Tuesday, July 11, 2017

An open letter to the Nominating Committee

Dear members of the Nominating Committee of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Foundation and Museum,

Hi there.  You probably don't know who I am and don't care.  That's fair.  I'm merely a hobbyist of your work, formerly employed in commercial radio and not quite in touch with the world of current music anymore.  So, I'm not really anyone you should know.  If you know me from anywhere, it's from this blog or my comments on the Future Rock Legends site, assuming you pay any attention to that site either.  And if you do know who I am, you probably don't like a thing I have to say.  Slightly hurtful, but I understand.  As is often the case, people don't say much when things are running smoothly and agreeably, so blogs like this are to often express disdain about one thing or another.  In fact, in the "About Us" section on the Future Rock Legends site, this blog is listed as "Rock Hall criticism."  Admittedly, I was kind of upset about that; I always figured my blog as "Rock Hall commentary," not "criticism."  But looking over my entries, I guess that's a fair evaluation.  In fact, I might even be the one you can thank for the portmanteau "NomComm."  It might seem a little glib, but it's merely an abbreviation that's catchy to say and handy for us hobbyists.

Nevertheless, I'm taking the opportunity to use this blog to actually reach out to you.  True, I hope my regular readers and other enthusiasts will also read this, but I actually do want to turn my attention to specifically address you members of the Nominating Committee.  I apologize in advance for how long this will be.  Those who know me know brevity is not my forte.  That said, you are the gatekeepers for induction into the Hall.  Yearly, you convene to let a certain number of acts into the outer court with your list of nominations for the voters to whittle down and decide the inductees.  Tangentially, I also want to thank you for the fan vote on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's website in recent years and hope you will continue it.  (See?  Not everything is criticism!)  It is now July, and in a couple months, you will once again come to order to draft another ballot of nominees for the following year's induction ceremonies.  Most of you probably already have your two or three acts that you wish to bring up for discussion; however, before you officially congregate to assemble that list, I'd like to take a moment and make a suggestion, because this may not prove to be just another ballot.

See, a year ago, Barack Obama was president, and we were in the middle of an election season that had seemed to have an obvious conclusion.  By this point, both major parties were down to their final candidates, each having secured their requisite number of delegates.  One was a candidate that had been a darling of her party ever since her husband relinquished the Oval Office and was being touted with a narrative that bordered on "heir apparent" to the White House.  The other was a pariah within his own party, ran a campaign with a ground game that can be glowingly described as "slovenly," and whom many people were uncertain even wanted the job as much as he just wanted the attention that came with running for office.  And then it happened.  The pariah won.

But you know all that.  And as an organization, you are comprised of people who mostly revile our current president, if for no other reason than the fact that he's Republican.  Yeah, you've got that reputation.  In fact, that reputation is precisely why many speculate it took so long for you to ever nominate Alice Cooper for induction, and still haven't nominated people like Ted Nugent, whereas more politically liberal acts are more easily welcomed.  I'd say there's enough evidence to plausibly deny that claim, but the point is, as people, most of you are fundamentally opposed to the current administration.  And that's not even considering the campaign that he ran.  He ran a campaign of pure hatred and bigotry for anyone who wasn't like him or his base.  His was a message of loving only those who love and look like you, and hating others.  And while speculation into the election hypothesized that the weakness of the loser's campaign in key states may have done it, it now seems that it genuinely is more about the embracing of that hatred.  The biggest factor that motivated people to vote for him was in fact "racial anxiety," or more plainly, dislike of specific minorities.  I had two friends tell me of their excitement that the election of our president signaled the death of political correctness, calling it oppressive mind control.  Many people who enthusiastically voted for him genuinely believe that his election meant they no longer had to act like civilized people and were free to use epithets at will again, though that's not how they'd phrase it.

