Get Outta Town September 3
(September 3) Friends, enemies, babes, Cade, and Jen. This past Thursday evening you almost lost your Get Out of Town correspondent. I don’t recall precisely when – was it during that contrived, non-shocking, no tongue-in-sight kiss between Britney, Christina, and their grandmother…I mean Madonna? Or was it during that wretched mall-punk sound of Good Charlotte? Or maybe it was during the 50th airing of that Beyonce Pepsi commercial, or her not-even-close lip-synching Super Bowl halftime performance of the same song. Wait; I know when it was – after the seemingly 100th reaction shot of Justin Timberlake.
Actually, I really don’t know when suicide crossed my mind, but sometime during last Thursday’s MTV Video Music Awards I had this sudden urge to run to Wal-Mart to buy a rifle and rid myself of the misery I was enduring.
Even during the worst of years, the VMA’s had some redeeming value. There was always something that was entertaining – even last year there was the segment featuring the Hives and the Vines.
Not this year. With the exception of Chris Rock reading my mind while dogging everyone from Paula Abdul to 50 Cent, there was absolutely nothing worthwhile on this year’s telecast.
Should I be surprised? No; it’s actually been years in the making. There was a time when MTV was ahead of the curve; playing future hits and plenty of them. In the early days, you could catch British pop and rock that was way cooler than the steady dose of Journey, Styx, and REO Speedwagon that was all over the local radio waves.
Later, they accepted the mainstream pressures that came with success, but still mixed in up-and-comers with the Michael Jackson and Phil Collins videos that drove us all nuts. And there was always 120 Minutes, which in its prime was everything college radio should have been but rarely was.
All of that seemed to change when Kurt Cobain died. I don’t know how or why it happened, but I truly believe that MTV execs colluded with the record industry to make sure that nothing as scruffy as grunge and Green Day would ever happen again.
Around that time, MTV cut their music programming to just a few hours a day, replacing it with endless reruns of Real World, Road Rules, and other silly shows. (The award to worst show would have to go to Say What Karaoke, with the Frat and Sorority Lives right behind it. And let’s not even go into the Anna Nicole imitation that is Jessica Simpson.)
As for the music, if it was real it couldn’t be on. Starting with the Spice Girls, the past decade has been nothing more than a running progression of created no-talents, from Hanson to Da Band. All it takes is a pretty face, a sampled 70’s r&b hit, and a producer with the latest in Pro Tools technology. Those model-types lacking charisma hide behind layers and layers of ghetto-tastic pimps and ho’s. The little bit of rock that is aired appears to be cast out of a sitcom casting call, with the same sort of behind-the-scenes guru forcing their every move. And no matter how vapid these people obviously are, they’re still fawned over by mega-tool Carson Daly on TRL.
No, MTV is no longer a music channel. It’s a fantasy lifestyle channel, equal parts Nickleodeon and E! A never-ending commercial for the latest in mall culture – programmed into young adults and teenagers minds through constant repeats and overexposure.
Look at the buildup to this year’s show. For weeks they ran the same clip shows repeating that same line about how one has to expect the unexpected. Look, there’s Courtney Love ambushing the Madonna interview. Look, there’s Krist Novoselic hitting himself on the head with his bass. And don’t forget about the infamous kiss between Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. Every clip is accompanied by some pseudo-celebrity commenting on how it’s “off the hook”.
And then there’s the pre-show. Thinking they’re the youth version of the Oscar red carpet, we get to watch the stars arrive. Generally, you can judge the talent level by the amount of clothing. Coldplay wear normal clothes; Christina shows her ever-growing ass. Beyonce’s mother tells Rolling Stone that her daughter would never show cleavage in an issue that arrived on the same day that Beyonce’s breasts were begging for release out of her J-Ho-inspired scarf-wrap.
This is all accompanied by repeating that mantra from the clip shows – the VMA’s are crazy; expect the unexpected. “Anything can happen”, explains one of the Olsen Twins. I don’t know who that Asian VJ is but I want to know who she blew to get the gig. After listening to her interviews and self-hype for an hour, I long for the days of Selena Altschul and that red-head twit who asked Clinton if he wore boxers or briefs.
Finally, the show begins with the infamous “Like a Virgin/Hollywood” medley. Was anyone really surprised by the kiss? Does anyone think that this happened only because Madonna’s new album has been the biggest bomb of the year? I like girl-on-girl as much as the next guy, but how about something truly inspiring and shocking – like maybe Britney with Jenna Jameson? And really, whatever boner one could conjure from that coupling was instantly gone when Missy Elliot appeared onstage.
I guess the kiss did it’s job – it got Madonna back in the news; it changed the normals’ view on Britney. And it’s the only thing that will be remembered from this year’s telecast, despite the constant replays and self-congratulation that we’re bound to endure for the next ten years.
As you can guess, I’m kicking MTV out of town; out of this country; out of this world. And please take with you the following people – Sean Paul, Fred Durst, every MTV VJ except for Kurt Loder (who just has to be a heavy drinker to endure this twitfest every year), Beyonce, the Queer Eye For the Straight Guys guys, Ashanti, Lebron James, Good Charlotte, Dave Navarro (for that wankfest appearance with Christina), Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent (or 50 as everyone else called him), Duran Duran, Nelly, P. Diddy, and Metallica. Your time is up people. Let’s get rid of the Wal-Mart mentality and get back to what made MTV famous – the music.


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