Last week was full of rather uninteresting news.
General Petraeus’ gave a report on the status of the Iraq war (yawn). There was a discussion on whether the country was headed toward a recession (boring).
But there was an event that trumped all other news, Britney Spears’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Forgive my sarcasm, but to say the least, it was interesting watching disinterested Spears, flopping across the stage in a less than stellar performance as her peers in the music industry could do nothing but watch and cringe.
Rapper Kanye West says MTV used Spears. “They were just trying to get ratings, and they knew she wasn’t ready and they exploited her,” he said during in interview with Sirius Radio’s The Morning Mash Up.
West already was angry with MTV for snubbing him at the awards, but he was still right.
MTV used Britney Spears.
Now, Britney does have personal responsibility for not being prepared.
This combined with a stream of other incidents, has not given her the the best public image as of late, but you still should not beat a dead dog while it is down.
During the weeks leading up to the awards, the promo hyped “Britney’s One Night Only Performance.”
I knew this could go one of two ways, either she would give a great performance and MTV would have credit for reviving her career or Spears would be a mess and people would be watching the countless reruns of her performance.
MTV had a responsibility for her success or failure.
Regardless of the result, MTV knew they would get what they wanted – attention from mainstream media and from TMZ, The Insider, US Weekly and the rest of the vulture journalists.
Why would MTV do this? Simply to remain relevant.
MTV’s is afraid of being ignored by our generation.
This year’s VMA’s had 7.081 million viewers. That’s an increase from last years’ 5.76 million viewers after the VMA’s three years steady decline in ratings. I guess it worked.
MTV’s biggest problem is that they are unsure what they want to be as a network.
At times MTV can be socially revolutionary. It has addressed issues such as youth voting, AIDS, the environment and discrimination. I even consider their True Life documentary series, which began in 1998 to be one of the best things on television today.
Yet, for the quality, comes the garbage. From dating shows like Next and Date My Mom, to pointless shows like Jackass, to a Real World that is a shell of its former self, MTV efforts to remain hip are embarrassing to say the least.
I know MTV, like every other network on television, is trying to keep the consumer happy, but I have a few suggestions on how to stay relevant.
First, put on quality entertainment. It is possible to produce shows that can make us laugh, entertain us, and make us think, without having to resort to cheap gimmicks.
Second, get back to being one of the leaders in social change. MTV has proven before that it can balance entertainment, while at the same time making television a positive medium. Why stray away now?
Finally, and this may be a little far-fetched, but how about actually playing music?
Hey, it is in the name.