I have thought long and hard about replying to this discussion, but I feel I must because much of what has been said here is of an ARSC I don’t recognize — and I have been involved with ARSC more and longer than any present or past member. While I was not there when Paul Jackson convened the original planning meeting, I was there six years later and have attended EVERY National Conference since the fall of 1971 except two. I was President and twice 2nd Vice President, chairing FIVE conferences during a time the Program Chair personally introduced every speaker and panel. I was on the board at least ten years, during which we devised the Newsletter, re-wrote the Bylaws, went through three or four Journal Editors, caught up with three years of delayed Journals, and instituted the Peer Review process for articles.
Let me remind everyone that not every member is a “Professional”. ARSC was designed by Paul, and Phil Miller, and David Hall, to be the meeting ground between the Archives/libraries Institutional Collections, and the Personal collectors and researchers — the curators and the users. Back in those days those members of the Music Library Association realized most sound archivists came over from print and were learning on the job, while many private collectors had been learning since they were ten years old with some having larger and more far-reaching collections than some institutions. That there are now many opportunities to be trained specifically in sound archiving is partially due to the efforts of of the ARSC Education and Training committee formed by Ida Rosen and later reactivated by Nancy Seeger and Sara Valez. These women understood diversity 25 and 50 years ago, and so does Curtis Peoples the current chair who is looking for a co-chair if you want to explore opportunities for people to enter “our profession “.
And let me restate what Paul Jackson said, there has never been any barrier to becoming an ARSC member. There has never been a gender or race or national origin or education or profession barrier. And if you are just interested in sound recordings and just want to join a record “club” of other collectors, just buy a record and you are IN.
It must also be clarified that a person does not have to be an ARSC Member” to submit an article to the Journal, propose a presentation to the Conference Program Committee, or to attend the Annual Conference. I was very disturbed to read the characterizations of the Members by a former a Journal Editor based on remote interactions with article submitters WHO MIGHT NOT EVEN HAVE BEEN MEMBERS. But even more disturbing was the story of this editor being warned when taking the editorship by women OUTSIDE THE ORGANIZATION that “ARSC membership had a damaging reputation for being deeply sexist”. One would think that the new editor had already been in the organization, attended a number of conferences, and been able to make up her own mind from personal experience of actually interacting with the members.
As I said above, the descriptions of ARSC are unrecognizable to me from 49 years of experience. We come to the conferences to hear talks about records, cataloging, performers, meet like-minded folk, make some contacts, pal around with people we haven’t seen for a year, and meet some new people. Since only Steve Smolian and Paul Jackson has been around longer than me, EVERY person I have met at ARSC had been a “new” person. I’m poor at remembering names so I don’t really know all of you, but I try. Yeah we have our cliques, but we’ve known some of them for 20 or 30 years. And new people with similar interests join in all the time. But we’re not gossiping about people, we might argue about acoustic vs. electric, or digital vs. analog, but retrogressive ideas??
Yeah, I’ve known Kurt for over 25 years and we long ago realized that this bleeding heart Yankee liberal and that Texas religious right wing nut conservative were not going to change each other’s minds. I probably was the first to call his place Fort Nauck, and who do you think he was showing his “gun emplacement” to in his video tour. So we joke about it and I know he likes to tweak my nose a bit, and that might have included his diversity letter. And I think just about every one I know at ARSC are along about the same political and social lines as me. Anybody who looks at my personal Facebook page knows, and a lot of my ARSC and IASA friends are there with me. Diversity? In the NY arts and theatre and music scene we’ve met up with plenty of diversity. And even here in Rowan County Kentucky I’ve been a vocal supporter of diversity. And frankly, here in ARSC neither my daughter (who has been attending for 20 years) nor I have seen a problem worthy of that “reputation” — and she’s never run into being made uncomfortable or unwelcome or diminished because of her gender.
