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Gwen, What Happened?

Not in Iceland yet. Instead, I'm home "packing." Which is to say watching MTV Hits. There's some sort of Gwen Stefani video on ("Cool" seems to be the name), and not only is it terrible, but it sounds distinctly like some kind of deserately mediocre 80s song. What's going on here? No Doubt was never really what I would call a good band, but they had a distinct ersatz-ska thing they were doing. This is totally different and way worse.

On another note, with the digitial cable, you get three MTV channels that show music videos. There's MTV Spanish for Latino artists, MTV Jams for the African-American community, and then MTV Hits where the races mix. So where's my MTV White? Who discriminates against white people? It's insane. I suppose you'd want to call it "MTV Rock" to avoid setting up an explicit color line (what's a "jam," after all?) but the people demand equality one way or the other.

August 11, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Safe bjorking in v'iceland.

Posted by: yesh | Aug 11, 2005 3:04:02 PM

Who discriminates against white people? It's insane.

Are you saying you oppose MTV-affirmative action? Aren't you aware that African-Americans have been discriminated against in the field of rock-and-roll (I mean, obviously, no African-Americans were permitted to play rock-and-roll back in the bad old days of the '50s), and thus deserve that extra boost provided by an extra MTV channel? How very Republican of you.

Posted by: Al | Aug 11, 2005 3:20:43 PM

According to the DJ on one of the lame DC radio stations I was listening to last time I was in town**, "Cool" was a song Gwen Stefani wrote as a gift for her ex to wish him well on his new relationship. So I guess the song is less "crap for crap's sake" than "self-indulgent".

And I totally agree about MTV -- I'd like to see them go back to that "block party" format they tried out a couple of summers ago where they grouped their music into half-hour chunks by genre.

** Are there any good alternative/rock radio stations left in DC? Am I just lost on the dial?

Posted by: Becks | Aug 11, 2005 3:20:50 PM

Oh, and there's a great article in this month's Blender magazine called "Who Killed Rock Radio?" (sadly, not online - don't be fooled by reprints of a similarly named article from a 1998 issue of Spin) that charts alternative rock's plummet out of the mainstream and how it got replaced by hip-hop. It blames alt-rock's demise not on the rise of hip-hop but on alternative radio stations and MTV embracing the Fred Durst-style bands of the late 1990s to increase their male demographics and the influence of advertising dollars from beer companies. It was full of "a-ha" moments -- sneak a read when you're killing time at the airport.

Posted by: Becks | Aug 11, 2005 3:40:12 PM

What's going on here? No Doubt was never really what I would call a good band,

Actually, they are a hell of a good band. The musicianship is excellent. The drummer is one of the best I've heard in years.

but they had a distinct ersatz-ska thing they were doing.

Not really that much since Tragic Kingdom.

This is totally different and way worse.

You seem to be confusing Gwen Stefani's solo work with No Doubt. Two different animals.

So where's my MTV White? Who discriminates against white people?

Isn't your last name Hispanic? You are not "down" with the hip-hop generation? Aaron McGruder's Boondocks is not your cultural touchstone? Come one, Matt, we all know you lost the hairnet, opened that top buttom, and rolled that one pant leg down not six-weeks before you entered Harvard.

Posted by: Jeff II | Aug 11, 2005 3:40:53 PM

(I mean, obviously, no African-Americans were permitted to play rock-and-roll back in the bad old days of the '50s)
Posted by: Al

Al, you fucking moron. I suppose Chuck Berry was a white guy performing in black face?

Posted by: Jeff II | Aug 11, 2005 3:44:13 PM

I think that the crucial "MTV White" role is filled by VH1 Classic.

Posted by: Mac Thomason | Aug 11, 2005 4:07:37 PM

There's also Fuse and MuchMusic which, although less widely available, are pretty much what you're asking for. They're starting to fall prey to the same problems that killed MTV, though.

Posted by: tom | Aug 11, 2005 4:12:16 PM

Sarcasm is lost on the Internets.

Posted by: Al | Aug 11, 2005 4:29:21 PM

** Are there any good alternative/rock radio stations left in DC? Am I just lost on the dial?

No, it's not just you. There were always two, WHFS 99.1 and DC101, but HFS turned into a Spanish dance music station back in December or January, leaving only one real rock station in D.C. There's 98 Rock (97.9) out of Baltimore, but it has a lot of static down here, and their playlist isn't the greatest. The pickings are slim are around D.C.

Sarcasm is lost on the Internets.

There really needs to be a new font. Times New Sarcasm or something.

Posted by: Matt F | Aug 11, 2005 4:49:25 PM

You got full digital, you should have a couple dozen music channels. No video, and they all suck, but that's cable for you.

I have gone totally twee. Heavenly and Lilac Time and the Sarah stuff. Feel like a lumberjack in a tutu.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 11, 2005 5:41:56 PM

I hear you. Imagine how I felt when I woke up this morning to find out I'm now a minority.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050811/D8BTJN0O0.html

I suppose this means I need to find some Reverend or something to stand up for my rights.

Posted by: Mark S. | Aug 11, 2005 10:19:31 PM

MTV White? How about the country music station? I don't watch it regularly, but I don't remember seeing anybody black on it. Have I missed somebody?
If I'm right, is there a reason for it? Maybe that style of music has too many Confederate-flag type connotations for blacks?

Posted by: duvidil | Aug 11, 2005 11:02:03 PM

There really needs to be a new font. Times New Sarcasm or something.

Genius.

