It seems as if time is speeding up. And yet somethings don't change.
Take the 1951 movie THE THING. It took nearly 30 years for Carpenter to do a remake in 1982.
Yet it has been almost 30 years from Carpenter's remake to the 2011 prequel!
More changed from 1951-1982 than 1982-2011.
Each decade in the past seems to have had its own theme. The roaring twenties...the sixties, that 70's show, the 1980s/MTV, etc.
That seems to be gone--it's all a splage now.
I think it was mentioned up thread. While the 1960s was a time of achievement in art, we are in a post-modern society where the definition of art has been redefined to the point that finger painting and singing in the shower can qualify as art now. And we have the equipment to record these efforts (Instgram, Youtube, cellphones, etc). So culture has gone to the masses and they often imitate what they can. So we are left to re-tread on what has already come before us. So the 1990s were about the 1960s (remember the tie-dye craze?), the 2000s were about latino culture and the 1970s (That 70s show?). The 2010s have been about re-imagining the 1980s. From music like Lady Gaga and Rihanna re-defines new age. Our movies focus around great-american heroes like Superman, Batman, and geek, computer culture.
What happens when someone re-imagines the 1990s in 10 years? It will be the 1960s all over again! See what I am saying?
We have had many advancements in cultural achievements from women in the workplace (late 1970s-1990s), end of segregation (1960s and 1970s) and when things like this come along, it usually comes with a lot of art.
What have we done in the past 20 years? Terrorism where we welcome a police state and mistrust our government (conspiracy theories) and gay rights. That's about it. We started to talk about a latino America, but that hasn't materialized in mainstream America, past some window-dressing. Art is constantly under attack by what is "obscene" and re-defining right and wrong. Therefore, we rely on what's acceptable, causing us to re-hash the old days. How many more years of superhero movies can we really have? Nobody does anything new anymore and it doesn't resonate with an audience when they do.
Clothes can't get any tighter without looking like strippers. Something functionally "green" should replace our appliances and how we use power, how we drive cars. And that will cause us to redefine what is acceptable in art. But until that day comes, we will look back with nostalgia about what came before us, including things like the future flying cars and so on.
Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble, but I think the point has come across--we are in a time-loop of nostalgia and until we have someone change our way of life (war, famine, economic collapse, increased rights in the workplace, etc) we will be stuck here. We have to open our minds beyond what we went to as children.