The article in question focuses on a famous TV channel that some people see as a threat to morality and Christian values. Some people believe that the MTV channel controls the “most up-front element of defiant youth culture” (Hamerlinck 44). In opposition to these views, the author contends that the channel has nothing to do with forming morality or creating people’s mindsets since it is only one of many products of capitalism and mass production.
I agree with the author’s view as I believe that MTV does not form a mindset but only serves as a reflection of modern society and its values. It cannot be regarded as a competitor to the Catholic (or any other) church. The MTV is a creation of the capitalistic force, which does not provide or purport to provide principles that the society members can live by and as such, it cannot be regarded as a competitor to churches/religion.
MTV and People’s Values
MTV as a Product of Capitalism
Religious activists claim that MTV promotes the formation of certain opinions and affects young people’s minds. In reality, the channel simply responds to the needs and wants of its audience. Some hold the famous Beatles band and other performers responsible for “deifying personal and subjective feelings, and establishing self-satisfaction as the principal goal of existence” (qtd. in Hamerlinck 44).
From this supposition, it is claimed that MTV spreads such values and makes young people focused on their self-satisfaction rather than Christian values. The assumption can be made that musicians popularize some ideas since young people tend to imitate their idols. Nonetheless, there is a higher likelihood that singers and bands focus on already popular ideas in society through their songs. The performer tells a story using his song and it serves as a way of responding to certain events in the performer’s life or the world.
Remarkably, the author claims that MTV does not create viewpoints and mindsets but becomes a reflection of people’s needs. More so, Hamerlinck argues that MTV can be regarded as “the gospel of capitalism” (45). Just like any other commercial channel, MTV’s primary goal is to attract as many consumers as possible. The channel is a business that serves to give people what they want. This is one of the core principles of capitalism. As such, the channel does not create rules but simply follows them.
The needs of people in the capitalistic world created MTV rather than the channel creating the values of capitalism. The channel can be regarded as a product of capitalism which reflects trends that persist in society. Again, the musical channel becomes a place where performers tell their stories in a very entertaining manner. 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 such as songs, CDs, and the numerous things advertised on the channel.
MTV and the Church
The author mentions another important point concerning the attitude of the Catholic Church towards the channel. He notes that some religious activists tried to ban the channel as it spread inappropriate “narcissistic” messages to the youth (Hamerlinck 44). In other words, the opponents of this channel believed that MTV served as a medium for promoting ideas reflected in popular songs. The same people contended that the channel acted as 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). 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 difficult situations in life. People do not address the channel and they do not expect to get moral or ethical guidance from it.
MTV and Humanism
People will never find a set of values on MTV since the channel only spreads the ideas that 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).
In addition to this, Hamerlinck argues that MTV has nothing to do with humanism or the moral development of people and viewers do not try to find this on the channel as there are numerous other alternatives (45). MTV helps people distract themselves from serious things. The channel does not provide humanistic orientations to follow. Consequently, MTV cannot be seen as an ethical or moral pillar and it cannot compete with religion.
In conclusion, 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 the capitalistic society. It does not create values but reflects ideas prevalent in society. Religious activists should not try to ban the channel. Instead, they should observe and research from the channel. Through this channel, religious activists can learn more about society and the youth.
From this, they can understand what guidance people need. As such, MTV can become an effective tool in the hands of those who endeavor to perpetuate moral living among members of society.
Hamerlinck, John. “MTV and Morality.” Music and Culture. Ed. Anna Tomasino. New York, NY: Longman, 2004. 44-46. Print.