M[assively] T[otally] V[acuous]

JACK RIVLIN argues that MTV’s Berlin Wall show is as tasteless as an out of date Rustlers burger.

berlin wall bono Cambridge germany katy perry mtv Tab u2

Did you hear the one about MTV, the Berlin Wall and a band named after a Nazi submarine? It’s the latest in car-crash television, an unbelievable exercise in tastelessness that has left East Germans wondering whether Marx was totally wrong about capitalism.

According to the BBC, a U2 show marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall has run into controversy – after organisers built a wall around the venue.

No I’m serious, click on the link. Not since I heard that  Rn’B ‘star’ Ironik decided on his stage name after he found it in a dictionary – and still managed to spell it wrong – have I heard something so… ironik.

At first I blamed an easy target: Bono. It’s hard to hate a man who’s cancelled more debt than Iceland’s treasury, but truly I cannot stand the sanctimonious twat. The only person outside the Brazilian football team who still thinks it’s funny to use a single, meaningless sound as their name; the musician who is worth £400million but tells us to make poverty history. It must have been his fault.

But unfortunately the real villain here isn’t U2. Berlin Wall II wasn’t the brainchild of Bono, The Edge or any other Irish popstar who is 49 years old but still goes by a playground nickname. This was the work of MTV. I don’t like watching MTV, partly because everyone else does, but mainly because it’s wank. When I switch on a channel called Music Television, I’d expect to hear some actual music. All I see are ‘documentaries’ about rich Americans whose lives are so agonizingly boring I have to stop myself from calling Dignitas.

It’s not like we didn’t know U2 were corporate puppets already: Steve Jobs has got his fist so far up Bono’s arse he can give him Vertigo just by pausing his iPod. They stand up for what is morally right, but this time’s different guys: they’re in Berlin to sing – not to get political. But the insensitivity on MTV’s part is side-splittingly tragic. Somehow you just knew that MTV, the channel that represents all that is vacuous in the Western media, would manage to fuck up a celebration of freedom in Europe’s most cultured city.

From the moment I heard Katy Perry say she wanted to bring a ‘bit of a 1930s vibe’ to Berlin I knew there would be trouble. Of all the decades to namedrop…What’s she going to do, consolidate her position for 5 years and then annex Austria? What I didn’t see coming was MTV’s attempt to top Perry’s effort by finding another dark chapter in German history to hark back to.

In the end MTV settled for 1961, which is probably just as well since the Western half of Germany was free during that time, and they’re the only ones who can afford digital TV anyway. It’s often said that the people who make idiotic drivel like The Hills are more intelligent than their high-brow counterparts. Judging by this gigantic fuck-up I’m guessing that isn’t true. Maybe they all skipped history class and now think the Berlin Wall is that mental club where Sven Vath throws pills to the crowd. More likely is this: they’re arrogant pricks who couldn’t care less about German freedom unless it’s making them money. And if they build a wall around the venue then people can’t watch it unless they have MTV. Simple really. Eat your heart out, Goebbels.