My son is looking into redoing his kitchen, and I have been watching the process with restraint and curiosity. That means I am managing not to try and take over or offer too much advice. This is hard, as any mother knows.
Anyway, as he has perused various styles of this and that, I noticed the ads that tout Mid Century modern. This is a style that revives the kind of furniture and kitchens that suburban houses had in the 1950s and 60s. It was the kind we had in my house when I was a kid, since no one remodeled kitchens back then unless they were really rich. “Mid Century” economics meant “You bought it, you lived with it.” Among elements of Mid Century Modern that really should be left alone are the terrible greens that were popular in the ’60s and ’70s. Designers can give avocado green a new name, but I know it when I see it. Am I the only one who will never have a green room again, any green room, until the day she dies?
I find revivals of styles that were popular in my own earlier life not only more old-fashioned than ultra current, but also a little annoying. Surely the world can wait until I, and everyone who was alive before 1970, is gone before reviving the material culture of our lives and calling it “retro cool.” This goes for clothing, too, and eyeglasses, shoes, and cars. (Although I do have a thing for cat-eye eyeglasses.)
I guess I am not a big fan of revivals in general, now that I think about it. I don’t much like remakes either. I have rarely seen a movie that is a new version of an old one and thought the new one was better. I have rarely heard a singer “cover” an older song and thought it was improved upon. Partly I think it is like cheating. I usually think “Get some imagination, people, and create your own take on that theme instead of just redoing someone else’s.”
It won’t surprise you to know that I also have an opinion about reissues. In this case I think they are okay as long as they are clearly labelled as such. I am not sure how I feel about reissues that are tweaked. The purist in me wants the original, but I know that if the writer thinks it should be tweaked it probably should be. But a reissue is not redone, for the most part. It is just a new printing of the original. Now, if a new author took a classic romance novel and rewrote the same story—-did a remake of it the way movies are sometimes remakes—- that would be odd.
Some revivals/remakes/reissues make no sense to me because I could never figure out the point of the original. For example, there is about to be a remake of the Three Stooges in movie form. The original show was old when I was young, but could be seen on Saturday afternoons where I lived. It gave new meaning to my father’s blanket description of television as “the idiot box.” I never got this show. I never laughed. I never thought it was funny. So the idea that the Three Stooges is being resurrected mystifies me.
But most revivals and remakes confound me, so my reaction to the Three Stooges is nothing new.
Do you like Mid Century modern as a style?
Are you planning to see the Three Stooges movie? Did you ever watch the television shows?
What is your favorite revival, or trendy retro item/style? Your least?
Which remake of a song or movie did you think was an improvement? Which one was the worst?
NYTimes Bestselling and two time RITA-winning author of historical romances; lover of artisan jewelry; industry numbers wonk. Her next book, The Counterfeit Mistress, will be published Sept 24, 2013.