Watching MTV for 24 hours straight so you don't have to.
June 21, 2001 4:30 AM   Subscribe

Watching MTV for 24 hours straight so you don't have to. Michael Daddino is a brave man, especially since his marathon's happening during MTV's bikini-heavy, brain-light summer programming. Will his senses blur until he has visions of Christina Aguilera singing "We're Not Gonna Take It"> Will he break stuff after one too many re-airings of the latest Staind video? Tune in to "The Pornography of Semiotics" throughout the day and find out. (This special is part of the relaunch of Freaky Trigger, one of the few places on the Web where the music writing doesn't, you know, suck.)
posted by maura (21 comments total)
Music videos are, largely, either bad, wrong, evil, or some other variant of "not good." I stopped watching music videos back in 1983, but the few that I remember have left permanent *marks* in my nostalgia for certain songs that I will never be able to erase. MTV is so bad for society in general that it amazes me that more people don't turn it off. Gets my vote as single worst cultural influence of the last decade or so. My two cents - start hammering me.
posted by davidmsc at 4:52 AM on June 21, 2001

davidmsc, so right.

i hate how i get a certain picture, concept in my mind. my own little music video in my head.... then i see the real video, dear god... that was horrible... no matter what it was, it was horrible.
posted by benjh at 5:14 AM on June 21, 2001

First video ever broadcast by Music Tele Vision: Video Killed The Radio Star. After that miraculous work of orgasmic cinema, MTV slowly went downhill. Now it's no longer music TV. It's Really Bad Reality Television And Other Stupidity (RBRTVAOS).

I'm with David. Start hammering us. Empty Vee Sucks.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:32 AM on June 21, 2001

Wow ... don't all of us sound old. Back in my day MTV actually played videos. And that's all they played! And we liked it.
posted by rcade at 6:02 AM on June 21, 2001

okay, seriously, all of you are just NO FUN in your 'oh, look at me, aren't i so ABOVE YOU' holier-than-thouism. and, more importantly, you sound just as closeminded as the institutions you're railing against. while having an opinion is fine, the manner in which pop music is discussed on metafilter frequently sounds like a pissing contest that wouldn't be out of place at a crappy college radio station that never looks beyond the same old boring indieboy vista. instead of trying to impress the planet with your impatient, curmudgeonly dismissals disguised as revolutionary critical thought, why don't you dig a bit deeper and figure out why these changes that you so despise hath wrought themselves, and maybe even the reasons for your dismay with said changes? a little self-reflection never killed anyone, not even the radio star.
posted by maura at 6:09 AM on June 21, 2001

Tell me Christina Aguilera doesn't REALLY cover Twisted Sister. You just used that image to make a point, right?

Must.... think.... happy... thoughts...
posted by goto11 at 6:42 AM on June 21, 2001

What maura said. Indie Rock Petes can be so much worse than the "establishment" music scene they rail against. Are you really an individual if you're still jumping on a bandwagon?
posted by owillis at 7:05 AM on June 21, 2001

I know it's no longer cool to watch TV (as someone over 25) but I have to say the original MTV has been faintly recaptured with MTV2. Buncha nobody VJ's, very low rent presentation style (it always looks like they're VJing from the sewer system in NY) and that play ALL videos ALL day long.

So yeah, MTV sucks and is no longer a videos channel. But MTV2 is. And the coolest part? It's not easy to get on some cable systems, so it's almost L33T, too.
posted by fnirt at 7:21 AM on June 21, 2001

Even in the early nineties (my few MTV watching days) the network was fairly innovative. I mean they did air "The State" for three seasons, and pretty much launched the precursors for the whole American Reality TV genre. Even "Beavis and Butthead" at least showed they had the ability to laugh at themselves then. Now though, it seems MTV has just lapsed into, what's the cliche.... horrible self-parody.
posted by Sellersburg/Speed at 7:49 AM on June 21, 2001

"especially since his marathon's happening during MTV's bikini-heavy, brain-light summer programming"

I haven't noticed anything different from that in the winter programming.
posted by witchstone at 8:15 AM on June 21, 2001

Nothing new. This was done in Rolling Stone around 1995.
posted by ed at 8:19 AM on June 21, 2001

It's tough to separate generational nostalgia for the more freewheeling (or freewheeling-seeming) early days of MTV -- a nostalgia which, collectively mulled over, gets boring faster than a Creed video -- from the fact that MTV has sort of hardened into a popculture institution which uses its domination of the field to reduce choices for viewing/listening pleasure in the same way all the large media companies have done. I get frustrated not so much with the fact that the silly, one-off videos of my youth are gone (most of them were, after all, terrible, although I watched them with the dopey reverence of adolescence); but that MTV presents little variety of vision; and we don't seem to have many alternatives now, a fact which shouldn't surprise me, but continually does.