And now he's in office.  With power.  Trying to redefine our nation to fit his warped, narrow, and hateful narrative.  Already there are agencies that have spoken out against him, some within the federal government itself.  The press is doing its best to maintain its freedom.  Just ask Jann S. Wenner or Matt Taibbi.  But it isn't just the press.  From the statements at press conferences, to the executive orders, the current administration is trying to rewrite history and the future in a tone that spells bad news for minorities of any kind.

Again, you know all that, and you're probably asking, "What's this got to do with the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?"  As a highly public and somewhat controversial organization, I believe it to be within your power to make the kinds of statements that stand in the way of this agenda.  Roughly sixty years ago, the America that Donald Trump idealizes said, "Rock and roll isn't worth acknowledging or celebrating because it's Black music."  The America that he is now trying to promote is one that tries to tell you, "Black music is not worth acknowledging or celebrating because it's not rock and roll." Because the message and goal of Donald Trump's administration seek to have cultural echoes and ripples, you very much do have a dog in this fight.  And so, it is with that thought which I make the following, unorthodox suggestion to you, the Nominating Committee.

As long as Donald Trump is president and his agenda is on the offense, do not nominate any White males for the Performer category for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

It'd be nice if that were extended to the other categories, but they won't as celebrated, as the Performer category is the main draw, so they won't be as noteworthy, and thus not as necessary to include in this proposed moratorium.

As I stated a moment ago, the administration's agenda will have cultural repercussions if successful.  For you, that means finding yourself becoming an institution that only inducts guitar bands into the Hall Of Fame, guitar bands that are predominantly comprised of White males.  In fact, this is a battle that you are already fighting.  Ever since the inception of the Hall, the struggle to define "Rock And Roll" as more than just guitar band music has been present.  And in the past decade or so, that struggle has become even tougher.  Part of it, I do lay at your feet: for starters, your logo and museum are designed to resemble an ascending vista up the neck of a guitar.  Additionally, in the past, by keeping classes absurdly small and openly using your personal biases against progressive rock, arena rock, and heavy metal, you've created a backlog of guitar bands, many of whom are at least somewhat worthy, and now the outcry is deafening and the barricade is crumbling.  So much so, that the past two ceremonies have been primarily a celebration of the "classic rock" radio format.  And now, any form of R&B that isn't rap has an extremely hard time getting into the Hall, and even rap has to fight against the tide of classic rock acts that the general public want to see enshrined.  Personally, I believe that if bigger classes had been utilized and personal biases set aside throughout the 1990's and early 2000's, there would today be a much more open embracing of the diaspora that is rock and roll music, without the perceived need to take sides and thus draw battle lines on what defines rock and roll.

But then again, that just might be wishful thinking on my part.  I once worked for a man who believed that even the Beatles weren't rock and roll, that you should only enshrine hard rock and heavy metal.  Basically, if it doesn't use a distortion pedal, it's not rock, according to him.  That's the kind of willful, bald-faced, pigheaded ignorance your organization needs to make a statement against.  And of course, the history of the music industry, along with the history of humanity itself, has been more than favorable to the White male.  Thanks primarily to acts like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, guitar bands have seemingly become the default association when "rock and roll" is mentioned.  And of course, that kind of music was promulgated primarily by White males.  It's a neat little happenstance that is dressed up to appear coincidental, but we know is not.  And as the preservers of the history of rock and roll, especially in the (gas)light of this current administration's aims, we need you to do your part to stand against it, to state that you will not be a part of it, and to prove it.

About now, you're thinking, "Don't we do that already?  What about Zach De La Rocha's speech for Patti Smith?  Or from this past year, didn't Joan Baez and Eddie Vedder make those kinds of statements?  Wasn't it enough that we made a statement by closing this year's induction ceremony with 'Rocking In The Free World'?"  And my answer to that is no.  It's not enough.  First of all, given that Neil Young was supposed to induct Pearl Jam but got sick and couldn't do it, the performance of his song as the final jam comes off as little more than a musical get-well card for Neil.  More importantly though, despite the message in the lyrics critical of past Republican administrations, the fact is that "Rocking In The Free World," and Neil Young's catalog at large, fit very neatly into the narrow definition of rock and roll that the bigots and the ignoramuses wish to perpetuate.  So, despite the lyrics, using that song to send a message only gives them what they want and accomplishes nothing.  Remember when Ronald Reagan used "Born In The U.S.A." as his campaign anthem without irony, or when Paul Ryan named Rage Against The Machine as one of his all-time favorite bands?   Similar thing here; the cognitive dissonance is completely awash in the strummed chords and searing solos.  Even the fact that ol' Neil is Canadian means nothing, unless you're also Canadian. No, you're not doing enough at present.

