Thursday, August 17, 2017

The fans are rabble

The Fans Have Spoken: Top Ten Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs - CultureSonar | Cool Stuff to See, Hear, Read and Do:

The article linked to above argues the  case for ten acts that have not been included so far in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an attempt, I suppose,  to drum up some kind of otherwise harmless internet outrage  about a supposed string of injustices that have not, demonstrably, made any one's life worse for the fact of it. Irritating ,however, is that the case is being made for bands and musicians who Really Don't Matter on my grading system   of who     is worthy and who ought to disappear into retirement anonymity. It 's subjective, I hear you muttering, but admit it, won't you, that not all opinions, subjective as they are, are created equal? It's not even the case that I disagree with who this writer argues for, it's that he doesn't give a sufficiently thought     out rationale . This is list has all the taste of stillwater, a lazy assemblage of press releases. The criteria here is whether the groups or artists sold out stadiums, garnered many platinum albums and otherwise made the record companies billions of dollars. 
The premise is as bogus as the Hall of Fame itself. Grand Funk? Moody Blues? Jethro Tull? These are not bands that made rock and pop music change course. They made hit records, not history . My peeve is that the MC5 is still not in the Hall, a band that arguably influenced more artists after them than all three of the bands I've mentioned combined; along with the Velvet Underground, Iggy and the Stooges, the MC5 pioneered the attack, the aesthetic and the philosophical defiance of Punk Rock. It's tragic enough that it took the RRHOF over 30 years to induct the widely acclaimed and hugely influential Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It's just as tragic that witless and bankrupt squibsters like this person from Culture Sonar wants to prate about musicians who mostly have no value beyond their ability to make corporations money. What I'm saying is that the Hall of Fame is a scam. I can't help but think that for every induction ceremony we go through each year, more nails are driven into the coffin and more dirt is shoveled into the grave of an art that is no longer a defining force in the lives of a generation, but only another distraction, like most everything else that is passed off as artistic expression. The secret is this: we haven't been sold out at all. We've sold ourselves out, sacrificing  genuine discovery for convenience and ease of acquisition over discovery. We Google information to settle a bet and cannot remember the answer a minute later. We read books on Kindles and cannot remember plots or character names. We download music for free and use it to retreat, isolate and block out the world as it blasts crudely over headphones and ear buds, and not to engage the world , not to be inspired to create something new, not to sustain a reason to believe in defensible values and moral concerns. We have given up our ability to think critically and given our lives over to 2 bit commentaries and corporately sanctioned views that sell us on the cliches of our times; our conversations are reduced to advertising slogans and photo captions. Moody Blues? Grand Funk?Jethro Tull? Really? Really?!? To be fair to the author, he did mention Warren Zevon, Little Feat and the Cars as artists who should be inducted, three acts I like very much and for each of whom plausible arguments for inclusion can be made.  I am not so convinced the Cars quite merit the award,but I am at least willing to listen to reason   without my routine resistance to canon-formation, but it would a sure bet for Zevon and Little Feat, Zevon for his pugnacious wit and ability to endure pressure with grace and humor, and LF for their artful and literally seamless meld   of rock, funk, jazz motifs into a  fusion that sounds even more organic than what the laudable Steely Dan could do.  What saddens me,if that's the word, is they are on list otherwise studded with profitable mediocrities. Doobie Brothers? Three Dog Night? The Guess Who? Emerson Lake and Palmer? Keeee-rist almighty.

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