An Open Letter to MTV

Dear MTV Execs,

I’m a single, 28 year old female who’s been watching MTV since you first aired “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

What I want to know is, in over the decade since that shining moment, WHAT HAPPENED?

Suddenly, I’m finding that my same age group that made you who you are, are now almost discounted from your shows. What do I mean you are asking yourself? Simple. Almost every, no make that EVERY teevee show you are currently producing or have in production caters to the 15-26 crowd, in fact save for ONE show in your whole production schedule, no one CAN BE over the age of 25.

You seem to forget, oh dear MTV execs, that it is those of us OVER the age of 25 that helped bring your channel to what it is today. Our spending habits, our hobbies, our change in fashion, our thought and opinions which you have so SHAMELESSLY promoted before are now being ignored as my age group is now being shuffled over to VH1. The humility and the ageism of this is disgusting. It is as if you are promoting that the only way to enjoy the music is to be youthful.

As I am growing older, I’m noticing the ageism that is existing all over the place. In some places it’s needed (voting rights, drinking rights) but on a television channel that caters to music, where some of the greatest bands themselves are over the age of 30, you use ageism to segregate the shows.

I have one simple question:

Why?

Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we enjoy the music any less or that we won’t be spending as much. A lot of us are not settled with children but have LARGE disposable incomes ready at our disposal to spend on crap that you shell out with each new band that keeps being produced. Every day I’m noticing this trend where the pop stars are getting younger, the shows are getting younger and those of us that actually HAVE THE INCOME to spend on the concerts, the merchandise and what not are over your age limit.

Why?

Within the last few years, I stopped watching MTV. All the good television shows that had some merit (120 Minutes, Amp, Liquid Television) — which were, may i remind you, about videos to begin with — were suddenly replaced with crap shows such as “Undressed” and more crappy Real World episodes. Is it not enough that we have soap operas on from noon to four pm everyday and prime time television shows that cater to the melodramatic in us all, but on a MUSIC CHANNEL? The fact that we have to see a show about “seven strangers!” who get “real!” on camera. Puh-lease. It’s all fake. You know that. I know that. We know that the shows are edited for content and that taking 24 hours of time and widdling it down to 1/2 hour is just plain stupid. The concept at first was good (and original like your first shows) — then suddenly the shows degraded to the point that you could interchange any of the characters in any of the shows and it wouldn’t matter because it would be the same damn thing but different location.

Why?

Why has MTV stopped being about music and became more about commercialism? Why has MTV stopped actually SHOWING videos and started showing in its stead crappy “series” based in the 15-25 demographic? Why are you constantly attempting to promote ideas of a cultural political village when you are segregating and alienating that same group?

MTV used to be on the edge. You could turn on 120 minutes and see the best music coming out of the indie/college scenes and see new ideas of style. You could watch liquid television and get addicted to its pull like crack. You could have a choice: you knew that Club MTV was on at 4, but you could see videos of your favorite artists afterwards. You’re taking out the content and putting serial fluff that is basically hogwash with fluff content showing teenagers today that the key to being cool is being an airhead. At one point, MTV used to be the cool kid on the block where people could watch and learn and see and now it’s becoming nothing more than a corporation of mass hysteria.

I’m a 28 year old female who still owns vinyl and remembers when the compilations from 120 minutes and “MTV party to go” meant something. I’m nothing but one voice — but one voice who represents many people who feel the same way as I do and yet feel that they can’t or shouldn’t say anything because how can one person change the world?

You may feel that I have my choice, and I do, to not watch your shows. I don’t. I may also have the choice of watching MTV2 if i was so disgruntled with your services, but I can’t as it’s not available in my area. You may also feel that I can watch VH1 but I choose not to as I can’t relate to that genre. Maybe I’ll always be 18 inside, but you gave me an opportunity to be heard via music and now you have removed that opportunity and THAT makes me angry.

I know this letter will end up in the circle bin. And maybe whoever reads this will feel some pangs of empathy. But as long as i know that it has written and that I will no longer actively watch your station nor the products that i see being advertised there, I feel a whole lot better.

