As we come to the end of the semester, this blog must reach a conclusion of some sort. Our journey through looking at MTV has shown us a few things, hasn’t it friends? MTV cares about its viewers and the needs of its viewers, but nothing too political, despite how “in your face” MTV programming seems to be, past and present. What MTV airs still has a lot to do with what shows are pulling in the greatest audiences, in order to keep the station on top with Generation Debt, despite the fact that they really don’t touch upon the real issues that our generation is facing. The thing is, I totally get this. No one, including myself, is going to want to sit through a half hour or hour long special every week about our generation being in debt. Television is supposed to be our escape from reality, not just a further glimpse into our current lives or what unfortunately awaits us in the future. However, I feel that it is the responsibility of MTV to at least touch upon the subject or make a point to let the audience know that it is aware of what is happening in our country and that something must be done about it. MTV needs to raise its voice to make it known to the public that our country has a serious problem and that we need to find a way out of it.
So this blog isn’t completely down and a slap in the face to MTV, which I unfortunately really do watch a good amount of (but not as much as I did in my pre-teens and teens, probably because I realized how stupid the programming really is), I am going to bring up a social act that MTV has been doing for years now, and I didn’t even realize. This movement is Rock the Vote. Rock the Vote began in 1992, and it is a political middle ground between MTV and the audience. Rock the Vote encourages MTV’s viewers, clearly the younger generations, to go out and be politically and socially active, as there is an issue with so much apathy in the younger generations. What people who do not vote do not understand is that a decision such as that can have such a massive effect on the future of the rest of the country. While one 20 year old may think “what’s the big deal, it’s just one vote”, they don’t realize that there are tons of other 20 year olds out there thinking the same thing. The intention of Rock the Vote is to get the youth educated on politics, politicians, and what is happening in our country. Here’s Madonna in a Rock the Vote ad back in 1992, before the pseudo English accent and Kabbalah interest.
What is interesting about Rock the Vote is that MTV gets musicians and other celebrities to help push the point of getting politically involved and voting. I can remember back in 2004, Paris Hilton was making people sign petitions and registering to vote in order to help the cause. Ironically, I also read that Paris Hilton herself never registered to vote that year, but really, we shouldn’t be surprised by much of anything she did in her past.
Sadly, however, MTV’s best efforts to encourage youth voters does not seem to be as effective as one may think that it could or should be. Apparently, youth voting has actually declined since the start of the campaign in 1992. The movement is seen as self-righteous and as an “orgy of celebrity and media back-slapping”. But, despite this negative feedback, I am still proud of MTV for attempting SOMETHING to get the youth moving. Although it may have backfired, there was a thought about doing something and then action occurred to try to press the youth to vote and become politically active. I will applaud MTV and give it a pat on the back for doing more than being responsible for introducing America to the Situation, who truly makes me sad to be a part of this country.
So, in conclusion, I think that it would benefit MTV to learn from the mistakes it made with Rock the Vote and look forward to try to encourage more youth involvement in politics and social activism. Even if MTV just ran ads from time to time or made one special about Generation debt, the audience would be so much more aware of the current situation. All we need is a little enlightenment to spark some change. That’s all I’m asking for.
Now, for everyone’s enjoyment, here’s another pre-pseudo English accent Madonna in a Rock the Vote ad.