[JPL] Stephen Colbert disses John Zorn

Jeff Turton jturton at comcast.net
Sun Sep 24 07:23:02 EDT 2006

 From the MacArthur website:

The Nomination Process

Q. How are candidates brought to our attention?

A.  So that we can expand our search for creative people as widely as  
possible while keeping the number of nominations manageable, we limit  
our consideration only to those who have been nominated by someone  
from our constantly changing pool of invited external nominators.   
Applications or unsolicited nominations are not accepted.

Q. Who are the nominators?

A.   In order to gather fresh perspectives, we invite throughout the  
year new nominators across the spectrum of human activity; they serve  
confidentially for terms of several months.  Nominators are  
identified for their expertise and familiarity with exceptionally  
creative people in their respective areas of focus.  We maintain a  
large and ever-growing list of potential nominators who have been  
recommended to us from many sources:  Foundation board members,  
selection committee members, past nominators, and various experts  
across the country.  We also identify people who are recognized  
leaders in their fields and whose work naturally exposes them to a  
wide variety of interesting and creative people.

Q. How do nominators nominate?

A. Nominators write a letter to the program director, usually a page  
or two, describing the person they are nominating and their reasons  
for doing so.  These letters focus on the quality and creativity of  
the nominees and their work, and on the likely benefits of the award  
to the recipient.  We ask them to suggest the names of others who can  
provide independent evaluations of their nominees.  Nominators may  
submit any number of nominations they please.

Q. How many nominations are received during the course of a year?   
How long does it take for a nomination to move through the selection  

A. We receive several hundred nominations per year, but not all of  
them are considered that same year.  The shortest possible interval  
from nomination to award is about nine months, but it normally takes  
more than a year, sometimes several.

Q. Do some people know that they have been nominated?

A. Occasionally nominees do find out, but not from us.  We  
specifically ask nominators and evaluators not to contact the nominee  
or others regarding the nomination.  Since individuals can’t apply  
for the fellowship or promote themselves as candidates, and because  
many more are nominated than will receive a fellowship, it is best  
for individuals to remain unaware of their nomination.

The Selection Process

Q. What is the Selection Committee?

A.  The Selection Committee consists of approximately 12 people who  
serve confidentially and are chosen for their breadth of experience,  
excellent judgment, and curiosity. In identifying members for the  
committee, we look for depth of interest in at least one major field,  
broad familiarity with other major fields, and, above all, an  
enthusiasm for creative ideas and important issues within and outside  
of their areas of expertise.  Committee members bring experiences  
from many different perspectives – the arts, humanities, social  
sciences, biological and physical sciences, the professions,  
business, and public service – but individual members do not speak on  
behalf of a particular discipline.  Because the committee works as a  
group, the decision on each nomination represents a collective  
judgment drawn from a wide range of insightful and discerning  
perspectives.  At the end of each review cycle, some members rotate  
off the committee, and individual selectors generally serve for three  

Q. What information does the Selection Committee use to make its  

A. Prior to review, each nomination is assigned to one of the  
program's senior staff.  Staff members draw from the nominator's  
letter, experience with nominations in similar areas, and independent  
investigation to prepare a file for the Selection Committee.  The  
file is generally composed of letters of evaluation from experts in  
the nominee's field and samples of the nominee's work that exemplify  
their creativity, such as articles, books, slides, films, and audio  
or video recordings.  It may also contain reviews of those works and  
reports about the nominee published by others.

Q. What is the selection process?

A.  Having reviewed the background materials collected, the Selection  
Committee meets to discuss the nominations against the selection  
criteria.  If the nomination appears promising, selectors will work  
with staff to develop a strategy for further investigation.  Other  
nominations are deferred pending additional work forthcoming from the  
nominee. For still other nominations, a consensus develops that  
further consideration is not warranted. At the final meeting for each  
review cycle, the Selection Committee identifies the most outstanding  
nominations, representing a spectrum of creative activity, for  
recommendation to the Board of Directors for that year's MacArthur  
Fellowships.  Nominations that do not advance within a particular  
review cycle are retained for possible subsequent reconsideration.

Q. Why all the confidentiality?

A.  All of the participants in the selection process – nominators,  
evaluators, and selectors – serve anonymously, and we keep their  
communications confidential.  Anonymity protects them from being  
inundated with unsolicited requests.  In addition, our experience  
shows that people readily provide frank impressions if they have an  
assurance that their responses will not be disseminated beyond the  
program staff and Selection Committee.

The Board of Directors

Q. What role does the Board of Directors play in the MacArthur  
Fellows Program?

A.  The Board of Directors established the MacArthur Fellows Program  
and is ultimately responsible for its overall policies and  
procedures.  Throughout the selection cycle, the Board is kept  
apprised of Selection Committee progress.  At the end of the cycle,  
the Board receives for its consideration and approval the committee's  
formal recommendations for MacArthur Fellowships.  In addition, the  
Board of Directors authorizes the invitation of members of the  
Selection Committee who have been recommended by the program's staff.

On Sep 24, 2006, at 4:39 AM, MFA - Jazz Publicity & Radio Promotion  

> -------------------------------------------
> -------------------------------------------
> Greetings Group...
> Interesting point, Bill!
> But I also agree with Bobby Jackson to some extent -- i.e. Zorn  
> gets no MAINSTREAM jazz airplay but he is very popular at college  
> radio as are recordings by other artists on his label Tzadik.
> Speaking of Tzadik -- my gripe with Zorn is how cheap he has been  
> with said label -- only his own recordings get any type of  
> promotion whereas I gather other artists whose CDs are released on  
> Tzadik must not only pay for their own promotions but must also pay  
> 50% of list price for any CDs they would want to use as promos  
> making the cost in product and postage alone more than most artists  
> can afford to pay not to mention a fee for PR or radio.
> Maybe Zorn will use some of his $500K to promote the music of  
> others on his label or at least to make it easier for them to  
> promote their music themselves if they choose to do so.
> That said even though I am promoting my new radio show on Georgia  
> Public Broadcasting called "Jazz Without Borders" as being for  
> people whose taste in jazz runs from Adderley to Zorn, not since  
> Stanley Crouch got HIS MacArthur Grant have I scratched my head and  
> wonder who makes the decisions there!  I would name dozens of  
> artists I'd award such funds to before I got to Zorn.
> Mitchell

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