Who inducts whom or says what at the ceremonies doesn't amount to a whole lot, not just because the festivities are on a premium channel, but because whoever says or does what holds only a select fascination.  Once the inductees are announced, the following ceremony is irrelevant to many. Virtually nobody marks the time between the announcement and the actual induction.  Once they're announced, they're inducted, in the minds of most.  So in order to make a statement, the important matter is who gets inducted. As a cultural institution, one that though purporting to speak for a worldwide phenomenon is largely American, you have both the need and the power to stand up against the current regime, and make a statement that will be heard.

The good news to this is that there are enough deserving candidates who are not White men, nor are comprised of any.  You don't have to sacrifice the core concept of unquestionable musical excellence, nor ignore principles of innovation or influence.  There will be no asterisk next to the classes or the inductees  if you do this.  There are plenty of worthy candidates to keep this up even if the unthinkable happens and it ends up being a two-term administration. You can go back to the '50s and nominate the benchmark R&B groups, such as the Clovers.  You can nominate Chubby Checker and finally bury that hatchet.  You can get serious about 70's soul.  You can recognize the disco queens who may only be remembered for one hit by White audiences, but have legacies on the R&B and dance music charts.  You can induct the divas of the '80s, and the upcoming ones who will eligible before the next election.  You can fully uncork the rap bottle and maybe even induct TWO rap artists in a single year.  You can get to the queens of '60s rock and pop, like Lesley Gore and Connie Francis.   You can nominate Pat Benatar, though I'd hope you'd get a little further outside the box (or is it Trunk?) than that.  You can go back to the early years of the Hall and bring back nominees you've lost hope for, like Ben E. King, Mary Wells, Johnny Ace, and Esther Phillips.  You can strike hot again for the Spinners, Joe Tex, Chuck Willis, the Marvelettes, and the Dominos.  You can even do the right thing and give Nile Rodgers his second induction by continuing to nominate Chic.  Heck, I think the first inductee next year should be Living Colour, with the opening number for the ceremony being "Open Letter (To A Landlord)."  Point being, that well will not run dry, I promise you.

This however does not come without cost.  The past two cycles were hailed as finally opening the doors to those hugely popular acts that you'd snubbed for a long time, like Chicago, Deep Purple, Yes, and Electric Light Orchestra.  Making this statement means closing that door again for a time.  And not just against the classic rock titans that people are clamoring for, like the Moody Blues and Judas Priest, but it will also sadly mean further ignoring 80's non-mainstream acts, the post-punk and underground artists like the Smiths, Sonic Youth, Dead Kennedys, Pixies, etc.  It means not acknowledging synth-driven (as opposed to guitar) acts like Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode.  It would even probably mean an embargo against interracial and co-ed acts ranging from the Del-Vikings to the future-eligible No Doubt.  That's not even mentioning having to ignore gay artists who happen to be White men, or have gay White men among their members.  Their roles and contributions to our society should not be forgotten either, but unless you're one hundred percent certain that the distinction will be drawn and the message will be understood in the minds of your voters and the voting public, then sadly, it should not be attempted.