Sincerely,
Lisa M. Rabey
An original GenXer

bodice rippers

brian and i had been walking around bNn tonight (last night?) when i confessed my passion for bodice rippers. jackie collins, judith krantz — the whole strong woman whose been beaten, raped, damn near mutilated but by the time she’s 30 she’s the owner of her own successful company, beautiful, thin and perfect to the bone. And, you can’t forget, that in the end, she always gets her man.

i think those damn things are probably part of my problem. though i haven’t admittedly picked up a good old fashioned bodice ripper in ages (though jackie collins has released a few new books and i’m trying really hard not to read them), it brought to mind tonight after having sex with paul, part of my problem.

you see, i’m a reader. a voracious one at that. some freaky guy in texas has been keeping a book list since he was like four (there is of course the obvious link but i can’t find it now). and most of what i read, obviously has impact on my thoughts and feelings. and i’ll read anything, that i will, being the book whore that i am. i’ve already finished harry potter and the sorcerers stone and have books 2 and 3 on order with amazon. books by f scott fitzgerald, terry pratchett, and a biography on cleopatra sit on my bedstand (amongst others).

this all has to play about my idea about love and romance.

of fucking course (you knew this was going to be cliched didn’t you?)

i’ve always had this ideal — this man, who would come and take my blues away (like calgon — but with a penis). and every man i have ever dated and met has always lived short of that ideal because DING DIN GDING he doesn’t really exist. but he’s safe enough to make real and happy because then no one can touch me.

except for paul.

paul is a lot of wonderful things. pauls is also a lot of nasty things just as i am full of wonderful things as well as some very horrid things. for the last few days i’ve been in a snitch about something. there is no rhyme or reason to what i’ve been being in a snitch about just that I have been and that is important to this dialogue.

paul once said it would probably would have been better if i had a guy that was just a dog. because then that way everyone would be happy and i would stop bitching.

which is to say, that i say i want one thing and expect something else entirely.

(and this would suffice to say go on with the rant on why i generally hate the female species but i won’t go there).

I keep forgetting that relationships take work. and they take time to mature. i’m not talking about the passion here (insert oblig REM reference), i’m talking about understanding, love, friendship, and trust. Most, with me, does not come easy. YOU HAVE TO EARN IT BABY!

So yeah, i totally hate our media. i keep thinking of the “friends” episode where monica proposes to chandler, and i’m thinking “why don’t I have that?” and then it takes a ton of bricks to realize that i do have that. Pauls not fucking perfect. Well, neither am I. but together, we are perfect.

We have our bad days and we have our good days. and some days are better than others. But the thing is, we want to make this work. We want to make this relationship — really last and not be a flash in the pan of lust and hot sexors every night. And that some days I’m gonna want to either love him to pieces or rip his penis off and other days he’s going to want to chop my tits off.

BUT THAT IS US.

I mean, that is us, in a nutshell. because we are a real couple with real feelings, everything gets amplified. this isn’t something that is going to be solved on page 10 and our relationship isn’t going to end when the sweeps are over.

and that my friends, is what i can’t gel in my betty paige looking head.

like most people in america, i’m deathly afraid of commitment. but i’m also deathly afraid of being alone with 10 cats. i’m afraid of making the wrong decisions, the wrong choices and the wrong everything. i want my life to be a bodice ripper where everything gets worked out and my whole world will be boxed up neat and clean and set off by page 300. but real life isn’t like that. and that’s what i need to learn. that paul isn’t some schelp that i can abuse/use and that i’m not some sextoy for him to abuse/use. and we are both slowly coming to terms that that is what the problem is and that is what is making it scary and wonderful all at the same time.

because we are willing to make a stand with ourselves and willing to say hey, we love each other. this is going to work.

there are a million and one reasons why i love paul. and the best one i can think of that describes how i feel is that when my face is smushed up against his chest, THAT is home. it’s not the things around us or where we live or where we stand geographically to each other. it’s how i feel when he’s wrapped around me at night. what keeps me sane, through all my turbulent moods especially when it comes to men and relationships, is how paul treated me when my father died. his love and his understanding was what i would have wanted IDEALLY that having it happen was a dream come true.
the bottom line is, most people don’t know how to make a relationship work. because it’s hard. because it requires you to care about someone else and to provide for that person and frankly, i don’t think most people, hell adults, can make that kind of relationship work.

If i were to choose any one couple that best suited paul and i, i would have to say he was my rhett butler to my scarlett o’hara. but to those of you who are hip to GWTW, you know that Rhett leaves her at the end of the book. WRONG! In the sequel Scarlett, she does get her man.

