Jun 01

The Pornography of Semiotics

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6/22/2001 12:33:18 AM

Depeche Mode, the “Dream On” video. I like the fact that they all look so geezerish in this, appropriate since the callow boys of “Just Can’t Get Enough” are now the second oldest band on MTV, right next to Aerosmith. They’re grand masters, granddaddies…and sadly, they go for the quasi-acoustic sound that signifies maturity, just like Madonna does.

6/22/2001 12:24:56 AM

Lifehouse. I guess if the music thing doesn’t work out, the lead singer can always audition for Dawson’s Creek.

6/22/2001 12:19:39 AM

A Mr. John Griffiths wrote in to tell me that the wonderful thing about the Nikka Costa video is that it’s a non-teener “agressively slutting and strutting her butt out.” Yes, agreed. And agreeing prevents me from having to say another dumb little thing about Sum 41 or whatever they’re called.

6/22/2001 12:14:30 AM

Let me amend that. They’re from St. Louis (like compatriot Nelly) and make this outsider status a source of perverse pride. Yet they’re grossed out by it all, too, using absurd stock characters like old men and mommas in laundromats in the same condescending way David Lee Roth did in his solo videos.

6/22/2001 12:10:32 AM

I’ve seen the St. Lunatics video about three times before today, and the only thing I’m moved to say it is that I really wish they wouldn’t make fun of old people.

6/22/2001 12:08:49 AM

Three-quarters finished, and maybe my acutest moment of pleasure comes from Nikka Costa’s “Like A Feather.” She may very well turn out to be the female Black Crowes (or the white Lenny Kravitz), so deftly does she master the stock sonic imagery of seventies funk. But she really puts out, agressively slutting and strutting her butt out on the floor in front of this giant lit wall in this outrageous groupie costume.

6/22/2001 12:01:50 AM

One of my favorite bit in the Focus Group was David Sim’s line about Safri Duo: “Outside every dance tent, at every festival, there’s a wanker with a pair of tom-toms. Someone’s given him a record contract.” In contrast, the didgeridoo burnout gets a shot at fifty bucks or so on Sink or Swim. The show ends with a peanut-butter & jelly licking routine, ’nuff said, nuff said.

6/21/2001 11:54:15 PM

Becoming Destiny’s Child might actually be interesting because what Destiny’s Child does in a video is so much more physically demanding than what Blink 182 does. You could have fun just sinking your teeth into the technical aspect of it all.

6/21/2001 11:47:41 PM

A cocky frat boy with melonous pecs. That describes at least another quarter.

6/21/2001 11:46:36 PM

More sorority sisters with a dream and some dance moves. This pretty much describes at least one-quarter of these routines.

6/21/2001 11:42:58 PM

Where’s the entertainment in shaving one’s hair off? Maybe they did it for all the hair fetishists out there…

6/21/2001 11:39:18 PM

At least it’s a new show.

Chubby pale guy in a thong. Hoo-kay. That’s the kind of amateurishness we’re dealing with here. Not just in front of the camera but behind as well. I mean, putting on our little end-of-the-college-year productions were really fun and all, but were weren’t doing it for basic cable. And this next duo’s trying to shave off all their hair off to Daft Punk in forty seconds..

6/21/2001 11:34:40 PM

Oh, this is a fucking nightmare. They’re showing Sink or Swin again. The goddamned schedule’s wrong!

6/21/2001 11:32:17 PM

Incidentally, if you want to discuss this blog, mosey on over to I Love Music.

6/21/2001 11:23:56 PM

There is the potential for young adult/older fella sex, though. Oh, I could explain, but it would be too involved to hold anyone’s interest, my own included. You’d think that such a spectacle would be completely repulsive to MTV’s target demographic, but I guess not. No wait…the older guy gets a heart towards the end, how convenient.

6/21/2001 11:18:11 PM

Nothing to talk about, no cliches or archetypes, no flamboyance, nothing that sticks out. In other words, no pornography of semiotics.

6/21/2001 11:11:57 PM

OK, one scene got a perfectly unintentional laugh by me — an extra in a gym scene is riding an exercycle as slow as possible. You had to be there.

6/21/2001 11:06:05 PM

They’re showing the same Spyder Games episode they did at 7:00. C’mon, Michael…say something witty.

6/21/2001 11:02:47 PM

OK, I admit they’ve got me. I don’t want to watch another episode, but I’m hoping the Harvard guy makes it. He looks a little like Mike Nelson from MST3K.

6/21/2001 10:58:24 PM

The program goes well out of its way to that yeah, even if you’re geeky, you do have a chance to be a wrestler, or any other kind of superstar. A couple of the finalists don’t have typical wrestler bodies. MTV likes to draw lines in the sand between the cool and the uncool again and again, but recognizes that if gets too snobby and elitist, they’ve just drawn people out of the fantasy, people they’ll need to sell things to.