Even harder to swallow is that it could potentially spell trouble for the museum in Cleveland.  It's been rumored that certain past and present members among your ranks are especially pushing the commercial classic rock acts primarily to burgeon the budget for the museum by attracting more visitors.  It's certainly understandable; however, I believe that being willing to bite the bullet on this front may even send a stronger message than you realize.  This is because whatever else our president may be, whatever else he may say, whomever he inspires with his rhetoric of bigotry... that which defines him most is his love of money and how money masters him.  To accept the risk of fewer visitors and thus less money taken in when making a socially important statement like this might just send the loudest message when juxtaposed against a man who, if he drank from a false grail a la Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, would, rather than a swastika pin, leave behind a money clip.

Hardest of all, I suppose, is to ask you to put some of those other acts that you already want to nominate on the back burner.  But it ultimately doesn't matter if you're inducted when you're first eligible, or if it's years down the line.  Enshrinement is an honor whenever it comes, even posthumously.  So for now, put those acts on the back burner.  Radiohead can wait.  Tom Morello, I know you're a member, and your band's music is about fighting this kind of evil power, but if the cognitive dissonance is lost on the likes of Paul Ryan, then it's lost on the rest of that ilk. This is the machine you've raged against for twenty-five years, and the best way to do it now is to elevate others.  Rage Against The Machine can wait.  Dave Grohl, you're on the fast track for a second induction, and it can't happen this year anyway, but until the power shifts, Foo Fighters can wait.  It would be a wonderful way to pay homage to the late Chris Cornell, but Soundgarden can wait.  The Cars can wait, the Moody Blues can wait, Foreigner can wait, Procol Harum can wait, and the Smiths can wait.  Even acts that I want dearly to see enshrined, like Jan And Dean, Tommy James And The Shondells, Huey Lewis And The News, and "Weird Al" Yankovic... they can all wait.  Now is the time to focus strictly on women and racial minorities.

And should you be willing to test this, I would hope you'd go the whole distance on this.  The temptation will be to nominate one, two, or a few guitar-driven acts comprised mostly or entirely of White males.  But if you've seen Jeff Ament's shirt, a shirt that had less than five Black artists on it, and only a few women, you know that at present, your voting body, particularly of inductees, is overwhelmingly White males who were influenced by White males, and when asked about who they think should be inducted, the first five names will be White male acts.  Throwing a bone to them will only ensure that the bone is the first one inducted, and will run away with the fan ballot at that.  And if you try five such names, figuring they surely can't all be the top five, you'll be proven dead wrong.  A complete embargo is necessary to make the statement that needs to be made.  Besides, deep down, you know you want to see how the fan ballot plays out when they have no classic rock darling to enthusiastically latch onto.

Giving preference to one social distinction over others is the basic, perhaps oversimplified, definition of prejudice.  But no one is asking you to permanently ignore the contributions of Caucasian males as Performers.  You're being asked to stand up for those who aren't Caucasian males until such time as those who are trying to whitewash our history, present, culture, achievements, failures, attributes, faults, and worst of all, our future; no long hold the power that they currently possess.  Our world will never be perfect, and bigotry will always exist.  But that doesn't mean we must or even should give credence or leeway to those who would willingly express the most and strongest prejudices in the harshest ways possible, merely because they currently hold the highest positions of power.  We will not stoop to violence, the way the gunman did at the baseball practice recently, but we gotta fight the power, as Public Enemy so famously stated.  We're a nation of millions, so let's hold back our Subredditer-In-Chief, even if only in our own little corner.

What I ask is difficult, but not impossible, and though I'm but a face in a crowd that you may not even wish to deign to look at, I petition you anyway.  I hope you will give my suggestion serious consideration.

You are a highly publicized institution.  You have a considerable amount of power and influence; speak for those who do not.  Do not nominate any White males for the Performer category for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  


Sincerely,

A heterosexual, Caucasian, cisgender, Protestant, blond-haired, blue-eyed, able-bodied, American male from a bucolic, middle-class background, who has a college degree, no criminal record, and has never even experimented with any illegal drugs.   You can call me the Poster Child for Privilege, or PCP for short.

P.S.  The irony of calling me "PCP" when I've just said I've never done any illegal drugs isn't lost on me either.