Posted by: Saheli | Aug 11, 2005 11:55:44 PM

It is not lost- I just saw some. Two pages to the left.

Posted by: TJ | Aug 12, 2005 12:44:40 AM

Its called VH1 Alternative Matt.

Actually for your people it would be Beastie Boys 24/7.

Posted by: Rob | Aug 12, 2005 1:20:16 AM

MTV White? The regular MTV channel is for white people. In fact, all the television programs are filled with white people. I think those channels you are mentioning were made because TV is dominated by white people so to create some equality on TV by representing other races. Next time, actually watch TV and count the other races and count the White people in it.

About Gwen Stefani, I agree with you. She has sold out and sold out big. Her raw energy and musical purity have been taken over by greed and bling.

Posted by: Mac | Aug 12, 2005 12:01:43 PM

yeah said,
Are you saying you oppose MTV-affirmative action? Aren't you aware that African-Americans have been discriminated against in the field of rock-and-roll (I mean, obviously, no African-Americans were permitted to play rock-and-roll back in the bad old days of the '50s), and thus deserve that extra boost provided by an extra MTV channel? How very Republican of you.
Let's see, "oppose MTV-affirmative action." That's some kind of joke, right? Oppose MTV-money gathering might be more appropriate.
We are all aware of the discrimination blacks faced in the early days of rock 'n' roll. But to say they weren't permitted to play it begs the question: who did the white guys copy if blacks *couldn't* play rock 'n' roll? What about the quite verifiable fact that white guys playing black music "elevated" black music into the mainstream? I suppose the Stones and Beatles, etc. were nothing more than racist capitalist pigs exploiting the black underclass?
To continue, do you really think that "black music" in this day and age needs some kind of "boost" provided by MTV? Are you serious? How very knee-jerk of you.
I'm a no-good, stinking liberal, pal, and your comment disgusted me. Why? Not necause I'm offended by 50 Cent, but because I'd like to see some fuckin' rock tunes on TV.

Posted by: kyklops | Aug 12, 2005 1:27:30 PM

Hm, I was going to say that your problem, as above posts mentioning country, classic rock, etc channels, point out is that the white music audience is too fragmented: some people like classic rock, some people like country, some people like hair metal, some people like frikkin polka, and oh, yeah, a lot of young white kids like latin and rap, too. There's just more demand for MTV stations that cater to those tastes than for what you would prefer to see.

But then it occurred to me that, with a seemingly endless supply of cooking, home improvement, and "white girls in peril" channels (the latter including not just Lifetime, Oxygen and Hallmark but also Fox most days of the week), several cartoon-based stations, not to mention a freaking puppy channel, then surely there must be at least as much of a market for the music channel you want as for at least some of those stations.

Maybe I've just lived in the elitist urban East Coast for too long and have a skewed view of things.

Or maybe it's another "Black People Don't Drink Coffee" myth (Please note: this is NOT a racist remark--it's part of the back story to how Magic Johnson came to be investing in building Starbucks in urban neighborhoods, like the one nearest where Matt lives)--something like "Urban Hipsters don't watch TV--they're too busy hanging out at the Black Cat wishing they were in NYC, or when they do watch TV they're ironically watching old episodes of the Brady Bunch or Anime and not music videos" or something like that. Clearly, some myth-dispelling and media educatin' is in order here.

In any case, I passionately hate music videos so anything I say on this topic is prolly a load of crap.

Posted by: flippantangel | Aug 12, 2005 2:57:21 PM

I kind of like "cool". But I listen to Tears for Fears unironically.

Posted by: tantrumfirefly | Aug 12, 2005 8:35:43 PM

There was MTV-X, which was all rock (and hence, largely white, altho I did see the video for Public Enemy & Anthrax's version of Bring The Noise on there once), but that was replaced by MTV Jams. Too bad, too, they played some good stuff.

Posted by: JoeF | Aug 15, 2005 12:38:20 AM

Wow, Al, surprisingly successful troll. I salute you.

Posted by: John | Aug 15, 2005 5:49:12 PM

John wrote,
"Wow, Al, surprisingly successful troll. I salute you."

Ouch. I can see it clearly now. To make matters worse I mistakenly attributed Al's comments to Yeah (sorry about that!). Must've been the beer...

Posted by: kyklops | Aug 15, 2005 10:41:00 PM

What the f**k. Black or White you are dumb:

Are you saying you oppose MTV-affirmative action?
*MTV is not about affirmative action- they are about MONEY.*

Aren't you aware that African-Americans have been discriminated against in the field of rock-and-roll?
*Blacks created rock and roll.* Whites stole it.*

(I mean, obviously, no African-Americans were permitted to play rock-and-roll back in the bad old days of the '50s),
*You're joking me, right?*

and thus deserve that extra boost provided by an extra MTV channel?
*MTV is about MONEY, not about providing your ass with anything, OK? Whatever sells is their mantra.*


How very Republican of you.

*News Flash: Democrats, Liberals, can be the same within varying degrees.*

Learn about popular music and history, quick!

Hip Hop did not replace rock and roll. Remember folks, It's ALL ABOUT MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

Posted by: lynneb | Aug 25, 2005 2:29:08 PM

Today I saw her newest video on Mtv. She looked fake and laying on jewels and braggin about $$$. WTF!!! She is a has been!
I saw No Doubt 2 years ago, they rocked. I wonder what her husband Gavin thinks about her new style?

Posted by: Christina | Dec 6, 2005 1:55:38 PM

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