Wednesday, June 19, 2002
The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums

The Commodification of Memory

Let us sell you your memories.



Interesting analysis, especially the marketing of nostalgia angle.

A small point, however: for the Tanenbaum children to have “returned to a caricature of the past,” they first would have had to move beyond childhood. They haven’t. They’re each the same damaged junior geniuses they were when they were seven and eight; now they can buy alcohol and get married, but they haven’t grown past childhood.

I think this would be Kirby’s real point of an “absent adolescence.” Ah, but where the characters long for a past that never actually happened is when nostalgia becomes neurosis.

You want nostalgia?

Go back to your middle school library and re-read all the J.D. Salinger stories about the Glass family, those gifted misfit geniuses. Then hit the bargain bin at your second-best used book store and browse through John Irving’s The Hotel New Hampshire, a smug and nasty little pastiche of Salinger crossed with Vonnegut.

There you will find the character blueprint for all the Royal T’s.

Eh, except maybe for Royal himself, who is really only Max Fischer grown older, having finally been graduated from his beloved Rushmore Academy and looking to cast his next drama.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02 Sep 03 at 02:35 PM
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