33 comments:

  1. I begged them for an all-female ballot this year, too. It'll never happen but it sure would send a message.

    Bravo for the post, my friend!
    Mike

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  2. This is a good statement. One small correction: "No Doubt" by No Doubt was released on Interscope in 1992, so No Doubt is eligible this year.

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    1. Well, they'll be eligible when they committee meets, which is still in the future, as of now, so.... future eligible?

      You didn't buy it either, huh?

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    2. Nah, but I appreciate being amused... ;)

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  3. Way to go- counter perceived prejudices with BLATANT prejudices!
    You do realize Rage Against the Machine has/had a singer of Mexican heritage, AND a guitarist who's part Kenyan, but yeah, let's lump them in with the likes of Foreigner and Ted Nugent without giving it any real thought, becsuse we gotta be sweet lil' goody-goody liberals...

    Also, Pixies & Sonic Youth had key female members, not to mention the B-52's, who you probably like to shun as well, because they did have a white guy or two there (the horror!)- BTW, HOW are they any less deserving than Chic, who you types constantly slobber over to the point where most of us are fatigued from having them shoved down our throats...

    I can't wait for your next commentary, where you advocate throwing out the Beatles, Stones, and Led Zep to make some kind of similar half-assed point.

    In conclusion, how about you write for Jezebel, which advocates similar poorly-thought out racial commentary (tell me what they said about the movie The Big Sick isn't straight-up racist re. their view on interracial couples)...

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    1. Wow, KXB, way to be busted for skimming. I did specifically include a lament that this could/would include holding back interracial and co-ed acts. Maybe actually READ a little more closely.

      And btw, I'm a moderate, not a liberal. To put it practically, I don't question the legitimacy of the Trump presidency; I just question the sanity of it.

      But thanks for taking the time away from howling in your echo chamber over at Breitbart to prove your illiteracy!

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  4. Just as a point of reference, The Isley Brothers had a major hit with THEIR song "Fight The Power" back in the 70's...long before Public Enemy was ever even HEARD of...in fact, it almost assuredly inspired the PE song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QZvoOqUkqw

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  5. My ballot:

    Barbara Lynn
    Big Mama Thornton
    Big Maybelle
    Chaka Khan
    Dionne Warwick
    Ella Fitzgerald
    En Vogue
    Gloria Gaynor
    Janet Jackson
    KoKo Taylor
    Mary J. Blige
    Mary Wells
    MC Lyte
    Nina Simone
    Patti LaBelle
    Queen Latifah
    Roberta Flack
    Salt-n-Pepa
    The Marvelettes
    The Pointer Sisters
    Tina Turner
    TLC
    Toni Braxton
    Tracy Chapman
    Whitney Houston

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    1. Thanks for that list Daniel. Admittedly, I don't agree with it entirely. But we don't have to agree either. Your list shows there are plenty of Black women who at least have some merit. That's not even including White women, Black men, Hispanics, or any other race. Heck, if they want to acknowledge EDM while doing this, they could induct Yoko Ono. I know, THAT'S a tough sell, but some more food for thought!

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    2. Just STOP it already! #ohnotyoko

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    3. See? Tough sell, inDEED! lol

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  6. Nothing is currently stopping like-minded voters from doing this now. Voters are currently and will continue to vote for the acts they view as most worthy. I can't see fault in that.

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    1. Not quite. There's no write-ins allowed. They're voting for those they like the best and/or are the most worthy from a ballot determined by the Nominating Committee.

      It's not solely a matter of most worthy, though. It's about taking a stand against an administration that is full of deputies who push the agenda emphasizing the welfare and well-being of White men. A group of people who will paint rock music as the music by White men for White men. By nominating worthy women and minorities, they'll be taking a stand against that attempt at revisionist history. The voters can choose from the most worthy of a list that excludes White men, and you'd still have a damn good class.

