How long has MTV been on the air now, anyway? Almost 20 years, and they still don't have the slightest idea of what they're doing. Like the blandest of pop radio stations, MTV chooses a handful of videos out of the thousands produced each year, and runs them incessantly for months. Even my beloved TRL (Total Request Live) -- which ostensibly gives the viewer a chance to see the videos they want -- is a crock of crap because the viewer really only has a choice of the same four goddam videos! I'm telling you, it's like living in communist Russia without the benefit of the vodka!
That's why I've fallen in love, Love, LOVE with "The Box" (Local viewers with basic AT&T cable can find it on channel 98, and if you have digital cable, on channels 471-474, as well). A sort of "home jukebox for the Spam sandwich set," the Box brings you music videos, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Actually, that's not true -- they bring you music videos for most of the day, seven days a week; that's when they aren't showing the scrambled Playboy channel, which is sometimes pretty fun, too.
Here's how it works: The Box has a library of over 1600 videos, including the newest pop, rock, and rap, as well as sexy R&B, horny Latin music, and straw-chawin' country. Got a hankerin' for Don Henley's 1987 hit, Boys of Summer? They've got that, too! From the Thompson Twins to Krazie Bone, the Box probably has something you want to see, and serves it up without having to wait for some suit-wearing MTV asshole to decide it's hip. Plus, by watching the Box, you'll undoubtedly be tipped off to songs you (or the previously mentioned MTV assholes) would never have heard of otherwise.
Of course there's a downside: First, you have to find the song you want, and if you don't have easy access to the Internet, you're forced to watch an endless stream of numbered video titles until you find what you're after. Then you have to call up their 900 number and fork over a whopping $1.99 for a single song. Now, maybe $1.99 doesn't sound like a lot of money to YOU, but to put it into some perspective, $1.99 can buy a 40 oz. bottle of Olde English. And in the end, what am I gonna have more fun with -- my eight-ball, or the new Sporty Spice video? I rest my case.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that certain record producers are using the Box solely to promote the career of 15-year-old Mandy Moore. Who is this Mandy Moore, anyway?? I swear to Christ she was absolutely nobody before her video Candy began showing up every hour on the Box! Now she's got her own website (www.mandymoore.com), posters, concert appearances, and pretty soon she's going to out-Britney Britney! Is this what Americans really need? I think it is NOT!
Regardless of Mandy Moore's eventual rise to the top of the music industry empire, I think the Box is pretty hot shit, and deserves a far better fate than what AT&T is planning to do with it. Unless something drastic happens, the cable gods are planning to sweep away the Box's digital channels and replace them with VH1 Rock, Jazz, Soul, and (brace yourselves) VH1 Country. I mean, Jesus! Don't they already have enough channels devoted to those inbred, moonshine-drinkin', corncob-pipe-smokin' hillbillies? I'm sorry, but given a choice between Garth Brooks and Mandy Moore... GIVE ME MY MANDY MOORE!
We must do whatever we can to stop this blatant miscarriage of justice! If you really want to keep enjoying the Box, drop your "Free Mumia" sign, call up AT&T (206-527-5300), and say, "Mumia is going to fry because YOU decided to take away the Box! I HOPE YOU'RE SATISFIED."