The Corner

Culture

Don’t Tell MTV, But It’s Been Boring for 30 Years

As if anyone cared, MTV hosted its flagship program last night — the Video Music Awards. Every year, the VMAs represent MTV’s desperate bid to stay relevant, usually by either trying to engineer “beefs” between key stars (Ooh look, Nicki Minaj told off Miley Cyrus!) or by asking young starlets to be as sexual and/or blasphemous as basic cable allows. Considering that pop music is supposed to be about the “now,” it’s a pitiful irony that MTV’s been appealing to this basic formula since 1984, when Madonna writhed on stage in a white wedding dress singing “Like a Virgin.”

Since then, it’s been all Madonna, all the time. When the original began to fade, her successors rose to the challenge, with a symbolic passing of the sexual torch more than a decade ago as Madonna kissed Madonna Junior (Britney Spears). After Britney, the pop world has brought us Madonna in a meat dress (Lady Gaga), and young, twerking Madonna (Miley Cyrus). And each time they’ve hilariously cast The Same Old Thing as something “fresh” and “transgressive.” Last night was no exception, featuring Miley flashing the audience for less than a second and then talking and singing about — and this is so original for a pop star — how much she likes weed. The formula is the same. Only the production values have changed.

The great, ongoing con of the rock world is how it’s sold “rebellion” and “transgression” to generations of teens by asking them to join an increasingly libertine majoritarian culture that views experimentation with sex and drugs as no big deal, an entirely normal rite of passage. And in so doing, they purport to teach young people that the true counterculture, the true rebels in American life — those who aspire to live according to orthodox religious principles — represent “The Man,” the oppressors who must be mocked and shamed into oblivion. This is all “Hollywood courage,” actions that earn thunderous applause from the elite while angering or offending distant social conservatives that pop stars rarely encounter and can’t begin to understand. 

But my little social conservative family isn’t angry or offended. We’re just bored. Wake us when MTV actually does something new.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

How to Make China Pay

One of the big questions facing the international community today is how to hold China legally and politically accountable for all its dishonesty and harm to people around the world. According to reports, U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed to the White House that China has deliberately understated the ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More