Could anyone pinpoint the last time MTV actually played music? I heard recently that MTV celebrated their 25th anniversary. You have to wonder how slow of a news day it must have been for this to make the cut.
However, this news did remind me that I was part of the original MTV generation. My parents didn’t have cable (an inconceivable luxury) and weren’t crazy about the questionable morale value of MTV, so after school I would race across the street to friends’ houses where we would enter a trance-like state watching MTV and waiting for Michael Jackson’s Thriller video to run again. It’s probably similar to today’s teen rebellion where youngsters sneaking around and pop Ecstasy and meet up with strangers they met on My Space.
Now I don’t remember a lot about what we were watching, but I do distinctly recall that it was musical. Flash forward 20 years and my two year old likes to listen to music on TV before going to bed. The preschool channels apparently assume that responsible parents put their young children to bed before 10pm, and therefore are running “Laguna Beach” reruns at that hour and not singing animated toasters. Well, he can watch some MTV I thought, I can’t shelter him forever.
So I finally located MTV like a needle in a satellite-TV-1000-channel-haystack, and it was showing “Cribs” or something where apparently the obscenely wealthy take you through their house and slowly grind away all your self respect until you are weeping at what a loser you are because you don’t have solid gold light switch plates or wall paper made from endangered lizards skin. This isn’t music, I thought.
So I flipped to MTV 2. A second MTV! My goodness, so many videos to run they had to make two channels!? Except this one wasn’t playing music either. Instead they had some sort of show where 16 year olds throw lavish parties costing hundreds of thousands of dollars while their insipid parents, who are apparently unaware of how shallow and manipulated they look, and who presumably signed off on allowing this footage to air, permit themselves to be berated by their snotty teens because they didn’t book the right famous-name band for their big day. But haha, don’t worry, they actually DID book the right famous-name band, they just wanted their sweet pea (now tear-stained and spewing venom) to be surprised! A sad commentary on the life of the entitled. But again, not music.
I flipped to VH1, VH2, BET, Country Music Channel. None played music. Son no longer trusts that mommy really knows where to find music as confidentially expressed 20 minutes ago.
I repeated this survey of the music channels several times over the last couple of weeks. And no kidding, never once was any of them playing music videos. I guess times really have changed.