The article in question dwells upon a famous TV channel which is seen as a threat to morality and Christian values. It is noted that some people believe that MTV is a channel controlling the “most up-front element of defiant youth culture” (Hamerlinck 44). Nonetheless, the author states that the channel is one of many products of capitalism and mass production and has nothing to do with a source forming morality or people’s mindsets. I totally agree with the author as I believe that MTV doers not form a mindset but serves as a reflection of the modern society with its values. Clearly, it cannot be regarded as a competitor of the Catholic (or any other) church.
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MTV and People’s Values
MTV as a Product of Capitalism
Religious activists note that MTV is forming certain opinions and affects young people’s minds while in realty the channel simply responds to its audience needs and wants. Some claim that the Beatles and some other bands and performers are responsible for “deifying personal and subjective feelings, and establishing self-satisfaction as the principal goal of existence” (qtd. in Hamerlinck 44).
Therefore, some people stress that MTV spreads such values and makes young people focused on their self-satisfaction rather than Christian values. It is possible to assume that bands and singers popularize some ideas as young people tend to try to be like their idols. Nonetheless, it is more likely that singers and bands in their songs focus on ideas which are already in the air. Any song is a story told by a performer. This is the way he/she responds to certain events in his/her life or in the world.
Remarkably, the author claims that MTV does not create viewpoints and mindsets but becomes a reflection of needs of people. More so, Hamerlinck argues that MTV can be regarded as “the gospel of capitalism” (45). MTV as any other channel is trying to attract as many consumers as possible. It is clear that MTV is a business which serves to give people what they want. Actually, this is one of the principles of capitalism. Obviously, the channel does not create rules but simply follows them.
MTV did not create the values of capitalism but was created by the needs of people in the capitalistic world. Therefore, it is possible to state that the channel is a product of capitalism and it reflects trends which persist in the society. Again, the musical channel becomes a place where stories of performers are told in a very entertaining form. Moreover, the channel does not pay a lot of attention to the ideas articulated by performers but aims at promoting bands and singers as well as certain products (songs, CDs, numerous things advertised and so on).
MTV Cannot Compete with the Church
The author also mentions another important point concerning the attitude of the Catholic Church to the channel. The author notes that some religious activists tried to ban the channel as it spread inappropriate “narcissistic” messages to the youth (Hamerlinck 44). In other words, those people believed MTV served as a channel to promote ideas reflected in popular songs. Those people also thought that the channel acquired certain traits of a source of some immoral ideas.
However, the author stresses that MTV cannot be a competitor to the Christian church as even the idea that the channel “represents any kind of… alternative to religion is ridiculous” (Hamerlinck 45). Admittedly, a product of capitalism and mere business cannot become a moral milestone for people. No one switches to MTV to learn how to live better or solve a difficult situation. People do not address the channel and do not expect to get a moral or ethical guidance.
MTV and Humanism
People will never find a set of values on MTV as the channel may only spread some ideas which can facilitate sales. The author emphasizes that messages sent by the channel which can be regarded as “social responsibility” ideas are simply used to “comfort potential advertisers” (Hamerlinck 45).
More so, according to Hamerlinck, MTV has nothing to do with humanism or moral development of people and viewers do not try to find this on the channel as there are numerous other alternatives (45). This channel helps people distract themselves from serious things. The channel does not provide humanistic orientations to follow. Hence, MTV cannot be seen as an ethical or moral pillar and it cannot compete with religion.
To sum up, it is possible to state that MTV should not be seen as a source of moral orientations and, hence, cannot become a competitor to the Church. The channel is a product of capitalistic society. It does not create values but reflects ideas as well as entire the society. Religious activists should not try to ban the channel. They should observe and research. Through this channel, religious activist can learn more about the society and youth and they can try to understand what guidance people need. Thus, MTV can become an effective tool in the hands of those who can make people live in a more righteous way.
Hamerlinck, John. “MTV and Morality.” Music and Culture. Ed. Anna Tomasino. New York, NY: Longman, 20046. 44-46. Print.