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“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is Probably Doomed and Honest to God Good Riddance”

Just yesterday I heard on the radio this speech by Martin Luther King. I’d never even known he’d been stabbed at age 29 in an attempted assassination.

By and large, too, I’ve been thinking about my propsective livelihoods (I was once an aspiring teacher but now a line cook and aspiring Sous Chef). None of my prospective livelihoods are “essential.” I get really squeamish around blood. I once attempted to apply to be the Image Archivist at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but the validation code they e-mailed to me for the application wouldn’t work. I’ve thought about ushering or event planning for concert halls — none-too-essential stuff, obviously. 

And we’re living in a really tough time in music, which is why I think it’s so ironic that Stereogum was asking for donations to keep them afloat. Musicians aren’t even getting paid anymore. I think in selling off his songs Bob Dylan’s reasoning was something like that streaming had killed his revenue intake — or some other artist who was selling out implied that. Maybe it was David Crosby.

Now just let me be clear: there is still a ton of good music being RECORDED these days and I think streaming and the general Internet/DIY thing has undeniably helped with that. I think there will always be an amount of mental edification in writing and performing music and a “thrill,” laced closely with an anxiety, intertwined with the latter. Plus, somebody will usually let you sleep on their couch and eat some of the spaghetti they made earlier, if you do those things. 

I say the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is doomed, though, on a couple counts. For one thing, it’s been compromising its attempted epithet of “rock and roll” for some time now, letting in rap acts like 2pac, The Notorious B.I.G. and the Beastie Boys. Turn down that racket. Just kidding. I love rap. 

But the point is that this is one concession they’re making to in a sense compromise their integrity (why not set up a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame?) and who knows what will come next? We’re living in an era today where the most popular rappers aren’t even really FAMOUS among people out of the particular age group which would be propelled to immersing itself within such a staunch cultural voice. But it stands to reason that the lack of money attached to those creating vital, original music these days would correlate with a lack of fame, these voices being less inclined to play a veritable “game of dress-up” to which mainstream music has basically, more or less, been reduced at this point. 

I say “good riddance” for a couple of reasons, too, if you can believe me. Truth be told, I was once a huge fan and supporter of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sure, they’d let in lame acts like Def Leppard and Stevie Nicks, but I just liked the fact that it was an entire operation devoted solely to music. This I think was in the prime of the popularity of that website Consequence of Sound and their way of slipping into discussion of video games every two seconds or so. I knew nobody in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would ever just start talking about video games for no reason. 

I’ve been very disenchanted, though, by the entity of the RRHOF, in recent years and in a couple of ways. First of all, they’re a “drug-free workplace,” meaning they drug test new employees to make sure they’re not on the grass. Um, who? Huh? Come again? Hablas Ingles? That place would stand no chance of existing whatsoever if not for the permeation of marijuana as an ingested psychotropic amongst humanity. Or it would be filled with a bunch of like Rod Stewart clones.

Second, I almost want to completely debilitate the entirety of rock and roll just by way of this appalling generation of people who are now between like 45 and 60, are way too old, typically, to enjoy or even acknowledge new music, but still have these repugnant opinions that they’re liable to spout off at any given time. They’re homophobic, often, referring to The Cars as “a bunch of queers,” or whatever. They were young adults in the ’70s or ’80s and associate the concept of a “good time” with getting a bunch of coke and putting on leather or looking at people who are wearing a bunch of leather. They’re inclined to try to make fun of the Beatles, hearing a song like “Yellow Submarine” playing from a speaker and asking “Who IS this?”, as if the greatest band of all time [1] is some laughable afterthought. And I can just see them filing into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on its pathetic last day, some cold and non-snowy Cleveland day in February 2022 and looking for some dude in leather pants to pour some sugar on.

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[1] I call them this both out of common sense and also on the strength of the fact that they’ve had three songs become TV sitcom theme songs… as far as I know no other band in history has even had one. 

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