When I was in Nicaragua last summer I was watching MTV Central America and a really amazing program came on called VBS.TV. The episode I saw had a segment called “Toxic Brooklyn” and another called “Toxic Alberta” (above) that described in great detail how polluted and messed up these celebrated places are. It didn’t take me too long to figure out that the show was produced by Vice magazine. Their trademark biting sense of humor was there, but the message”at least the one they syndicated”was deeper than their printed “Dos and Don’ts” style critiques (not that those aren’t a hoot…).
The reporting was thoughtful, sharp, challenging and funny. I made a note to start watching the program on MTV in the States. When I got home, I discovered that VBS.TV isn’t syndicated in on US television. It turns out that although MTV is involved with producing the channel, which exists at www.vbs.tv, they haven’t found the programming suitable for North American audiences. Another head-scratcher: Why aren’t the countries that would actually benefit most from these programs being given the chance to see them on the boob toob? Their tagline pretty much says it all: “Rescuing you from television’s death like grip.”