Posts from 19th June 2001

Jun 01

The Pornography of Semiotics

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This is a mosiac of something which looks like orgy. It isn't one.

Hi, I’m Michael Daddino.

Starting at 6AM, June 21st, and continuing for 24 hours, I will chronicle one day’s worth of MTV — videos, karaoke, Real World episodes, screaming teenagers, wrestling and Mandy Moore — blogging my impressions and observations of the channel’s programming in real-time.

The idea is hardly original. I grew up in the shadow of A Day in the Life of America’s glorious panoptical overkill, and used to toy with the idea of taping a full day’s worth of television on the family’s VCR for a kind of personal time capsule.

Off The Telly’s examination of a day’s worth of British TV programming, TV24, is the more immediate prototype (as is this), and features opining on matters cultural of a fineness that this blog could never hope to achieve. Go read it.

The blog title comes from a description of MTV where Greil Marcus equates the channel’s repetition of potent signifiers to the porno loop. I’d quote it in full, but I packed away my copy of Ranters and Crowd Pleasers in a box somewhere. Sorry.

E-mail us here.

The Pornography of Semiotics: 24 Hours in the Life of MTV

Well, it’s been fun. Do remember to check out and my own personal site,, your source for all things Michael Daddino. Good day, or good night, whatever the case may be.

6/22/2001 06:03:32 AM

It still rocks. I can still take pleasure in the tiny details of the video, like the way their lips quiver.

6/22/2001 06:01:25 AM

And the first video of the new programming day is…”Bootylicious”! A sign from the Gods!

6/22/2001 06:00:38 AM

After all, once you pop, you can’t stop.

6/22/2001 06:00:03 AM

Well, it seems like it’s six o’clock…but I want to make it a full 24 hours since my first post, so…

6/22/2001 05:56:38 AM

Wow. You think Tyrese still drinks Coke?

6/22/2001 05:53:39 AM

Of course Suchin Park is one of the last things I see.

6/22/2001 05:52:21 AM

Bah, commercials…is this how this blog ends? Not with a bang but with a whimper?

6/22/2001 05:48:14 AM

Surrealism is the native language of MTV.

6/22/2001 05:47:14 AM

OK, I’m watching the Sisqo video and I’m following it until they bring in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon moves…it kinda ruins the aesthetic integrity of the video. It seems completely out of place…oh fuck, this is MTV, nothing’s out of place on MTV!

6/22/2001 05:42:23 AM

Watching people eat peaches on MTV makes my body shiver.

6/22/2001 05:41:48 AM

Damn, those lights in the middle portion of the video make all these irritating moire patterns!

6/22/2001 05:41:07 AM

I’ll also turn it up.

6/22/2001 05:40:02 AM

“Peaches and Cream” again, but I’m oblivious. I think I’ll just spend my time staring at it.

6/22/2001 05:37:34 AM

Man, I remember the day I first watched an acne cream commercial on MTV and realized: I’m now too old for MTV’s target market…they’re not pitching products to me anymore.

6/22/2001 05:34:34 AM

I’m sure MTV2 is fun and all, but what I really want is a kind of video Napster (the heavenly music television?), something that will allow me to whatever the hell video I want, whenever I want.

6/22/2001 05:32:50 AM

“why must I feel this waaayyyyy…”
“why won’t this go awaaayyy…”

I could ignore that when I wasn’t tired and sleepy, but now it’s like a car alarm in the middle of a night.

6/22/2001 05:29:26 AM

I haven’t once talked about the tyranny of video democracy, and yet it’s bugged the fuck out of me ever since I started watching videos.

What I mean is: I can’t watch a video by a band without being hyper-conscious that its video is being edited to give a roughly equitable time to each of its members, with maybe more time devoted to the percived lead of the band. It’s so distracting. I don’t want to think about band squabbles and future Behind The Music specials when watching a Sugar Ray video, you know?

6/22/2001 05:20:48 AM

Hiring Smash Mouth to redo “I’m a Believer” for the Shrek soundtrack amounts to typecasting, pretty much. Not that I mind. If we must have sixties revivalists, let it be them.

6/22/2001 05:17:05 AM

My DSL just died for the second time today, but what have we missed? Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” again.

6/22/2001 05:09:16 AM

Janet Jackson’s been married and divorced twice, she’s older than I am, and yet the lyrics to “Someone to Call My Lover” are goggle-eyed and unrequited.

