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Drips & Dregs: The Kids Are Alright

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When people reflect back on MTV's prime years of cultural influence it's typically to lament the current state of the network, and that’s fair.  If you haven’t checked in on MTV in a while, things are pretty rough over at the former global epicenter of pop culture.


Music videos reached their apex as an art form  in the early 90’s after ten plus years of feeble efforts to make music watchable coming out of the late 70’s and into the late 80’s. During those early days of the medium musicians floundered around with the format

because like anything else that’s new, finding a winning formula relies on pure trial and error.  

But for every cringe inducing video like Journey’s Separate Ways there were revolutionary leaps forward like A-Ha’s Take On Me or perhaps the greatest music video of all time Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer.

 Music videos impacted us more than people talk about today. How we would go on to enjoy movies and TV was directly informed by hours watching hair metal bands or that dude jump through Axl Rose & Stephanie Seymour's wedding cake.  And that brings me to the youth of 2024. Because we've gone from music videos to TikTok as the medium that dominates what kids are watching and shaping their relationship with pop culture. And despite the fact that some think kids are watching too much TikTok, you know what? It’s going to work out just fine for them.


Do you realize how much of my youth I spent on my couch watching nothing at all? And by nothing at all I mean whatever was on TV because sitting and watching TV was the goal; it wasn't watching what was actually on the TV. My friend and I would sometimes sit in his parents' recliners and watch The Weather Channel…for way longer than you’d think anyone would actually watch The Weather Channel.


(If you haven’t been on TikTok I can tell you that the experience is exceedingly more exciting than watching hours of The Weather Channel.)


If I’m being honest I’m jealous. Growing up on things like TikTok are accelerating the development of a good sense of humor as well as the understanding of human emotions way more than watching the video for Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love ever could.  Plus it’s not hard to participate yourself and make your own videos. The closest I got to something like that when I was a kid was lip syncing Born in the USA on a borrowed camcorder.

Look I know it’s easy to look down on social media and platforms like TikTok especially

when it comes to kids being on there, but I have the app open right now and here are the first 3 things that come up when I start scrolling. I'm seriously writing down what I see as I write this and I'm going to tell you why each of these things are better than 8 hours of couch time watching Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince music videos in 1988:


TikTok 1: A one man band busking in Mexico.

This is literally a solo dude with drums on his back, playing guitar and other instruments and covering The Beatles Don’t Let Me Down in a park in Mexico. I could probably stop here.  Any one of these things alone is better than 1980’s MTV.


TikTok 2: A comedic video of a young man having a spiritual experience due to the fact that he just had a ‘no wipes required’ bowel movement.

Again, what more do we need here? This is funny now when I'm 48. When I was 13 I would have literally exploded while laughing if I had seen something like this.


TikTok 3: A very short film by a stand up comedian documenting his reaction to making 'the perfect joke' when no one was around. 

An invaluable lesson to young people who come across this as films like these help our youth understand satire, filmmaking and comedic timing. Also bonus points for  the video incorporating Where Is My Mind by The Pixies. 


So look, the next time you’re annoyed by your kids or someone else’s kids (or anyone really) scrolling through TikTok or YouTube or whatever just remember…the kids are alright…better than us in fact.

Drips & Dregs is the weekly column from Rock Fight Founder Colin True.

Sometimes outdoorsy and always outdoor adjacent, check in weekly to see what is on his mind.


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