Last week the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released a report titled “Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2021.” To calculate how things are going for those of us who are, well, living, “Provisional life expectancy estimates were calculated using complete period life tables based on provisional death counts for 2021 from death records received and processed by NCHS as of April 24, 2022; provisional numbers of births for the same period based on birth records received and processed by NCHS as of May 3, 2022; and July 1, 2021, postcensal population estimates based on the 2010 decennial census.”
The results are not good. “U.S. life expectancy at birth for 2021, based on nearly final data, was 76.1 years, the lowest it has been since 1996. Male life expectancy (73.2) and female life expectancy (79.1) also declined to levels not seen since 1996.”
1996 was the year that Lisa Marie Presley filed for divorce from Michael Jackson. Chris Isaak appeared on Friends. Garth Brooks refused his American Music Award for Favorite Overall Artist because he said music is produced by a collective of people, not individuals (something that has only increased geometrically but which seems to be something not talked about). Snoop Dogg was acquitted of first-degree murder, but the voluntary manslaughter charge led to a jury deadlock and consequent mistrial. Alanis Morissette received Album of the Year Grammy for Jagged Little Pill. Phil Collins announced he was leaving Genesis. Sammy Hagar left Van Halen in June and in September the band appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards (we’re going to be getting to that) with David Lee Roth. Kiss reunited and kicked off a tour at Tiger Stadium (which the Tigers exited in 1999). The Spice Girls released “Wannabe,” their debut single. Tupac died. Eminem released his debut album.
Yes, the life expectancy today is what it was back then.
[1999-2004] may turn out to be the last stretch of time in which musical tastes could be dictated by a single authority. TRL seized on this new aesthetic and popularized it; instead of methodically building up a fanbase, an aspiring star could just get on the show (and have a great song) and launch a career. A lot of people would discover the artist simultaneously, and even as the song filtered down to radio and word-of-mouth transmission, TRL endured as the ultimate source.
Now, however, authority is diffused. A song becomes big because there’s a dance video on YouTube, or because a band has built up a critical mass of emo fans, or because it’s released a lot of respected mixtapes. An artist doesn’t try and get a song on TV so much as she tries to get people to come to her MySpace. (The only exception to this would seem to be American Idol, but it’s not really dictating tastes; instead of picking their favorite song, viewers pick their favorite artist, and then the winner is assigned a song that labels hope everyone will like. That likability still has to come through diffuse authority; witness, for instance, how many Idol runners-up have fared better than winners.) A new release is now just one more event in an ongoing celebrity narrative told by many sources and interpreted by readers on a daily basis, whether the gossip be large-scale stuff about teenpoppers or the endless churn of Internet gossip about R&B singers, rappers, and punk rockers.
I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed to admit I’ve never seen it. Before the recent hoopla over its cancellation, I had no idea that it was actually still on the air. Then again, I’ve never seen The Hills either.
And now, the Grey Lady is getting in on the action: Censorship, or What Really Weirds Out Weird Al. Apparently, his 2006 video for “Don’t Download This Song” has been censored by for MTV, and it’s starting to cause a bit of an uproar:
In an e-mail message on Sunday, Mr. Yankovic wrote that he had bleeped out the names to the file-sharing sites in his song two years ago, after MTV “told me that they would refuse to air my video” otherwise. “Instead of subtly removing or obscuring the words in the track,” he wrote, “I made the creative decision to bleep them out as obnoxiously as possible, so that there would be no mistake I was being censored.”
He complied, “because I was proud of the song and the accompanying Bill Plympton video, and I wanted to do everything I could to maximize exposure for it.”
All of this would have been largely forgotten, if not for the introduction last week of mtvmusic.com…
The names of peer-to-peer services Morpheus, Grokster, Limewire, and Kazaa are apparently too controversial for MTV to air. Do any of those still even work anymore?
MTV calls 2007 The Year The Industry Broke and gives a nice timeline of “what went wrong and when.” By James Montgomery, with additional reporting by Gil Kaufman.
Not surprisingly, there’s no mention of MTV’s own role in the fiasco that is the music industry today. They should have at least mentioned the disastrous 2007 VMAs in which Britney flopped and Justin Timberlake challenged the channel to “Play more damn videos. We don’t want to see the Simpsons on reality television. Play more videos!” And how it shuttered its lame-ass digital music store, Urge, in August. Whatever though.
It’s not cool to pile on, I know, but anyone who saw the MTV music awards is talking about the same thing: What the fuck happened to Britney Spears?
Like all MTV Music Awards openers, this was hyped to be “amazing” and “shocking” and a triumphant return for who was once the bread and butter for the dopiest channel on TV. The promise was that everyone would be talking about Britney’s performance, and they are, just not for a good reason.
Half stumbling and entirely leadfooted, Britney Spears couldn’t even bother to phone it in. Naughty Baby definitely did a No-No with an uninspired walkthrough that has pole dancers everywhere justifiably declaring: I can do that!
Sarah Silverman may have put it best when she said, “Isn’t [Spears] amazing? Just twenty five years old and she’s done everything she’s going to do with her life.” Let’s hope so.
She’s the pretty dirty girl and wet dream of dorks everywhere and now she’s hosting the MTV Movie Awards, the second lamest awards show on television—just behind the People’s Choice Awards. But I’ll be watching, which is exactly why they hired her.
I am now in a different demographic than I was just a year ago. Moving from the 18-24 bracket was fun as I could now drink AND rent a car. The transition from 25-30 was a bit more difficult as it only meant I was now a thirty-something and who could help but think of that dopey 80s drama with boring people and their boring problems? The 30-34 bracket is the new 18-24 because Americans refuse to act their age and so it was a bit of déjà vu peppered with more post-binge body aches than I’d recalled and a better paying job. But now I am 35 and life is grand. That’s why they want me.
So now MTV and Microsoft are going to get together to offer an online music service. There will be the ability to rent music. The ability to buy music. And most of all, the ability to line the pockets of Viacom and Microsoft. It’s called “URGE.”
The man in charge of this from the MTV side, Jason Hirschhorn, who has “chief digital officer” on his business card, proclaimed, “We will be the preferred service.” Of course he thinks that. Otherwise, he’d probably be working elsewhere. Corporations don’t want their people saying anything but that they’re—the corporations, that is—the very best at whatever they turn their attention to. Which, of course, doesn’t explain why there is oft times abysmal quality in the products and services that many of these behemoths turn out to the market.
Apparently New York City isn’t big enough for both MTV and the RNC. Ceding Manhattan to the invading army of potato-headed donkey punchers, the network moved its annual Video Music Awards promotional event to Miami’s American Airlines Arena. The move made sense logistically, even if the Page Six stories of hotel bar meetings between, say, Petey Pablo and Senator Sam Brownback would’ve been hilarious. But it was also a reminder of how far south the popular music axis has shifted. Crunk dominated this year’s VMAs from the window to the wall, Outkast continued to clean up (deservedly) for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and rock music was viewed only as a nuisance, represented by performances from a few tepid middlers, but best consumed in condensed form. See KRAVITZ, Lenny.