During the MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMA), Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5, tweeted, “The VMAs, one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I’m drawing a line in the sand. [expletive] you VMA’s.”

There’s no doubt that music is pretty hard to find on Music Television, but I thought the pre-show said the most about where MTV and youth culture is today.

The VMAs opened up the black carpet with the cast of “Jersey Shore”. Now there’s a number of punch lines that could follow that statement, but I will refrain due to my secret fandom of the show (don’t judge me).

The cast said some nonsense about what celebrities/musicians they were excited to see and what designer they were wearing, but in a way, I feel like Jersey Shore is the representation of youth in America. Hear me out.

The party atmosphere and the hype surrounding the event help us to forget about our daily problems and keep us entertained. Our generation is one that seeks escape more than previous generations. Our stances on politics or national and global issues do not categorize us. Instead, everything about us is compartmentalized into little Facebook icons and brands that are supposed to say something about who we are. Individuality is defined within the confines of established social groups where we pretend to find a niche.

Jersey Shore is just a show about eccentric people consuming exorbitant amounts of alcohol and going to dance clubs. This practice is followed by chauvinistic attempts of bedding multiple partners and arguing with each other over minute things that are magnified by the magic of alcohol (TV Genius).

So you’re probably wondering, “How does this define youth culture?” It defines us because we are able to vicariously experience life through these characters without actually experiencing it ourselves (although it wouldn’t be a bad gig). What I have a problem with is that as much fun as it is to watch people binge drink and fornicate, I’m not sure that I want to be defined by that superficial image.

Vicariously living through outside experiences is what categorizes us. We cultivate virtual images that have little action or substance and lots of embellishment. Being a cool person on Facebook makes you just that, a fake person with a fake virtual image.

Instead, all of us should perhaps disconnect from Facebook and actually go out in the world and do something. Our lives are currently being dictated by older generations who increasingly enjoy passing on problems they can’t fix.

Here’s a hint: They’re not going to fix them. They don’t have to because we’ll never hold them accountable. We’re too busy worrying about how we look in those new pictures posted on Facebook and the profile default pic that looks the best.

So the next time you’re watching the Jersey Shore cast debauching about and trying to figure out how to repeat their actions, remember the world is passing us by while we sit back, watch, and pretend that we’re in it. 

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