In honor of season two, in this Olio we will examine these political and even existential dilemmas as presented in the lovingly nostalgic Stranger Things. We will examine the political message of the series, probing at what Eleven means when she claims herself the true monster, and we will explore the complex, and perhaps troubling, function of nostalgia at work in this masterful series. What, exactly, are we nostalgic for? There is more going on here, I think, than nostalgia for our youth and the stories we loved, and more too, I think, than simply the pleasure of being on the inside of an inside joke. By watching Stranger Things, we get to experience not simply a story, we get to experience ourselves experiencing our stories. We are watching ourselves watch, and it turns out, we were right all along. The government is bad, only kids know the truth, parents might love us but they have no idea that all of this is a lie, the cool kids are actually miserable, the outsiders will save the day, friendship is the highest moral good, and magic is real. But, still, we must ask, who is the monster?
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.