6/22/2001 05:02:33 AM

Oh, so that’s why the Lil’ Mo video takes place in a bowling alley…it gives the director a chance to make some butt shots as she rolls the ball down the lane.

6/22/2001 04:55:47 AM

All right, Suchin Park. You’ve presented this info five times before, so now I’ll just have to blog something about Nelly’s website. It’s at and looks like one of those overripe Flash toys that crash your browser.

6/22/2001 04:52:35 AM

Sun’s coming up. The sky’s getting light. I have about one hour and a few minutes left.

6/22/2001 04:51:45 AM

I’ve made mistakes, today. I’ve shot from the hip. No, I’m not bitter about it. It just seems like an appropriate thing to say right now.

6/22/2001 04:48:19 AM

The more I see of the U2 “Elevation Remix” video, the less impressive the effects are. How impressive could they be? It’s all done by computers. Oh, I’m sure it’s hard to do even on computer, but since I have no understanding of CGI, I couldn’t possibly appreciate its difficulty, anyway.

6/22/2001 04:42:50 AM

I was just thinking of Blink 182…I bet that homeless guy’s an actor. Hell, I’m sure some of the store owners are, too.

6/22/2001 04:39:32 AM

Drowning Pool. There’s something almost cruel about making a wizened actor mouth out the words of a younger, hepper guy.

6/22/2001 04:33:56 AM

There are some videos MTV plays so often you’d think they were actually big hits. They’ve played “H***pipe” as much as any video (it seems), yet it’s not even in the Billboard Top 50. Let’s remember that MTV always has its own angenda, seperate from that of Billboard’s.

6/22/2001 04:27:49 AM

The lead guy from Eve 6, Jon Siebels, knows how to fill a shirt.

6/22/2001 04:24:42 AM

My name is Michael, and my anti-drug is blogging.

6/22/2001 04:22:38 AM

Mountain Dew caps its overwhlemingly obvious Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon rip, “This original production has no realtionship with any actual motion picture,” as if that would satisfy anybody but lawyers.

6/22/2001 04:19:17 AM

The Ja Rule video completely glosses over the violence that’s implicit in the narrative. I bet a really young kid wouldn’t have any idea what’s happening when the guy in the dance club walks over to the other guy and the other guy falls down, eyes wide open.

6/22/2001 04:12:57 AM

I’m so spazzy I’m actually enjoying the Eve/Gwen collaboration.

6/22/2001 04:09:26 AM

I’ve completely managed to miss Aerosmith’s technophile tendencies. Remember they had that virtual reality video with Alicia Silverstone? And this album’s (awful) Hajime Sorayame cover?

6/22/2001 04:04:12 AM

In contrast, “Lady Marmalade” (as far as I can see) doesn’t have a single scene from Moulin Rouge.

6/22/2001 04:01:55 AM

I may have said this before, but the form of Erick Sermon/Marvin Gaye’s “Music” is embarrassingly oldhat. There’s been videos from soundtracks spliced with random funny-looking bits from the movie since at least 1984.

6/22/2001 03:55:25 AM

Ah. I need to see “Bootylicious.” I’m dancing in my apartment now in my spastic way, completely energized. I definitely will slide past 6:00 with minimum toil.

6/22/2001 03:46:15 AM

311 presents a fine conundrum: (a few) cute guys, lousy music. In fact, it’s safe to say that this is once of those bands that will never fall out of the constricted groove they’ve fallen into. They won’t ever accidentally come across some genius riff or killer melody. Such inspiration is foreign to them.

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The FT re-launch party thing

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Everything old is new again once again:

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Everything old is new again once again: I await Christina Aguilera’s next video, in which she runs amok, dodging an army of angry principals and wreaking havoc in her high school while singing about the ways in which she’s not gonna take it anymore. (Props to Andy W. for the initial connection.)

The Sound of the Atom Splitting

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The Fall And Rise Of Pop, Part I

Back in May, Luke Haines titillated his handfuls of observers by calling for a Pop Strike. His plea – for a week’s respite from musical production and criticism – got him a few column inches, but it was hard to feel much sympathy. No matter how often Haines paid lip-service to this being an attack on all music, the columnists stuck to dishing familiar targets – Hear’Say, Westlife, Britney, Mariah – in familiar ways. Plastic. Soulless. Manufactured. Tired. The usual words, the usual secret sneery desire to bury a generation’s enjoyment under grey verbal ash.


