Economists call it the Ratchet effect, but I prefer to call it the Steven Segal Syndrome. Segal, once the Hollywood’s premier action hero, is the farthest thing that comes to mind when one considers Nepal’s socio-political scene. But the fact is that the Steven Segal Syndrome is alive and kicking out here.

Segal is a prolific actor, churning out one unforgettable film after another. Rarely does a day go by without the network movie channels airing one of his flicks. They come in a plethora of titles but the announcer manages to pronounce them all in the same deep, 80’s news-caster voice: “Steven Segal is... Above The Law” or “Steven Segal is... Out For A Kill” and my favourite, “Steven Segal is... Partially Submerged”.

Now well into his middle age, Segal still seems to believe he is Dirty Harry, Bruce Lee and Elvis, all rolled into one. Yet the receding hairline, flagrant use of stunt doubles and a potbelly to match the size of his self-righteous ego hint otherwise.

And even though most of his films are released through the DVDs and rarely see the light of the Box Office these days, yet he persists, trying to wrest the limelight away from other up-and-coming stars.

But Segal is just the tip of the iceberg. Today, we see many washed-up celebrities trying to bask in the glow of reflected glory. We have seen has-been rock stars trying to relive their glorious days in reality shows. Then there were Demi Moore and Sly Stallone trying to make a comeback in Charlie’s Angels and Spy Kids respectively. And how can we forget Sharon Stone’s disastrous reprisal in the sequel to Basic Instinct! And to top it all, I even spotted MC Hammer, of all people, in a reality show.

Steven Segal Syndrome is ubiquitous: wherever there are old generation people unwilling to cede power to a younger brigade.

In our country, too, this syndrome is manifest in the narrow-mindedness and age-old traditions that plague the Nepali society.

It thrives on the relics of the past. In the aftermath of the historical change in the country, we have a chance to do away with our old habits. Hence while Segal might not retire any time soon, the change of guard in Nepal might not be too far-off.