If You Build It, They Will Come.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

An open letter to anyone born after 1990.

To: 90's Babies
From: An MTV Generation Kid

Dear Next Gen'ers,

For you too young to remember it, MTV was cool in the 1980's. Cable television had just begun, and the idea of a 24 hour music channel was extremely experimental. Back then they used to show what were called "music videos" which was in effect a short film usually featuring some rock band or artist, while a song by that artist played in the background. Sometimes they would just be the band on stage singing along to the song, sometimes they would have a story that went to the music. (Ask your parents about "Thriller." Before he was a white woman on trial for child molestation, Michael Jackson was a black man and a pretty famous pop singer). Now a days, you can still see a hint of this idea on a show called TRL, where to kind of honor that era, they pretend the five or ten seconds of a video they show you is important enough for you to pay 99 cents to call in and vote on.

At any rate, back in the 1980's, or in ancient times as you know it, back in the days before ring tones, bling, reality television, back when cell phones were extremely expensive, largely uncommon, and weighed about thirty pounds, back when Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were not hot, nor bulemic, and were known collectively as "Michelle," back before the PS2, before the XBox, back when we had no email, no AIM, lol meant absolutely nothing, before Windows 95 (!) when we had a thing called MS-Dos, before DVD, before Gatorade, before Eminem, before even Dr. Dre, MTV was cutting edge. It was the edgy programming that OUR parents, your grandma and grandpa wasn't sure we should be watching. We watched videos by Poison, Alice Cooper, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Debbie Gibson, Prince, Blondie, The Police, The Buggles, Black Sabbath, (which had that guy from The Osbournes... the mumbly guy), Duran Duran, Queensryche, INXS, etc, etc. This now out of date material can probably be found in your local library. The library is of course a now out of date building somewhere downtown that has a lot of books in it. This is where we'd go when we had to do reports on things we didn't know about, as the internet was not yet in existence. Tragic, isn't it?

Towards the beginning of the 90's, there was this movement called "grunge" which originated in Seattle WA. With this "alternative" music came bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Blind Melon, Soul Asylum, and of course more music videos. This, in case you don't know, is back when musical acts still featured members who could play some form of instrument, there was usually a drummer, a bass guitarist, and one or more guitarists playing lead or rhythm. (A guitar is a six or sometimes twelve stringed instrument that can be plucked while holding the strings on the neck to play notes or sometimes chords. They have big replica ones in front of the Hard Rock Cafe. Again, ask your parents.) This is when MTV started to change, and seemingly for the better. They started to evolve and stop playing videos 24/7 and decided instead to play more edgy programming. There was still a lot of videos, but now late at night, there was Sifl and Olly, Liquid Television, Beavis and Butthead, Aeon Flux, The Real World, Remote Control, The Maxx, and towards the end of the "MTV is cool" era Celebrity Deathmatch.

I know what you're thinking. The Real World. You recognize that one. This is true, it is the same show, however it's vastly different now than it was in our day. The first Real World was in New York City, and featured seven strangers, picked to live in a small apartment in SoHo, to see what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. They didn't have a hot tub or a swimming pool, no beach front two million dollar home, no jet skis, they weren't all extremely attractive like models in GAP ads, they weren't named Irulan, Nehemiah, Jacquese, Aneesa, Malik or Coral, they had names like Eric, Heather, Becky, and Julie. It was a lot more like... well, the real world. Then two seasons later, we had Pedro and Puck. Again, ask your parents.

Sadly, as all good things do, it eventually all came to an end. MTV became a joke when it was violently impregnated by Backstreet Boys, N Sync, and Britney Spears, and gave birth to TRL and the hellspawned Carson Daly. Suddenly it had nothing to do with music television (which in case you don't know, is what MTV actually stands for) and more about Pimp My Ride, Punk'd, The Osbournes, Room Raiders, Undressed, etc. They became the channel that 10 year olds watched so they could feel cool.

But, sadly, it's gotten worse.

Now there's My Super Sweet 16, Laguna Beach, The Newlyweds, Cribs, The Ashlee Simpson Show, I Want A Famous Face, MADE, Making the Band... MTV has become the "Admire those who have much more than you while they bitch about not having enough" channel.

It is at this point where I admit I'd love to add five years to my life to upgrade to the much cooler Generation X, instead of shamefully being known as the MTV Generation. There's got to be a better name for us. Hell I'd even opt for the VH1 Generation (which used to show music videos and stuff too, before it became the "What do D-List Celebrities think about everything?" channel.) How about the more broad Cable TV generation? Maybe Generation Y, as we're after X?

If you want to see what MTV sort of resembled in our day, check out MTV2. Oh! Maybe we can be the MTV2 Generation!

It does leave me with a perplexing question though. What do we call you? Something that has to do with the internet probably. Like Generation.com or maybe like eGeneration. Or like teh 1337 G3n3r4710n. OMG! r0xx0rz!

At any rate, if any of you want to be the next American Idol, please, please, pick up a guitar. Pay homage to that time when it took more than blonde hair and a schoolgirl outfit to become a musical genius.

I want MY MTV.


  • what the fuck does landscape painting have to do with MTV?
    *beats the bob ross out of spammer

    they play music videos between 5 and 6 am on mtv, i found- i put them on for background noise when im getting ready for work

    By Blogger M R C, at Thu Sep 08, 10:51:00 AM EDT  

  • Yeah, I just delete them now. It was fun at first, but now it's lame.

    MTV... more like... LTV... and L stands for Lame or like Loser or... cuz it's stupid... and it's for losers! (Spoken like Chris Farley. Rest in peace my chubby friend. There's a heaven for a G.)

    By Blogger Joseph, at Thu Sep 08, 02:28:00 PM EDT  

  • I'm really sorry you haven't got your box yet. That's because I've been waiting to mail it for a good reason. I got an email from Josh that he sent me a DVD trailer of Secret Eye and I waited for it to arrive and for my new computer to arrive so I could burn you a copy and send it along. I really want to hear what you think. So, having just done that, your special goodies will be on their merry way tomorrow. Sorry again for the delay. Call me when you get it and see the trailer.

    By Blogger Kristine Williams Boswell, at Thu Sep 08, 05:17:00 PM EDT  

  • Dear Joe,
    We love your blogspot and feel as though you would be an excellent sales rep for our new and improved latex, vibratory, women's lingerie. Please call Kristine Williams Boswell for more details.
    The Management

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Sep 08, 05:35:00 PM EDT  

  • How do you like the trailer?

    By Blogger Joseph, at Thu Sep 08, 05:41:00 PM EDT  

  • Ah the good old days of MTV.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Sep 08, 11:46:00 PM EDT  

  • What the hell?

    I vote goodbye to anonymous posting.

    I like the trailer okay. I had feared the worst so seeing that it was not completely butchered was encouraging. We can talk in more detail after you see it; I've been picking it apart ever since I got it!

    By Blogger Kristine Williams Boswell, at Fri Sep 09, 01:44:00 PM EDT  

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