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  7. I don't believe the best way to counter discrimination is by a different kind of discrimination. The honor of being nominated should not be "cheapened" because of an artificial skewing of the nominating rules. ALL nominees should be chosen in a gender and color-blind way. If an act is deserving of nomination, there should be no restrictions.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I thought about that too, but to be honest, I stand by what I said above. There are so many worthy artists that, including some egregious snubs, that could be nominated while doing this that it ultimately doesn't cheapen anything. There would be no asterisk for these inductees. And it doesn't cheapen the honor of being nominated any more than does being nominated because John Q. Public is finally getting their way, instead of rock and roll historians who nominate based on their knowledge of music and music history, rather than nominating acts that they got drunk and violated women to during their 20's. Or cheapened because Spicer's message penetrated too deeply to ferret out.

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    3. Yeah, way to judge people and make wildly accusatory statements you can't possibly back up/defend (and if it was meant as a JOKE, the joke just isn't funny- ala Kathy Griffin)...

      In closing, way to be no better than those you're rallying against (for some WTF reason)...

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    4. That is your opinion. And you're welcome to it.

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  8. To be succinct I have to say that you come across as being rather dumb. writing a thousand words to say the same thing over and over is just your ego rum amok.

    And I really do not understand why the hatred for white guys.

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    1. Most likely because he's a self-hating one that for some reason thinks he's making a 'political' statement for something that's NOT political (or at least, not supposed to be)...

      PS- I stand by what I said earlier, I DID read the whole (very tedious) article (it's called editing, look into it), and have NO time for extreme right OR left viewpoints!

      Also, if you're truly a 'moderate', tell me what would be so bad about a 2018 class consisting of, say- Radiohead, Janet Jackson, The Spinners, Nine Inch Nails, War, and Kate Bush (with the J.B.'s in for 'Musical Excellence')...

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    2. Frank, if you think I hate white guys, then it is you who are dumb.Standing up for minorities is not "hatred for white guys." Standing up for women is not "hatred of men." All you're doing is proving something I read recently: when all you've known is privilege, equality can feel like oppression.

      The only thing bad about that proposed class is that the only way it could ever actually happen like that is if Radiohead, NIN, and War were the only acts, whose memberships ever included White males, on that particular ballot. To turn it around, what would be so bad about a 2018 class consisting of Chubby Checker, Chic, Janet Jackson, Barry White, the Spinners, and Kate Bush (with the J.B.'s for AME)?

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    3. Obviously, your poorly-thought out proposal (to say nothing about that heinous post you deleted) is a big flop, not to mention it's an idea that will never be realistically implemented...

      Now, if you proposed a ban on 60s/70s 'classic rock' acts (like the Moody Blues, who just aren't that historically good, even if they're more worthy than the likes of Percy Sledge, Laura Nyro, Richie Valens, Dr. John, The Mamas & the Papas and their ilk) for a couple of years, I think most of the respondents would've been onboard with that suggestion, or at least seen it as fairly reasonable...

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    4. The "heinous post" that was deleted was deleted because I was having trouble trying to edit it to add something to it. The reply directly below it is the post that was deleted with the added bit that I wished to add onto it.

      Whether or not this flops remains to be seen. It is clearly not popular with some readers, but it's received some praise and less scathing speculation as well.

      And even if it doesn't happen, I'm still happy to have initiated the conversation and be willing to challenge the idea of a Hall of Fame in a bubble.

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  9. Philip, you are a great common-tater (as I call it) on the futurerocklegends site. I always read your comments with great interest, dude. But, sorry, here you've gone way off and are a tad bid overly-wordy to boot. Why must you be an apologist? Why does Trump really have anything to do with the Rock Museum anyway? If Hillary had won, would you be more happy? (can't say as I would, frankly) Unfortunately, we can't just leave politics out of it, because seems we are NEVER able to do that about anything! Maybe you are doing your own version of a "Kaepernick"? Im' taking a knee for equality, folks! Ha! But you are actually advocating for inequality. Ban the white man? How magnanimous of you! I think the Rock Museum has done a lot to induct non-white males. Maybe still some work to be done. But I say no to a ban.

