There are a lot of generational categories that get flung around in the media — Baby Boomer, Generation X, Generation Y, Millennial, Pod People. The categories are mostly arbitrary ways for capitalism to sell us things, because there’s just no way an entire generation of Westerners has the same likes, dislikes, and experiences. However, someone on Twitter recently said that there’s a specific split between Millennials — those of us that remember the sound of a dial tone and those of us that don’t. We’d like to put forth a more specific argument for the fissure between Millennials — those of us that remember when MTV was actually all about music videos and those of us that only remember it as a reality TV source. (It goes without saying that this also means we probably watched MTV as a channel, on an actual, physical television.)
For the next 11 years, MTV would be exactly what it stood for — Music Television. MTV would play music videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and by doing so, became the voice of an entire generation (Generation X, and subsequently early Millennials, if you want to be aggressive and split hairs about it). Singles were highlighted and launched with essentially mini-movies — in 1983, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” clocking in at 14 minutes, would become MTV’s first world premiere video.
MTV and its subsidiaries aren’t as relevant as they were 30 years ago because our media landscape has changed so, so much, partially because of MTV’s influence on our culture at large. Whether you loved them as a music video outlet, as a reality TV outlet, or as a modern-day YouTube reality star outlet, MTV’s influence will still be felt for decades to come — so let’s honor their potential demise with MTV tattoos. MTV might not stand for Music Television anymore, but we don’t care. Fire up your VHS player and pop your Walkman headphones on — MTV tattoos are here to stay, forever.