MTV is one of those organizations that I can't ever make myself commit to loving or hating. I have this problem with many things: the Democratic Party, Target, Steve Albini, hot dogs -- but the problem might be at its worst with MTV. Just when I'm prepared to write them off completely over their spring break coverage, mindless programming, and general music pimping, they come back with voter registration initiatives, anti-hate-crime documentaries, Wonder Showzen, and most recently, MTVU Campus Invasion.
Totally not as bad as it sounds: the idea behind each one is admirable, with the stated goal of the shows being to raise awareness of the problems facing the Darfur region. MTV will be pairing up with the Save Darfur Coalition on the issue, which is considered a legitimate one by pretty much everyone, everywhere. The "campus invasions" (none of which take place on any campus) will occur later this month in Austin, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, each with unique lineups: the lineup for the tragically show-starved students in Austin will include The Shins and The Rapture; the Atlanta show will feature city native Monica, Fabulous, and Rick Ross; while Philadelphians will see Dashboard Confessional, K-os, and Kenna. All shows will be supported by MTV Campus Battle of the Bands Winners.
Parts of each program, as well as artist interviews, will be shown on MTV and their website, and it should be quite interesting to see how their coverage compares to the last charity multi-concert event they covered (2005's Live 8), during which they became notorious for cutting to commercial during recently reunited Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" guitar solo -- MySpace Generation, represent. So to conclude: MTV is doing something positive, involving The Shins and The Rapture. Whether or not this is a strong step in a responsible direction for the channel remains to be seen.