6/21/2001 10:50:30 PM

The folks at MTV must love shows like Tough Enough because it allows people who usually are behind the scenes — casting directors and what not — lots of camera time. I don’t think there’s any other TV channel that gives its production people so much air time.

6/21/2001 10:44:08 PM

I say she’s a plant because watching MTV, you can’t trust any moment in it. Even the most spontaneous-looking moments can be faked. It knows what you’re watching is frequently stupid and fake, and even secretly congratulates you for your ability to see right through it all.

6/21/2001 10:37:22 PM

So the big husky guy comes in and berates the assorted throng of shortlisted contestants to see who makes the mistake of having a bad attitude. One girl makes the mistake of remaining alseep while he bellows. Feh. She’s a plant.

6/21/2001 10:28:07 PM

Nearly all the potential female contestants giggle like a Valley Girl when asked a question. They’ve got a lot to learn.

6/21/2001 10:24:53 PM

One of the contestants is asked if he’s got a girlfriend. Ha! Such an obvious leading question. What if a guy answered that he had a boyfriend?

6/21/2001 10:19:43 PM

That’s the entertainment of MTV’s reality shows…seing people fall apart and lose that self-consciousness, not being aware of that hidden camera.

6/21/2001 10:15:16 PM

An obligatory humiliation scene where fat, obviously out-of-shape people audition for the show. Their crime isn’t that they’ve got rolls of cellulite in unpleasant places; their true crime is their complete lack of self-consciousness. In MTV’s world, if you’re not hyper-aware of how others see you, you’re dust.

6/21/2001 10:10:20 PM

It occurs to me that I don’t like wrestling for the same reasons I never warmed to Broadway musicals. It’s not just fake, it’s histrionically fake.

6/21/2001 10:07:33 PM

Another wrestling show: WWF Tough Enough. It’s supposed to be a a Real World/Survivor-style reality program. Whatever.

Never understood the appeal of wrestling. It’s definitely not a generational thing, ’cause wrestling first exploded back when I was a kid in elementary school.

6/21/2001 10:02:43 PM

It’s been hard to talk about MTV. Sometimes I find myself just staring at the TV set, soaking in passively what I see without a thought — much a less a decently formed sentence — in my head. There was a promo bumper about ten-plus years ago where this pro bowler…ah, hey, that’s the Gorillaz video!

6/21/2001 09:54:32 PM

There is now the threat of more wrestling shows.

6/21/2001 09:53:05 PM

I’m actually coming away from this show thinking that maybe The Rock isn’t an idiot. I didn’t think he was dumb or anything, but he does have a, uh, gravitas in interview that I wouldn’t expect. His speech sometimes gets oddly clipped and precise, too.

6/21/2001 09:45:10 PM

What Dave Navarro video?

6/21/2001 09:40:16 PM

…yet, of course, he wants to get into acting. I’m watching an episode of Diary with The Rock, incidentally. I’m going cap both words in case he wants to kick my ass. Hey, all the titles are in the lowercase Futura font, just like in the Freaky Trigger Focus Group IV.

6/21/2001 09:35:32 PM

The Rock shouldn’t ever sound stilted when he says the phrase “your candy asses.”

6/21/2001 09:32:07 PM

And John Lee Hooker’s dead.

6/21/2001 09:30:16 PM

This show says nothing about how to be a musician, much less how to be Blink 182; what it shows is how to be a proper fan.

6/21/2001 09:27:54 PM

I just can’t watch this.

6/21/2001 09:27:43 PM

“Man, he told us ‘be punk.'” And they even bought in Janine, too.

6/21/2001 09:22:44 PM

What would a Becoming Iggy Pop and the Stoogesshow be like? Or Becoming Phil Spector? Or GG Allin…I guess they’d have to bring in a consultant to show the participants how to eat shit on stage.

6/21/2001 09:21:10 PM

“I look at myself in the mirror and think ‘man, I can do this.'” No, no, no. Dangerous illusion, that. Are these guys really so literal-minded that they believe if they look the part, that’ll be enough?

6/21/2001 09:19:52 PM

There’s a hair stylist in this show. A hair stylist.

6/21/2001 09:17:26 PM

Why isn’t there a show about actually giving musicians, not fans a chance? Well, the logic of Becoming suggests to me that if any MTV show focused on talented unknowns, it’d have to foucs on hacks, or at least hacks manque, dully and compentantly aping existing attractive trends. Look at VH1’s Bands on the Run

6/21/2001 09:11:07 PM

According to the MTV schedule, this show is supposed to premiere on July 10th. What gives?

6/21/2001 09:09:52 PM

I’m fucking squirming now. This should not be encouraged at all. The band (the real band) even gives them a little, completely uninspired video to encourage them, and the band (the fake one) headbang to Blink in a limo.


  1. 1
    liu xue ping on 27 Jul 2006 #


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