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ⓘ MTV Generation




                                     

ⓘ MTV Generation

The MTV Generation refers to the adolescents and young adults of the 1980s and early-mid 1990s, a time when many were influenced by MTV television channel, which launched in 1981. The term is not to be confused with Generation X, most of whom reached adulthood in the 1990s.

                                     

1. History

The origin of the phrase has been attributed to the MTV Network itself "to describe the teenagers that dominate their ratings".

The phrase came into general use more than two years after the cable networks 1981 debut. One observer notes that "By 1984, MTV was reaching 1.2 percent of the daily television audience, and more than a quarter of daily teen viewers. Children of the eighties would henceforth be known as the MTV Generation." As early as its October 13, 1984 issue, Billboard Magazine was using the term in reference to musical preferences. The phrase was later expanded to include the purchasing choices of a generation of consumers, with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency describing the demographic in a 1985 presentation entitled "The New American Consumers", with one business columnist noting that "We baby boomers are raising what J. Walter calls the MTV Generation and these 12 to 19 year olds are unbelievably affluent." Bret Easton Ellis was called the "voice of the MTV generation" as early as 1985, after the publication of his first novel, Less Than Zero.

MTV broadcast a documentary titled MTV Generation in 1991. Reviewing it, the New York Times described the group as "young adults struggling to establish a cultural niche for themselves, something that will distinguish them from the hippies and baby boomers and yuppies of times past." The documentary depicts the MTV Generation as characterised by cynicism, uncertainty, and an ability to process information quickly, and focusing on diversions and retro interests.

"Much has been written about the so-called "baby buster" generation - the fairly anonymous group of 20ish young adults struggling to separate themselves from the shadow of the baby boomers. The groups newest moniker, "the MTV generation," might be the most accurate description yet. For while much has been made about the generations lack of a single unifying theme or experience, its members seem to have one thing in common: music videos."

In 1991, author Douglas Coupland said of the label: "MTV would like to have us believe that everyone in their 20s is the MTV Generation. Thats like going through life with a big product placement tattooed on your head, as if theyre the only cultural influence on the entire planet." Coupland also said MTV had a mostly positive and profound impact on his generation. In 1991 he stated, "I was in Europe last summer and MTV is everywhere. Its in the bars, in the homes, in the coffee shops. I didnt realize how completely global it was and what it has done to homogenize youth culture."

                                     

2. MTV Generation Award

In 2005, MTV began honoring prominent actors of the generation with the MTV Generation Award. Honorees include:

  • 2017: The Fast and the Furious franchise
  • 2012: Johnny Depp
  • 2014: Mark Wahlberg
  • 2013: Jamie Foxx
  • 2019: Dwayne Johnson
  • 2018: Chris Pratt
  • 2005: Tom Cruise
  • 2006: Jim Carrey
  • 2015: Robert Downey, Jr.
  • 2008: Adam Sandler
  • 2011: Reese Witherspoon
  • 2009: Ben Stiller
  • 2010: Sandra Bullock
  • 2016: Will Smith
  • 2007: Mike Myers
                                     
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