MTV Should Re-Brand As ‘MTW’ (Much Time Wasted)
MTV, “Music Television” signed on August 1st, 1981 amid much fanfare, and arrogance. There was boasting that the new 24 hour video music channel would bring the extinction of radio. The opening number was “Video Killed The Radio Star“, by the one hit wonder, Buggles.
MTV was an ambitious undertaking. They were initially placed in the unfortunte position of having to air some less than stellar material, because they were on 24/7, and there simply wasn’t much quality product out there.
We were treated to one-hit wonders like Men Without Hats, Wall of Voodoo, & Missing Persons as a result. The record companies embraced MTV as a way to make a quick buck & displayed open contempt for radio.
Michael Jackson, however saw the potential of the medium, and is one of the few to ever take music video to any height of creativity. When he and Jon Landis presented the story boards for the “Thriller” video to record company executives, they declined to bankroll its production. Jackson & Landis paid for it out of their own pockets. The dance routines were rehearsed for three weeks, instead of the typical 2 or 3 days. It shows!
MTV, in subsequent years, morphed into what Brass referred to as a “Lifestyle” channel, airing some of the worst in “Reality” TV.
The downward spiral has continued with countdowns of “The worst (fill in the blank)”, usually compiled by the children at Blender Magazine. I sometimes wonder what they blend.
To be fair, MTV did catapult the careers of viable acts like, Pat Benatar, U2, and Bon Jovi.
A few days ago, I tuned in and they were discussing “Girl Farts”, complete with diagrams & CGI. If art truly does imitate life, and MTV mirrors its audience, the film “Idiocracy” was frighteningly prophetic.