    Your a good writer, albeit (word?) imo wrong on this post. But, keep it up, nobody ever bats a thousand.

    BTW: Let me put in a word here for The Pointer Sisters. Guess it would be okay to let them in, right? I keep pushing for them bcauz I love them.

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    1. Thanks for your input, Thomas. I wouldn't be happy if Hillary had won, per se, but I do think she was the much lesser of two evils. What Trump has to do with the Hall is really more about the kinds of people he inspires and keeps company, and the way the world in general seems to be going right now. What I'm seeing is the advancement of an agenda that must be stopped, and I see a Venn diagram of those who support that agenda and the kinds of people the Rock Hall has been making efforts to placate over the past few years... and I think there's a disturbing amount of overlap. I believe that if the Hall is not careful, then as an institution, they will find themselves swept up and overrun by people who think Steve Bannon is the second coming, kowtowing to the Eddie Trunks and Gene Simmons's whose definitions of rock and roll are bolstered by that history I mentioned that appears to be happenstance, but we know is not. I'm not advocating inequality, I'm advocating the immutability of facts and truth in our history against a cultural regime that would rewrite it if given the opportunity. I advocate this moratorium ONLY as a reactionary measure to the racism already in our new administration's policies. We cannot let it permeate to our cultural perceptions too, and as long as they tell us that minorities are the problem, then it behooves to make a point to honor minorities whose contributions refute the garbage they try to tell us.

      And I'm not apologizing for that.

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    2. And just to clarify, I'm not calling Eddie Trunk and Gene Simmons people who think Bannon is the returned Messiah or anything like that. Just that their opinions on rock and roll would find them as strange bedfellows with those folks on this particular cultural front.

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  10. Philip, your post is dated July 11, 2017. Pretty sure ole Mr. Bannon has long since been banished from Trump central. I'm not really up on what Eddie Trunk and Gene Simmons have to say, are they jackasses? Just happen to be white jackasses. I would say jackasses come in all colors and flavors. Think about that. Isn't it true? But you are not discerning re jackasses at all. You are simply saying ban the white man. I don't think that is logical.
    I do like your use of Venn diagram, that is a logical approach. But to suggest that the Trump political crowd has any common area with the Rolling Stone mag crowd? Thats ludicrous. Those circles actually repell one another!
    Bottom line for me. I don't see much racial prejudice at this point in the nominating process. I do think more women should be in. Nina Simone, Pat Benatar, Pointer Sisters, The Bangles, Janet Jackson ... could go on and on. I could do w/o all the hip-hop and rap. Most of it is crap and the artists really don't even perform their own music. Not a black-white thing at all. Eminem might be the best of that genre and he's white. All I got to say, I'm out.

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    1. Thomas, Bannon's been moved around so much, or at least been talked about being moved around so much, it's hard to know where exactly he is, but I'm pretty sure he's not completely out of the sphere of influence either. And I am discerning jackasses: between the jackasses who would, as Curtis Mayfield said, "Hurt all mankind just to save his own" who currently hold extremely high positions of power and could cause serious, regressive damage to our society--and other jackasses whom you can more easily ignore. That's the difference. It's not "simply saying ban the white man."

      Rolling Stone mag crowd isn't one of the circles, either. The circles are those who enthusiastically embrace Trump's agenda, and the people that the "Rolling Stone mag crowd" at the foundation have been going out of their way to placate with their recent classic rock heavy ballots, which includes Trunk and Simmons. It's that "coincidental" history that really isn't coincidence at all.

      I never said the nominating process is prejudiced. I said the current administration is prejudiced. They are an administration that wants their hands in everything to shape our society to fit a horrible and warped narrative. You may think I'm paranoid to think that will eventually, if not already, include the narrative of rock and roll music and thus the Hall Of Fame by extension, but the Hall needs to make it clear as soon as possible that they won't allow that.

