I walked out of the office to pick up lunch this afternoon past two-hundred teenage girls, each one dressed and coifed identically. Sitting on a planter near the center of the 1515 (which we call, "The Mothership") were two paparazzi waiting on "Superman Returns" stars Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth.
As you probably know, "multi-platform" is the big catch phrase in media these days. In short, it means that ads are following you onto every device you have: tv, laptop, ipod, cell phone. MTV's TRL has already experimented with dual live bradcasts onair and online, so when the action ends on TV, you can just turn your head towards your computer. You can watch "The Hills" on your iPod, your cell phone, and your laptop. One of my (bad) jokes around here is that implants are next: TV straight to your brain.
All of which would be fine if we were broadcasting, say, "Frontline," or "The News Hour," but...
But I can't stop thinking that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
This morning I was thinking about some of the things Bo Lozoff and I discussed on Monday (Chris laid off all the HDV to DVD so I can screen them over the weekend -- I can't wait!). As a culture, America has more leisure time and more wealth than any other in history. But we're more overscheduled and more depressed than ever. He told me about a couple he saw walk into a hotel gym, climb on their respective treadmills, out on their respective headphones, unfold their respective magazines, and watch their respective channels.
There's something seriously wrong with this picture, yunno?
Mr. Rogers received four Emmy Awards over the course of his thirty year television career. Upon receiving his fourth, he stood before the inustry-only audience is said, "You know, there are a lot of powerful executives in the room right now who are responsible for most of the television programs on the air. And I have to tell you, you're not doing a very good job."
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
I worried about working for MTV before I even started. On one hand, I was concerned it was be high school for adults. For another, it didn't align too well with the Thoreau-like ascetisism I'd embraced in college ("I endeavor to stand on the edge of two eternities..."). So I rode a motercycle high into the San Juan range, climbed to 14,000 feet, and sat alone a few days to think it through. I decided to go for it, and have enjoyed it almost every step of the way.
I thought as I crossed Columbus Avenue en route to the subway this morning, "This documentary is going to be the end of my career."
One of em, anyway.