- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I want to be careful not to seem overzealous. After all, a columnist loses all credibility by making sweeping generalizations or oversimplifying the cultural and social issues that confront us. My statements must ring true without hyperbole, if I’m going to be taken seriously.

With that caveat in mind, I submit: MTV is killing our culture.

Specifically, the annual cultural orgy known as the MTV Video Music Awards, held Sunday evening in Los Angeles, at which awards were given for outstanding achievement in the creation and production of music videos.

Suppose that we ignore the relative merits of music videos as an art form. Not since Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video have I seen one that captured my attention. But that one cost a cool bajillion dollars to produce, and no one wears wolf makeup or red leather jackets anymore.

In fact, in most music videos they don’t wear much of anything. These days, music videos serve to push the envelope of artistic expression, such as it is. Suffice to say, at our house we block all the music channels on the grounds that soft-core-you-know-what is not good for anyone, least of all a houseful of teenagers.

But back to Sunday night’s awards show.

Full disclosure — I didn’t actually watch the MTV VMAs. I read reviews of the show and, thanks to the Internet, I saw enough of it to feel comfortable forming an opinion. Blessedly, it was easy to form an opinion without investing three hours of a Sunday evening. In fact, you can learn all you need to know about the VMAs by clicking your mouse on a few key headlines:

• “Spears wins 3 MTV Video Music Awards.”

• “Russell Brand upsets MTV audience with sex and politics.”

• “Sparks speaks up for Jonas Brothers at VMAs.”

Briefly, so as not to make you suffer too long, I’ll summarize:

Britney Spears won all three categories in which she was nominated, taking prizes for Best Pop Video, Best Female Video and Video of the Year for her production of “Piece of Me.” (And to think I didn’t even know she made a video last year. I thought she was busy trying to regain visitation rights with her two children.)

Russell Brand, a “former sex addict” from the U.K. (I swear that’s how the story describes him), got lots of laughs at the expense of President Bush, urged Americans to support Sen. Barack Obama for president (hey, there’s a ringing endorsement) and made repeated jokes about the Jonas Brothers because they wear promise rings as outward symbols of their commitment to chastity until marriage.

Finally, “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks came on stage and defended the Jonases, though unfortunately she used a vulgarity to describe the reputation they hope to avoid (rhymes with smut).

It’s come to this. America’s leading lady of bizarre and immoral behavior is the big winner on Sunday night, while three talented brothers who happen to be outspoken Christians and take a public stand for virtue must endure an evening of taunts and teases from a “former sex addict,” and the one person who comes to their defense does so by cussing.

Sigh.

I’m wondering when folks will realize that this is what’s killing our culture.

Oh, by the way, let’s not forget that MTV owns Nickelodeon. Yep, the kid’s channel.

Killing us, all right.

Marybeth Hicks is the author of “Bringing Up Geeks: How To Protect Your Kid’s Childhood In a Grow-Up-Too-Fast World.” Visit her at www.marybethhicks.com or www.bringingupgeeks.com.

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