CANNIBAL OX – “The F-Word”

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CANNIBAL OX – “The F-Word”

Mathematics, wounded Ox style: F1 is of course “fuck”, but F2 is “friend”, and F3 = F1 times F2 = “friction”. This, in other words, is not undie rap so much as indie rap: jagged beats turning, like a spit with your heart on it. Cannibal Ox leaven the rhythmic austerity with glassy, elegant synths and with Vast Aire Kramer’s flow, which – like Andre on “Ms.Jackson” – starts rueful and ends up angry and bitter. With this pained, nerdy twang Vast plots the decay of a crush-contaminated friendship, maximising his alt.crossover potential, as this subject is close (like shrapnel) to the heart of many a sensitive listener. Me included: I’m older now and I’m a clever swine, but “The F-Word” brought all sorts of nasty memories bubbling up. Still, though, it’s wonderful, to hear rappers get not only vulnerable but downright abject, and to hear it done with such unusual musical steel. I’ve a mind to call this essential.

*NSYNC — “Pop”

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*NSYNC — “Pop”
EVE (featuring Gwen Stefani) — “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”
R. KELLY — “Fiesta Remix (featuring Jay-Z)”

‘Besides, who’s really looking for a scorching indictment of the world in pop music these days, anyway?’

Well, Mr. Battaglia, no one that I know of — how about a lukewarm pisstake on pop culture instead? Maybe *NSYNC confused ‘pop’ with ‘smack’, given all the junk they talk — ‘We’re just doing what we like; can we say the same for you?’ I thought it was all about respect; that’s just plain rude, though.

Maura’s right – it is odd to hear Justin check ‘the ice around my neck’, especially in a song that mixes a two-step backing with played-out patois about the hard-knock life of being a pop star. That’s so hip-hop. It all comes back to what Robert Christgau said about the Next Big Thing in a recent Salon interview:

‘I never prophesy. I’ve been saying hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop for a long time, and now I’ll say hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop.’

Gift of melody notwithstanding, the one thing that keeps me from totally tuning out ‘Pop’ is its hip-hop elements — the boasting, the scratching, the ‘dirty pop’ element. (And isn’t ‘dirty pop’ a great catchphrase for the current strand of uber-produced hip-hop that’s infiltrated the charts? Insidious, crystal clean production backing up the balling & brawling of ‘that unsavory element’ your parents always told you to avoid’) As far as ‘Pop’ goes – the music’s great. The words, they ain’t. If only Justin & Co. tired of singing earlier in the song’ (You’d probably rather read what Tom had to say about this song, wouldn’t you? I know I would. Click here for the truth!)

But, you know, given that hip-hop already has a stranglehold on the charts, shifts millions of records a week, and is firmly entrenched in many critical circles as well, isn’t he just pointing out that the sun is blue? Or something? Especially now that hip-hop has acquired the gift of melody, thereby softening the harsh reality of the thug life. In her latest single, Eve’s pushing the chorus, in conjunction with Gwen Stefani, an unlikely partner-in-crime. (And Gwen’s been featured prominently in TWO singles — who cares if she doesn’t actually have “the voice”? She certainly has the “star quality”.) And the ladies know whereof they speak — ‘Don’t fight that good shit in your ear; now let me blow ya mind.’ That melodic nugget dropped in the middle of those laid-back Dre bleeps is sweeter than strawberry syrup; the verse where Eve starts singing as the oh!s float around her voice makes my teeth hurt. These sirens beckon my ship towards the rocks, and even tying me to the mast can’t keep me from running aground.

And then there’s R. Kelly, a man/island that could sing ‘Lady Godiva’s Operation’ with accompanyment by Einsturzende Neubauten and still shift units. Throw him in a Santana song, add a preamble by Jay-Z for the remix — it’s not rocket science. Ever since he ditched the movie soundtracks & the it’s-a-wonderful-world sentiment, R. can do no wrong. He sings the word ‘nizzight’ like a blissed-out Nate Dogg. He drops in the Chi-Lites reference that Hammer besmirched many moons ago without regret or remorse. He cusses as much as Eddie Murphy used to (when he was, you know, Richard Pryor funny). And my, my, my, my, when you put it all together, it’s a lilting tango that doesn’t make you think twice about what you & your honey are swaying to. See, Justin? It’s not what you’re saying; it’s how you say it. Like this – hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop.