Skip to comments.MTV, still clueless after all these years
Posted on 08/07/2006 9:45:48 AM PDT by .cnI redruM
Last week, MTV celebrated its 25th anniversary, marking a quarter of a century after having conceived of the first actually new thing in popular television entertainment since "American Bandstand" and "Soul Train."
The music video became a big deal through MTV and not only updated the old "soundies" once shown in movie theaters to feature singers and instrumentalists. It also revolutionized the making of films by acclimating its audience to the extremely fast crosscutting that had been pioneered in television commercials, where the faster the message arrived, the better. In the process, the MTV audience learned to see much more quickly and recognize what sometimes quite surreal montages were saying or what they were alluding to - no small accomplishment.
Of course, that is not the whole story of MTV, which also came to project the most dehumanizing images of black people since the dawn of minstrelsy in the 19th century. Pimps, whores, potheads, dope dealers, gangbangers, the crudest materialism and anarchic gang violence were broadcast around the world as "real" black culture.
At first, far too many black people were taken in by the cult of celebrity and the wealth that came to these gold- toothed knuckleheads and mindless hussies to realize what was happening. The lowest possible common denominator was seen as the norm. The illiteracy and rule-of-thumb stupidity was interpreted as a "cultural" rejection of white middle-class norms.
It was as if these dregs had the same heroic position in our time as the largely uneducated Southern black poor of the civil rights movement. Those Southern black people, like the marvelous Fannie Lou Hamer, proved to this nation and to the world that they not only deserved their constitutional rights, but had something both noble and soulful to add to our American understanding of the richness of the human spirit. We are a much greater nation because of the success of the civil rights movement. As they emerged from beneath the bloody rock of segregation, those Southern black people brought to our national identity a compassion and a bravery of immeasurable value.
Unfortunately, the crabbed thug culture that was popularized through MTV brought nothing big with it other than some paychecks.
Twenty-five years later, Christina Norman is the president of the network - and a black woman with a new problem on her hands. Part of that problem is Lisa Fager, a black woman who is president and co-founder of Industry Ears (industryears.com). Fager is disturbed by an MTV "satire" called "Where My Dogs At?" which has a cartoon figure strongly resembling Snoop Dogg who enters a pet store with two black women walking on all fours with leashes around their necks. At the end of the "parody," they defecate on the floor.
Fager's problem is that the spot was shown at 12:30 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and will, no doubt, perpetuate among younger viewers the misogynist and dehumanizing images we have become accustomed to in too many rap videos.
That's the way big money goes. We can be sure that Christina Norman will have a simplemindedly liberal justification for the material, but I doubt that Lisa Fager will want to hear it. Nor will the millions of black women who oppose this kind of material and are beginning to rise into the sorts of positions that will make them an influential special-interest group. I don't know how long it will take, but change is on the way.
In all seriousness, Crouch makes an excellent point.
I quit watching MTV after they became a tool for the Moonbat crowd (i.e. during the first Gulf War and the 1992 elections). Haven't looked at it since.
I think it's time we update the lyrics to "Idiots killed the video star."
The first ten years of MTV were classic though.
Real music videos. Real VJ's who didn't talk like they had just stepped out of the 'hood.
Great music. Great videos.
I wish they'd start re-running MTV (and even VH-1) from that period.
I quit watching MTV when they quit showing music (around 1986).
MTV is blocked on my set at home. It's been a long time since it was about music, music that any self-respecting person would want their children to listen to.
That goes the same with any channel that promotes the ghetto lifestyle as "normal" or "acceptable". Block it right on outta there !!!
I blame the community leaders who said, "Yo! We be victims! Don't let the Man dis you! You got street cred, yo! Keep it real, bro!"
Without support and encouragement from the community, these MTV images which Crouch decries would have had a very short shelf-life.
MTV (almost) killed Rock n' Roll. Look at what happened to what started out as a perfectly good hard rock & blues band like ZZ Top - ruined by MTV. The video made them forget about the music.
I don't even have to do active putting. I just drop the bag on the ground after the groceries are out of it, and one of the three will be inside it in about half a second.
You mean like when Tabitha Soren ambushed President George H.W. Bush with stupid questions about Iran-Contra?
MTV....didn't the "M" used to stand for "Music"?
