“Certainly the body of artists on the museum’s roster represents pop—yes, it’s a certain idea of pop, one with a stamp of Importance that’s defined by values rooted in privileging rock’s ethos over others, but it’s pop nonetheless.”
—Awl pal Maura Johnston is right to sigh and complain about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inherently awkward and confounding selection process. (And she gets to, because she voted!) I think it’s an institution that should not exist. The fact that Joan Jett didn’t qualify as a first-ballot inductee speaks to why. Even under the problematic organizing principle that has the Beastie Boys making it in over Eric B. & Rakim, who embodies rock’s ethos more than Joan Jett? She’s sold millions of records, she doesn’t care about her reputation, she loves rock n’ roll more famously than anyone else in the world, and she’ll sit in a tiger-striped lounge chair biting the head off of rose after rose after rose after rose, spitting every one back in your face.