and we hope it’s fun for you, too.
With all this in mind, after more than five years, RetroZap finally has an official tagline.
Appreciation Coram Reprehensum
Translation: Appreciation before criticism.
Honestly, this has been what RetroZap has always done, and will always continue to do. However, in light of the last decade, so many have forgotten or skipped the first part: appreciation. And, this does not mean to turn a blind eye towards anything negative. I mean appreciation its fullest sense: to understand fully, to know all aspects of, to see deeply and completely, recognizing the positive and negative aspects of a thing.
Without appreciation, criticism is foolish, if not inane. It’s no surprise that film appreciation has been forgotten when people wage Twitter wars over why films ruined their childhood, or decry that audiences deserved better from this plotline or that, etc. etc. Without appreciating what is, it’s ridiculous to speculate on what should be.
So that is RetroZap’s promise for 2020—to always deliver sincere and studious appreciation for pop culture, applying critical rhetoric as needed. To paraphrase, our way forward is appreciating what we love, not destroying what we hate. We will do it with clear eyes and will never compromise on this mission. We hope you join us, because we’re going to have a lot of fun.
Happy New Year! Stay safe, be excellent to each other, and party on!
Joseph Tavano is the owner and editor in chief of RetroZap. Born just months before Luke found out who his father was, he has been fortunate to have had Star Wars in his life as long as he can remember. Growing up just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, he can remember substituting sticks for lightsabers and BMX bikes for speeders. He loves comics, retro games, vintage sci-fi paperbacks, and maps. Though an accomplished drummer, he doesn’t crave adventure (as much) any more, and prefers his old haunts in Salem, Massachusetts, where he resides with his family. Buy him a glass of whiskey and he’ll return it in kind.