Thursday, December 16, 2010

Halls of Fame - Who Gets In? - Politics, Achievements, Ethics

Just yesterday the 2011 inductees the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame were announced: 
  • Dr. John
  • Neil Diamond
  • Darlene Love
  • Alice Cooper
  • Tom Waits
  • Leon Russell - Musical Excellence Award
We can think of others who deserve induction including some recently nominated.  The Moody Blues, Donovan, Neil Sedaka, Clay Cole, and Chubby Checker among many others come to mind.  Facebook friends Joe Postove (Happy Birthday Joe) and Alan Berman are advocates for Chubby's induction.

Why are some inducted while others are not?  This is not an easy question to answer.  Is it fair to quantify a musical performers achievements by records sold or chart statistics?  Is a performers impact on society measurable?  It is sad to say that politics often plays a role into election into a Hall of Fame.  Other entertainment genres have Halls of Fame and likely politics are involved.

Let's take a look at the Baseball Hall of Fame.  In baseball and other sports performance atheletes are easily evaluated by tons of statistics.  But should 500 home runs by a batter and 300 victories by a pitcher automatically qualify one for induction?  Mark McGuire who has excellent credentials has not been elected since the sportswriters are well aware that he used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).  Likely in the years to come Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others who obviously used PEDs will be denied.  Pete Rose was banned from baseball and is ineligible for induction into the Hall since as manager he bet on games that his team played.  This obviously compromises the integrity of the game.  Use of PEDs by the above mentioned players attacks the integrity of the game even more.  So if Rose can not  inducted turkeys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be denied entry.  I especially hate Clemens for intentially throwing at Mike Piazza twice.

Here is another double standard - I think almost every rock star has used illicit drugs at some point in their careers which enhanced their creativity.  That issue is ignored.

Finally, let me talk about impact.  Sandy Koufax  pitched only from 1955-1966 when arm problems forced him to retire prematurely.  But, in the early 1960s he was the dominant pitcher of his era.  That qualified him for the Hall of Fame.

Chubby Checker was dominant in rock music during the same time period.  The Twist hit number 1 on the charts in 1960 and 1962.  Back then the twist and other dances promoted by Chubby were quite popular yet he been denied election to the Rock Hall.  But Leonard Cohen who is essentially a folk singer is there.  Go Figure.  I guess you can just cry politics.

It is a shame that in many aspects of our lives politics rears its ugly head.

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