VH1 is a television network notorious for making notoriously bad shows, complete with ridiculous, punned titles. One genre of its faux-reality shows is countdowns – the network sets up critics to countdown everything from Oscar-worthy fashion statements to “awesomely bad songs.” I don’t consider myself an excellent or even concerned judge of fashion, so my point of annoyance is at the music.In the countdown of the “50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs … Ever,” different songs are ranked and their videos are aired along with critical commentary. From whom does the commentary come? Not music executives or artists but burned out B-list celebrities, magazine editors, second rate comedians and fashion stylists.
This pool of critics doesn’t have anything of consequence to say about these songs. All of the commentary picks on the smallest bit of negativity.
And other viewers feel the same way.
On the VH1 Web site, there are two message boards talking about the selection of the songs as well as the critics.
The consensus of the two boards is that it can continue the countdown if it is done in a manner that is based more on statistics than berating songs with useless opinion.
Many of these songs take us back to a different time in our lives.
Songs on the countdown are chart-toppers and popular songs – not ones viewers have never heard of. Anyone can identify with at least one, and can perhaps remember the days when “The Thong Song” was the most scandalous thing we’d ever heard.
To give an example of the show’s absurd critiques, Michael Jackson’s comeback “You Rock My World” was No. 25 because the critics claimed it doesn’t make sense for Jackson to sing about a woman when he likes young men. Not only is the statement scandalous, the relation of the artist and the song’s subject have nothing to do with the music.
Expert testimony has become an important part of our lives. After all, nearly everyone has seen at least five minutes of a VH1 countdown and contemplated for a moment the validity of these judges. Even on other media networks, like CNN, we are constantly presented with so-called experts who explain situations that we cannot figure out on our own. Instead, it would be more beneficial to spend time learning how to understand the situation yourself than waste time listening to someone with unknown credentials.
And this constant critique and analysis of other people’s behaviors has an obvious influence on our society. Why else are we always criticizing each other’s clothes and musical tastes? Because that’s what entertainment media teaches us to do. Networks like VH1 make it cool to watch celebrities act like caged monkeys and make it OK for us to sit and laugh at them like animals, too.
We transfer this same attitude to people around us. Watching celebrities get bashed on television is a reflection on ourselves; we have nothing better to do than sit around and make important other people’s trivial lives. Unfortunately, that seems to be today’s definition of good entertainment. We should rather take notice of the better things around us and just relax and enjoy the music.
Anahita Kalianivala is a freshman English and psychology major from Fort Worth. Her column appears Tuesdays.