Being 41 years old presents a bounteous set of advantages, if you choose to look at them that way.
For instance, I am old enough to remember when MTV went on the air, even though our shitty cable company didn’t carry it then. I’m also old enough to remember when NIN started up.
Both had a certain mystique to them, both raising a counter-cultural middle-finger to Middle America. MTV had bumpers featuring Cyndi Lauper and her multivariate hair, Billy Idol bumpers and quick-cuts and special effects and the little moon man logo. Nothing quite like the feel of something new!
Trent Reznor and NIN kicked America in the nuts with its album, Pretty Hate Machine, and his version of a love song, “The Only Time”, which contained the !@#$!@# awesome lyrics: “Lay my hands on heaven and the sun and the moon and the stars, while the devil wants to fuck me in the back of his car.” Nothing quite like the feel of something new.
Today? What’s left of videos on MTV? What’s left of MTV itself? Apparently not much: over the weekend, NIN withdrew from the MTV Movie Awards Show because MTV wouldn’t allow an image of George W. Bush (which was unaltered and “straightforward”), so NIN withdrew.
MTV says: “[We were] uncomfortable with their performance being built around a partisan political statement”
Trent says: “Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me.”
I suppose these days, MTV’s lack of interest in free speech is a better match for the American public than Trent’s.
And sometimes, I suppose, having to remember when youth railed against authority instead of embracing the braces on their brains instead of just seeing it everywhere today is one of the disadvantages to being 41.
Who watches the watchdogs, if the youth won’t do it?