Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farewell, Michael

Like most people my age, I've been glued to the television for the last hour or so, mouth agape at the news that Michael Jackson has passed away. I'm solidly a member of Generation X, so I grew up watching Michael. Many others will write much better obituaries than I could, so I won't even try. Suffice it to say that Michael was every bit (or more) woven into the fabric of my childhood as were the Cosby kids and Family Ties; the Challenger disaster; and (near the end of high school) the end of the Cold War.

Michael's death brings into sharp focus another "death," though: that of MTV. Once I'd gotten my fill of CNN, I turned on MTV. MTV, I was sure, would be covering Michael's death. After all, if it weren't for Michael Jackson, MTV wouldn't even exist. For a while, the network seemed oblivious to the news. Eventually, they started playing Michael Jackson videos, with a crawl reporting the death. It finally struck me: MTV no longer has any live human beings to put in front of a camera (or a studio, for all I know). Twenty years ago, if MTV lacked a "v-jay" for an event like this, a producer would've stuck an intern in front of a camera. Today, MTV is nothing but pre-programmed pseudo-reality shows.

So today is a sad today, leaving us wistful for the music and motion of Michael Jackson, and leaving us thinking, "I want my MTV!"

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