I Miss My MTV

I’d like to congratulate MTV for finally admitting – both to the public and to themselves – what the rest of us have known for years: That they just don’t give a damn about music anymore.

BEFORE

This week they unveiled a redesigned logo that removes the “Music Television” text from underneath the large capital M, which has been part of the logo since the channel launched in 1981. What they’ve done now is make the M transparent and filled it with images from the popular reality shows that have been the catalyst of their decline. It’s like you’re looking at a ghost of the network that MTV used to be, and you can see right through it and realize you’re staring at Snooki’s fake-tanned, fake-titted mug.

AFTER

(To be continued after the jump…)

It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when I liked watching MTV. This is because when I was little they were able to provide a decent balance between the M and the TV. Much of the day’s schedule consisted of music programming, while their original non-music shows were slotted in prime time. And some of those shows were worth watching, believe it or not.

Meet Daria. She spent five years openly criticizing the youth culture MTV embraced. It’s been 8 years since her show ended, yet MTV has clearly learned nothing from the experience.

Everyone remembers Beavis and Butt-Head, and I still enjoy their music video commentary. Daria is still awesome. Clone High is still hilarious, and probably one of the most disappointing cancellations ever. And Celebrity Deathmatch ranks among the guiltiest of the pleasures I’ve ever had – I probably shouldn’t have enjoyed a show about claymation celebrities slaughtering each other, but I did. (I chalk this up to my Mortal Kombat phase.) Hell, to this day I still get a kick out of Jackass.

I remember watching music videos with my aunt for hours on end – I can also remember being very freaked out by Tom Petty’s video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” I remember being a young kid calling MTV to request a video (I don’t remember what) and then freezing up as soon as I heard Bill Bellamy’s voice on the other end of the line. I even had a Beavis and Butt-Head T-shirt that said “TOMMY PULLMYFINGER.” (It was a big hit among the fourth-grade crowd.) I remember watching Yo! MTV Raps and wondering if the Dr. Dre on that show was the same guy who did “Nuthin’ But A G Thang.” And on some nights, when I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep, I used to turn on MTV with the volume low and watch music videos.

Over the past decade, that balance between the M and the TV started shifting dramatically in TV’s favor. The amount of music they actually play diminished exponentially during the Double-0s. In its place they aired gimmicky dating shows and reruns of their reality shows. The one show during the day that actually showed music videos – or at least parts of them – was Total Request Live. Sure, it pretty much consisted entirely of teenybopper bubblegum pop, but it was better than nothing.

Then they cancelled TRL a couple years ago, and that was pretty much it. TV had finally triumphed over M. Sure, Pete Wentz tried to help MTV bring the music back, but the FNMTV block he helped create is now the same late-night/early-morning video block they always used to have. Watching MTV for music nowadays is like being an army general whose troops are getting absolutely annihilated but refuses to retreat or surrender. Pretty soon they’ll all be wiped out and their efforts to maintain the fight and hold out for reinforcements will have been utterly wasted.

So what’s the point? Now that MTV has basically decided to let the tools on Jersey Shore become the faces of the network, they might as well just sever all ties to “Music Television” because that’s not what it is anymore anyway. But why stop with the logo? Why not change the name of the network and then design a completely new logo? Then you can jettison every last remaining scrap of music-related programming and move on like MTV never existed. It’s not like it’ll be hard.

Or maybe you take this little piece of advice, courtesy of the Dead Kennedys… especially because it’s obvious that the MTV people like me grew up with is never coming back. (Of course, if Jello Biafra had his way, MTV would have been gone long ago.)

Ladies and gentlemen… rock and roll.

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