Of course, I don't get MTV2 on my cable system, so maybe my beef is with Time Warner.

All that said, the diary is cool. Thanks, maura.
posted by BT at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2001

Nothing new. This was done in Rolling Stone around 1995.

Yes, but MTV was manifestly different in 1995. As Michael points out, "Road Rules 10" suggests that the pond is pretty stagnant. And when the best music is the stuff on the trailers and the adverts...

(At least he doesn't have to cope with MTV UK, and Donna Air-head.)
posted by holgate at 8:50 AM on June 21, 2001

I agree that MTV probably peaked during the late 80's/early90's, reaching a good balance between videos (including shows like "120 Minutes" and "Yo! MTV Raps") and innovative programming (like "Beavis and Butthead," "The State," and even "The Real World" and "Road Rules" in their first couple of seasons).

Today, everytime I see MTV, it's some horrible mix of 18-year old "anchors" "interviewing" "average teens" in NYC or on the beach, interspersed with Sisqo/Britney/Creed videos. Maybe I just don't watch MTV enough, but I don't see any cutting-edge, theme-oriented video shows (eg. alternative, hip-hop, etc) or new adult programming.

I think the big problem is that the target audience for MTV has gotten progessively younger over the years. When MTV first started, I really think they targeted college-aged people and older, and then seemed to focus solely on college students by the late 80's, and now, high schoolers (and younger) seem to be the target audience.

True, MTV has always shown Top 40 crap, but at least in the good old days, they tried to mix in more innovative stuff and the VJ's were old enough to buy a beer.

Or maybe I'm just old and bitter.
posted by conquistador at 8:54 AM on June 21, 2001

I don't know if Christine Aguilera covers Twisted Sister, but she does a pretty good Dee Snider impression.
posted by rcade at 8:58 AM on June 21, 2001

I used to look to radio and MTV, at times, to introduce me to interesting music I haven't heard before. As a teen I used to stay up very late to watch "120 minutes", which, for a time, played videos of alternative acts like The Cure, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, etc., back when the term "alternative" actually referred to such, and bands like the above were not considered mainstream.

These days MTV is useless, and radio is so corporate that only the smallest amount of independent music can squeak through.
posted by 4midori at 9:21 AM on June 21, 2001

I didn't have cable for a couple of years, but I finally got it again because I couldn't stand not being able to see my Giants games and soccer games clearly. Can some technical-minded person explain to me why it seems like I used to be able to get broadcast television clearly when I was a kid and now alls I get is fuzz?

Anyway, I have experienced MTV a couple of times since getting cable again..... And I have to say it's just one big ad right? I guess I'm not in their target group, because there just isn't much there for me. That's OK, though. There doesn't have to be.

At least once yearly, all of us thirty-or-so MTV children should gather in small groups and collectively bemoan the loss of 120 Minutes and The Cutting Edge. For about ten minutes. Complaints will be lodged, saying that the last time we saw a good video on MTV was when they showed that Tom Waits video on Beavis and Butthead that one time. Then we should all shake our heads and ask ourselves why we really care, and get back to what we were doing.

If people want to watch the crap that's on MTV, that's fine with me. No-one's forcing me or you to join in. And I see it as a big ad, but I don't know that it's right to wail about how the kids don't know that their heads are being filled with product placement. That happened to us too, just in a different way and through a slightly different medium.

In the sage words of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, television is "The Drug Of The Nation". Enjoy!
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:51 AM on June 21, 2001

A little perspective on the Dee Snider issue

In a just world, Dee would be able to sue Christina for that. Please don't remove that link from your site for a few days -- I have a few people I need to shock. Thanks.
posted by goto11 at 11:55 AM on June 21, 2001

from day one, MTV was set up as nothing but a marketing engine. Whether or not you ever thought it was "cool" only reveals the marketting messages you respond to, much like saying "commercials were so much better in '96, man, when they were all bitter, ha ha!" The bigger question (in my mind) is: did you make it, or did it make you?
posted by alexmassie at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2001

First video ever broadcast by Music Tele Vision: Video Killed The Radio Star.

Trivia props to anyone who knows the second video MTV aired.

Some videos are excellent. The one for the Foo Fighters' "Everlong" was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.
posted by kindall at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2001

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