Like me. 🙂

barnes and noble

Brian (Pauls brother) and I hit barnes and noble tonight for me to get some quality writing in and for brian to get out of the house for awhile. I came across a book in the clearance section called Writing For Self-Discovery. I had brought along my notebooks so I went ahead and sat in the cafe and started reading the damn thing. The first exercise on the very first page (which surprised me as most books go into more theory on why you should write before going to the nitty gritty) was to sit in one spot and write about what’s around you. Pick and object and go from there. This is what occurred:

barnes and noble cafe. people. feeling anxious. left breast has slight pains from being anxious. feeling stupid sitting solo at the cafe table with my white painted fingernails, people milling about. various people studying. remembering the cool cafe in Berkeley, CA where all the CalState kids went to. drank coffee. study. college. missing school. thinking of my father. small silver urn around my neck. thin people. beautiful people. grad school. college university. hard tables/chairs. people still here. sitting with Cathleen at the cafe. her sister Carolyn who was way cooler. why is it that people with “Ca” beginning names are called “cat”? on some people it sounds wrong. on others it sounds right. what can one say about the name lisa? derived from Elizabeth. fear to run. flight or fight. i ‘m in a public place and i’m scared.

dreaming about my father more. i’m not sure but it dawns on me in the bathroom tonight that the dreams are a realization he’s okay. he was younger and happier looking. there were scars on his forehead. “Dad, I say,” where are those scars from?” and he points to my necklace — the small silver urn with some of his ashes on it that i wear daily. My father, close to my heart.

i was watching la femme nikita the other night with brian and i saw what i wanted to be — her. Nikita. she is tall, blonde and perfect. except i don’t want to be blonde, just tall and perfect. and she’s was wearing this long black skirt that hung low over her hips and there was an inch or so of skin showing between her shirt and the damn skirt. with her pale skin and deep blue eyes. she looked amazingly exotic. and that was my inspiration. that is what i want to be. i have to lose 100lbs.

fuck.

i remember when i was 14? 15? I weighed 140? 150 pounds. I was like 5’9 or so. And I remember laying on my bed at night, obsessing about my weight and running my hands over my concave stomach and thinking “i’m never going to be fat. i’m not going to allow myself to get past this point in weight.”

that was 1/2 a life ago!

been reading more journals online again. going through diarist.net and sorting by women and ages and reading generally anything of anyone within my age group. and i realize that the 25-32 age bracket is nearly empty — not empty but it’s like what overcomes people between that age group to not write. i’m looking for a REASON and i’m finding it. Ana Voog is 34. Cheryl Tigs is a mom at 54. She can, next year, legally qualify for the AARP. I have 30 whole years left before I need to. And for once I smile. At the cafe. Where the cute goth girl works.

I’m obsessed about ages. People think i’m 22. Brian thought I was 22 or 23. No one believes I just turned 28. But i’m obsessed with other people’s ages. When someone tells me a story, I almost always ask “how old are they?” so that i can make the comment of “she’s immature” or “he should have known better”. and it’s stupid to gauge other people’s life by my age. at 28 i should have accomplished many things and i haven’t. but in a way, i’ve accomplished more than other people ever will. because i took chances. i took the chance, no matter how stupid, on flying to SF with nothing and making a go of it. and when that didn’t work, of driving cross country solo to another state and trying again. and seeing those stupid “jesus knows” signs along the highway. meeting paul for the first time in atlanta. BUT the thing is, i did it. myself. these are my stories and i know lots and lots of people who don’t have the balls to leave within 50 miles of where they were born.

west texas sucked.
my dad was 45 when i was born.
and today i really like me, imperfections and all.

-finis-

so tonight, when the urge struck me to redesign again (and i really do like this new design btw), i felt it. the cold crushing feeling in my chest. and it’s different from all the anxiety attacks i had before. because this time i was not obsessing about anything — I WAS FREAKING WORKING IN PHOTOSHOP. and i start crying. paul is freaking out because i can’t breathe (or so i say between the sobs). my pulse is normal but my chest felt like a ton of bricks landed on it. i call the 24 hour hot line my hmo has set up and i get picked up on the first ring. i tell the woman, mary, what is going on. she assures me i’m not having a heart attack. “you’re on klonopin” she says. “what’s your dosage?” i tell her i’m taking the bare minimum these days – .5mgs .25 in the morning and sometimes .25 later in the after noon. “did you take a dose?” she asks. “yes, i replied — a few moments ago”. klonopin takes 30 minutes to kick in before it works. she talks to me. calms me down. turns out she has done over 15 years as a coronary specialist nurse. i’m not having a heart attack. i’m so low risk it’s disgusting. ‘but this crushing” i keep telling her. it hurts. i don’t know what to do. the klonopin has been my miracle drug for the last two weeks. tonight was worse because it was fast and furious. and i’m so scared something is going on with me. she tells me if the pain doesn’t stop within the next 15 minutes, take another klonopin. after an hour, if there is still pain call. they are open 24 hours. i can be seen.

within an hour brian and i were at 7-11 buying slurpees and a big bite.