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  11. Seems like the real issue that has caused this is one of numbers. It seems like white male artists in later decades have primarily been associated with bands with multiple members while the most deserving female artists and black male artists have usually been solo, so the white male acts get represented multiple times for each inducted member while the non-white male acts generally don't. Guitar rock definitely moved in a band direction and less of a solo one from the '70s onward while R&B and rap moved in a direction emphasizing individuals. Obviously there are exceptions in both cases, but this is the problem. I think it would be interesting to see something like this especially as a corrective to the last two years. Obviously there are many soul acts that have been ignored (probably more than deserving classic rock acts left) and maybe at this point they're almost the most essential just so the white male acts don't have a lock on voting for eternity.

    There never were all that many mainstream all-female rock bands, and either they went too commercial to be taken seriously (Vixen) or were artistically respected but probably not popular enough (The Slits, The Runaways). The Go-Gos would likely be a nice compromise between the two of course. In earlier soul, there were numerous female vocal groups, but they seemed to be replaced largely by divas following Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, with rare exceptions (Destiny's Child, who will probably get ignored for Beyonce solo anyway). Most of the deserving black artists after 1980 will be rap and a similar problem exists there as you stated with regard with LL Cool J and how he was the turning point for rap turning from group driven to solo artist driven.

    Even inducting solely artists who are not white and male will not fix what I consider to be the core issue of the most important guitar rock acts being bands and the most important R&B acts being soloists.

    Yes, that doesn't explain why almost every male singer-songwriter eventually gets in and few of the female ones do (Carole King, Carly Simon, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, P.J. Harvey, Tracy Chapman, and Alanis Morissette could have all certainly been on ballots by now and I don't think many people would blink) and that seems to be becoming one of the biggest problems now.

    So what is the solution to this? I think you have to start over and give each inducted entry one vote each. (So if a rock band has seven living members or something, each gets only 1/7 a vote...either that or have only whoever is judged to be the most important living member of a group allowed to vote.) I think that's the only real solution that will get non-guitar rock acts inducted en masse again. Sure, it would be easier to convince the nominating committee to only nominate non-white male artists than to ask people to give up their votes, which they would never be willing to do, but I don't think it's really a lasting solution. Simply because white male acts have a larger number average of inductable members they'll continue to dominate the voting committee even if almost entirely black and female artists, which would mostly be solo artists (unless they inducted a lot of older soul groups, which I would not have a problem with) and therefore white male artists will still perpetually dominate.

    Or you could have the white rock bands with multiple inducted members come to an agreement on their preferred choices, but I really think it should be one artist, one vote, instead of one individual, one vote and that is the only way to fix this.

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    1. Sorry, I didn't finish that thought:

      even if almost entirely black and female artists [were nominated/inducted throughout the entire Trump administration], which would mostly be solo artists (unless they inducted a lot of older soul groups, which I would not have a problem with) and therefore white male artists will still perpetually dominate.

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    2. Hi Sean. Yeah, that's something I've noticed and commented on in the past (maybe not on here though). I'll admit that it would be a strong temptation to continue this until such a time as the numbers balanced out bit more; however, that is ultimately not the goal. As I've said, part of the problem is that the Hall was so biased against prog and metal acts (which are predominantly White male), while maintaining a "Small Hall" ethic, that the backlog just grew exponentially. That said, not every classic rock band is deserving either. Fwiw, I don't think the Ozark Mountain Devils, Ram Jam, or Rainbow are pertinent oversights. But again, balancing the numbers is not the primary goal of all this. It's about standing up for the truth in our history and for the value of people that this administration repeatedly demonstrates that they seek to devalue.

      Thank you for your thoughts, though. I always appreciate a good discussion.

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  12. And I *so* agree with you about Living Colour.
    And about how many women and people of color are overlooked.
    And, YES!: Yoko Ono!
    (Not someone whose catalog I love to listen to, but absolutely as influential as most inductees. And her last album was excellent!)

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