Monday morning, I decided to leave the television tuned to MTV because CNN has really started to harsh my mellow lately. I know there is a war, I understand I should be on “high alert” and I know there is anthrax going around. Frankly, it is depressing and I need a break.
What better way to be happy than by listening to music? VH1 has boring videos (read: they never play good rap) so I tuned to MTV, which, if you didn’t already know, just turned 21.
Now, MTV was birthed in 1980, just before my little sister. At the time, MTV was much more interesting than a stinky baby. Things are very different these days.
On this morning, MTV was playing “Spanking New” videos. It was song after song of post-Fred Durst/KORN rock-crap fusion. Music has gotten really bad. Of course, some college person was probably complaining about grunge in the mid-’90s, when I was a disaffected teenager looking for someone who understood my angst. At least Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were far more eloquent than System of a Down or Limp Bizkit or Linkin Park. These groups rely on enraged screaming by men who think they are misunderstood, but really are dejected suburbanites trying to be interesting by being angry.
After we were done being angry, MTV decided to chill out with *NSYNC and Britney Spears. *NSYNC offered a cheesy video fashioned after a silent movie. I chose to take a shower rather than view this monstrosity of American videography. The song was not even good.
After I got out of the shower, I was treated to the Britney Spears’ “Spanking New” video. Of course she was wearing something slutty and writhing her hips and generally setting a bad example for her young female fans. The song was awful, too.
I do not understand why people are calling her the next Madonna. Madonna admitted right from the get-go that she was a sexual person and was not ashamed of it. Ms. Spears has hedged on subjects ranging from a boob job to the status of her virginity. It seems as though she has tried to portray a good girl image, but the veneer has worn as thin as the straps of the thong underwear that peek out of her pants.
I heard on “Entertainment Tonight” (yeah, yeah I know, not a very reliable source but amusing anyway) that someone broke into the house she shares with Justin Timberlake of the aforementioned *NSYNC and stole things. One of the things they stole was a “private” tape of Justin and Britney um, rehearsing. Apparently the cops busted the thieves as they madly tried to dub the tapes to sell on the Internet.
After a half-hour of videos, MTV broke to MTV News. Now, I think calling it news is a bit of exaggeration. I grew up with Kurt Loder, who at least maintained some sort of thin amount of journalistic integrity in a milieu that did not invite seriousness to begin with. This was just pure stupidity. No wonder America’s youth can barely read when they finish high school.
In the afternoons, if you choose to view MTV instead of doing homework or banging your head against your desk (both much more intellectually rewarding than watching MTV) you can watch “Total Request Live.” This is a bad, bad, bad show. The host is as charismatic as brightly colored brothel wallpaper. Screaming teens rule the airways, choosing their favorite videos from an endless selection of horrible teen idols and looping their videos in a nightmarish approximation of one of Dante’s rings of hell.
MTV even has a Web site. If you feel like burning your retinas, check out www.mtv.com. You can find the TRL section and check up on the latest “Road Rules.” Girls, can you not get enough of demeaning fashion magazines? Check out the mtvgirl.com section. My IQ got lower as I explored this section of the Web site. It’s just as bad as, if not worse than, most teen magazines. It will fill young girls with a quivering sense of inadequacy as they realize they will never be as rich, thin, blonde or pretty as Britney Spears (notice I left out talented, because waving your boobs, fake or real, is not a talent). I could have signed up for the tank top sweepstakes, but I am too “fat” for it.
From now on, I am going to stick to National Public Radio in the mornings. I think I’ll even suffer through it during the donation time. I feel stupid, degraded and fat after I watch MTV. NPR makes me feel smart and informed and never, ever makes me view Britney Spears’ breasts.