Approaching the first anniversary of Janet Jackson’s famed wardrobe malfunction, a study released Tuesday criticized MTV for the “incessant sleaze” of steamy programming aimed at young people.
“There are a lot of things that most rational parents of 12-year-olds would be uncomfortable with their children consuming,” said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
In an episode of “One Bad Trip,” MTV depicted a human sundae competition where men licked whipped cream placed on women’s’ bodies — with a cherry for each breast. In “Spring Break Fantasies,” five women in swimsuits rubbed lotion on a man, using more than their hands. An episode of “Room Raiders” showed a man looking through a woman’s underwear drawer and commenting on what he finds.
It’s no revelation that MTV is more or less a steady stream of wanton and gratuitous sexuality. That’s been largely true since its inception: it (was) rock music, and it (is) R&B. It’s former competitor (back when they both played music videos), VH1, has showed where would-be pundits insist sexuality is inherent to popular music, moreso than things like melody and beat.
What I think parents should be worried about, and again, this is a general trend with television, is the stupefying effect things like MTV have on kids. The brain clicks off, and the children swim in torpor until the last beach-blonde rulebreaker is kicked off of The Real World, and then they go write on their LiveJournals, in broken English, how much they hate their lives. I’m frightened to think that so many kids of my generation have grown up without learning anything outside the dense sphere of their own sociality and youth-oriented television. The vapidity of MTV is a mortal sin, yes, but if it managed to transfer some sense of culture across the medium, I could at least forgive it. But it doesn’t. It’s a soulless wreck heaped upon the larger wreck of modern intellectualism, beyond absolution, and completely irreconcilable with higher thought.
MTV try to couch their pablum in the blanket answer of response to viewers.
MTV reflects the culture and what its viewers are interested in, [MTV spokeswoman Jeannie Kedas] said.
Sadly, she’s probably right. But it’s no excuse.
“We think it’s underestimating young people’s intellect and level of sophistication.”
That would be impossible, Jeannie.