If you have digital cable, check out VH1 classic. It will take you back (at times). The other problem is, we're getting so old (hee hee) that some of the ghetto slop is starting to get the title of "classic". I must have missed the moment when Pearl Jam become "classic" ??? :)
Whens the last time they actually showed a music video? I just watch them on YouTube.
>I quit watching MTV after they became a tool for the Moonbat crowd (i.e. during the first Gulf War and the 1992 elections). Haven't looked at it since.<
I remember that - it was 24 hours of "All we are saying is give peace a chance" - literally...
Soon there will be the "first ever" Hip-Hop hall of fame. And apparently those in NY and LA are arguing over which music genre from the community is "authentic".
You should see the way it promotes the homosexual lifestyle.
While the toughest question posed to Bill Clinton was, "Boxers or Briefs?"
PBS in Houston was showing trashy rap videos on Saturday nights for awhile.
The trick is to claim it represents the culture.
MTV is simply the whoriest of all the whore networks. Everything you see on that network is a placement ad for some company. The clothes, the sets...everything.
It still irks me that part of my cable bill goes toward MTV. Wish we could choose the stations we wanted and only pay for those we chose.
What is the M for? Cant be music. All I see are trashy reality shows on that channel.
I miss videos.
I'm not sure what Couch's point was. Other than that he doesn't like what's on MTV. So what? I don't either, and I don't watch it.
Crouch concludes, "...Christina Norman will have a simplemindedly liberal justification for the material." Maybe. But in the meantime, allow me a simplemidedly conservative justification. Because it sells.
The X and I spent a lot of time watching it in the early 80's while sitting up with my youngest when he was a baby. They had great music and videos. Now, MTV is crap.
MTV = Moronic Television
Metrosexual may work, or perhaps Masturbation(can I say that?lol).
For all its faults, MTV is not to blame here. The "performers" are, and their audiences who eat it up.
Stanley Crouch's main point is what this has done to black culture and image. He may have been doing some research. I have heard inklings here and there that, due to the last fifteen or so years worth of Thug videos and Hood movies, the worldwide image of the African American is that of a subhuman troll.
I would bet that if one of those international polls were taken the results would be shocking.
Yup. Blame Sumner Redstone, among others.
I worked at MTV from 1987-1988 and I can testify that even then it was he most racist and sexist environment I'd ever worked in. (THe only job I can honestly say I was sexually harrassed in the old-fashioned way).
Same here. I was out-of-country starting in 1985. Before then MTV was young and fun. When I returned after 1986 MTV had changed too much to enjoy.
If you can get the Digipix (digital) upgrade they have multiple video channels including MTV and VH1 classics. May not be the correct names but you get the idea.
Yes, but standing against sexual harrassment didn't become in vogue until the whole Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill saga, which I believe was after your work there. Of course, "ministering" to underlings in the workplace became fashionable again in the mid-90's, or so I'm told...
A couple of years ago, an uncle of mine gave me 50 VHS tapes of MTV music videos from 1982-1987. Pure GOLD, and better than anything that's currently on that network.
I'm proud to say that on the 20th ann'y of MTV, I was able to say I have never seen MTV, save once while at someone else's house.
I feel just as good about saying it on their 25th ann'y, too. Bleecch.
I get my music from indy bands now and I'm a lot happier for it.
Spot on. Thanks to MTV culture, most white kids have the impression that blacks go around wearing heavy gold chains, loose fitting clothing, untied sneakers and speaking like they live in the jailhouse. All that yapping about yo's, ho's and bitches and all this glorification of violence and living in ghettos. It amazes me that the black community tolerates this.
As someone who was sexually harrassed...I can tell you for a fact that I couldn't stand being in the same room with the guy, let alone following him around the Country as Anita Hill did. Any woman who has been legitimately harrassed knows this for a fact.
At the risk of wasting time, should I assume you know all the circumstances behind the allegations that Anita Hill made? Was she in fact, legitimately harrassed; i.e., she had nothing to do with their interactions?
My cats love it when I leave a paper bag on the floor...
"I quit watching MTV when they quit showing music (around 1986)."
Same here. I have it blocked now. VH1-Classic aired the first day of MTV's broadcast over the weekend. That was pretty cool. Brought back memories.