On Monday, an enormous cultural shift took place (or rather, was finally solidified) in a subtle and quiet way. MTV, that jurassic arbiter of cool, unveiled its new logo, which no longer features the words "Music Television" underneath the iconic "M" and its accompanying tag-like "TV." The logo, created in 1981 by designer Frank Olinsky, is one of the most recognizable the world over, and has become a signifier of the nonconformist attitudes of the teens and young adults who grew up with the network and its myriad music videos Generation X, as we call them, and to some extent Generation Y.
Funny, then, that MTV has become what it has. In the '80s and through the mid-'90s, the network filled its programming schedule with music-centric material, from the always exciting "Yo! MTV Raps" to "120 Minutes", which helped define the "Alternative" rock era in the 1990s. In those days, even MTV's non-music programming was cutting-edge; though "Beavis and Butt-Head" seems tame by today's standards, it was a magnet for controversy in its heyday. And although "The Real World" is singlehandedly responsible for the great shitsmear that is "reality" television today, it manged to remain culturally relevant for at least a few seasons.
Even into the late '90s music was still (at least tangentially) MTV's forte. "Total Request Live," and its viewer-driven countdown, became their go-to music video program. But it was clear that the music was gradually being phased out in favor of reality programming. "TRL" began to show shorter and shorter clips of videos, aware of its increasing irrelevance in an age where every music video ever made was readily available on the Internet. The show was finally canceled in 2008, ostensibly signifying the end of MTV's focus on music.
And this week it was made official, surprising absolutely no one but creating tiny wittle pangs of sadness in the hearts of those who knew it in its glory days (don't cry for the network: thanks to shows like "Jersey Shore," it's enjoying its highest ratings in some time). Some might argue that its long-time format has become irrelevant, that with the Internet becoming the ultimate music source MTV simply has to adjust to the times and move on. This is in part true. But the crux of the matter lies in the cracks of that statement: Thanks to the digitization of our world and the communicative "freedom" created by the Internet, every aspect of popular culture, not just music, has become spread so thin as to be almost totally unreadable. What is music anymore? That Music Televison no longer knows is a scary augury of things to come.
(Logo courtesy MTV)
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.
All 80s movies want you...
Their show with Chris, Lord about 3 years at the Unicorn was the best.
I am a connoisseur of this real soul music like the comment above I'm glad…