Mtv – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Mtv – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
MTV: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It would be hard for one to dispute the fact that MTV has influenced every pop culture trend since its birth in 1981. One could even say that MTV is pop culture. No other media network holds in the palm of its hand the power to control popular cultural evolution the way MTV does. What other media network has influenced and helped shape public opinion, filmmaking, newsgathering techniques, presidential politics, and world politics like MTV has? In addition to that, MTV can take credit for reconstructing the music industry (Rushkoff 126). One would be hard pressed to find a person who does not enjoy some type of music. Thus, “Music” television was built on a foundation that was virtually united by the whole world, and its popularity was inevitable. MTV chose popular music as its beating heart, instead of classical music or jazz. Young people around the country could now see their favorite music icons 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, the young people of America were given a national/international platform to share their common voice, a voice that to this day wants to be heard. Since MTV has such a large hand in shaping the young minds of today, it is important that both parents and children are aware of the impact MTV has in their daily lives.

In assessing the impact and effect of popular cultural forms like MTV, it is important to acknowledge the extent to which, rather than having them imposed upon us, we may instead appropriate or assimilate parts, whilst choosing to reject or ignore the rest. This, of course, has the consumer or viewer acting (or perhaps more accurately interacting) as opposed to simply passively receiving (Philo par 16).Even though critics of MTV stand strongly against the passive consumer, the fact remains that MTV has done wonderful things for America’s youth. Yet, where there is a “Good”, there is also a “Bad” and an “Ugly”.

One of the many good things MTV has done is serve as the voice of youth in today’s society. Demographic groups such as young African Americans had been socially silenced prior to MTV’s ability to market urban music. Thus, MTV’s ability to bring the unheard minority’s voice to an international level has helped to break down some of the cultural barriers that have stood in humanity’s way for centuries. Rappers such as Ice T and Public (E)enemy raised eyebrows around the world with their lyrics protesting Government hippocracies and other social issues. In turn, these artists contributions help make rap/urban music an important and influential cultural movement, and also emerged the young African American voice into political issues. Such an accomplishment deserves worldly praise and appreciation (Rushkoff 161-165).

On the same level, MTV has contributed to the involvement of young people in modern social issues. While segments such as MTV News, keep young viewers involved with world issues such as the Environment, safe sex, racial tolerance, and the AIDS virus, MTV has also had a hand in presidential politics. In the Presidential election year of 1992, MTV launched a series of public service announcements under the campaign heading of “Rock the Vote”. Rock stars backed the phrase “Choose or Loose”, in multiple on-air segments, giving issue awareness a marketable value. While presidential incumbent George Bush refused to appear on the “teenybopper” network, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton held an open forum with an MTV audience. Considering Bush was a favorite among young adults in the 88’ election, many people believe Bush’s dismissal of the pop culture generation was a large reason for Clinton’s victory in 92’. Even though MTV continues to make wonderful contributions to society such as those mentioned above, it can also have a harmful effect if we as a society do not recognize when things cross that Good to Bad line (Rushkoff 158-161).

This line is crossed when people don’t realize that in the grand scheme of media interaction, they are just a consumer. The only reason TV exists is for advertisement. Think of it this way, if no companies wished to advertise their product during the Superbowl, it would not be televised at all. In order for networks to make money, they need paid advertisements. In turn, the more viewers the network has watching their programs; the more companies will want their product to be advertised on said network. Keeping the audience “tuned in” is the key to establishing a loyal following, and therefore a loyal paycheck. Since music videos are relatively only a few minutes in length, they generally cater to the shorter attention spans of younger viewers.

Because of the randomness of MTV’s programming, children are removed away from linear thinking and the end result is Beavis and Butthead. Beavis and Butthead are two prime examples of what happens to kids

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Young People And Music Industry. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from