Retrograde ideas? Somebody gave a hypothetical about being pulled over to the side with someone spouting anti Semitic thoughts. And then what if that person said something about destroying Klezmer records? Well, I’ll tell you what Retrograde thoughts I HAVE heard: people talking about racism and destroying any KKK 78 he comes across. And I was shocked, disgusted, and on my way to being outraged when I heard there had been some charges about racism concerning Tim Brooks’ masterful Minstrel Show on Records presentation in the virtual conference this Spring. He was extremely careful to avoid anything offensive in his extraordinarily well researched talk which was aimed for the record collectors and catalogers. He had even done an expanded version of the minstrel genre with Bill Dogget which is in the C-Span archive. Diversity means being open to ideas. Yeah, I remember when Helen Roach stormed out of Bill Shurk’s first talk about Party Records, but when he gave another better researched talk on the subject, Father Jerry Webber politely chose not to come in — and we all joked with him about it. But we don’t even know if any who objected were even ARSC members or if they understood what research is about.
ARSC is not about politics — except when it comes to copyright legislation. ARSC is not about social engineering. Early on somebody asked if ARSC was made up of recordings or humans. ARSC is the Journal. And as my videos are in the process of being preserved, ARSC is the conference presentations, BUT remember, only about 15% of the members attend the conferences. And there are some non-members who also attend and may have been part of the problems discussed. For those of us who DO attend, ARSC has been the humans. Imperfect humans. So many wonderful people I have met who are no longer here. And so many I an looking forward to seeing again next year.
Michael Biel, PhD. Past President, Past 2nd VP/Program Chair ARSC.
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From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Paul Jackson <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2020 7:14:04 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] [EXTERNAL] [ARSCLIST] Comments on the open letter
I’m hoping to articulate my fuddy duddy feelings about the issue of
“Diversity.” The connotation seems to have evolved to ‘be inclusive of
who you allow to be part of one’s group.’ I don’t know if Lawyers, and
Librarians are inclusive, since they have so many different
organizations for different types of work…or roles.
I said I agreed with Kurt…perhaps the essence, but not all he said. As a
professional coming up in the 1950s and on, I always took a role in what
I was doing. If it was collecting, I collected anything I liked or
didn’t like if it was of the same things; rocks, spoons, recordings,
pipes, et al. There seemed no use for selecting or deselecting if the
item fit, and it didn’t cost too much (oops; a criteria).
As an early counselor, I had to deal with a bunch of boys, and some
girls, whether I liked them or not. It was my role to help them, and I
did. At church and at Interlochen, I held forth the best evening study
halls the students had had; I did not sit around like some of the
faculty, I was there to help them with their studies, and did graciously
like the librarian I came to be later.
Years later, developing a “second to none” library program at a State
Prison, (three new libraries; general, law, staff, a reading lab, and
two courses in law research and business development) and working with
inmates for 10 years, I discovered many issues the inmates had were the
same as those students of high school age. They needed to feel
important, so you gave them responsibility. I was told by one of the
inmates, if there was a riot, I would be able to leave without any
issues, because I treated everyone the same. I still do.
It seems the role of an ARSC member is to support members and the
organizations operations, as one’s own, in positive ways, i.e., “how can
WE do this better.”
As some have pointed out, times have changed a bit, and some members are
not as professional as they might be or could be, and that’s sad. But if
they are working in the fields of recordings and oral history, and now
media, it behooves all to be kind to one another. Whether one can
legislate that or not, I do not know…and there’s the rub…some don’t
think so, and therefore ARSC should not go forward. Some think it is
unnecessary, as I do. But if there are issues then perhaps, yes, it’s
required…which could lead to more or less members as an organization. I
think every member should remember their role is to support record
collecting and preservation, and adding to the collective knowledge
about artists and their work.
I am aware that some states are requiring statements of diversity in
Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws in order to remain non-profit or
non-profit charities, Whether this is now a requirement for ARSC, I
don’t know that either.
As an editor of writers stories, poems, essays and such, I have to be
careful of what goes into the Quarterly and our annual themed anthology;
fortunately we have had only a few spats that created resignations over
our 22 years of operations. So Kuddos to our Editors; it’s a heavy
job…and probably worse than mine.
*Trescott Research - Paul T. Jackson *
2503 Natalie Lane, Steilacoom, WA 98388
On 7/20/2020 3:14 PM, Gerald Seligman wrote:
> ARSC may have lost a few, but it gained me. I am impressed by the sensitivity of the debate, the positions being taken, and the respectful nature of the exchange. Also, importantly, I want to register my support for the Code of Conduct initiative and ARSC’s suggested new policies regarding the perilous social and political moment we are experiencing. In a time when health and reason itself have been politicized, it is more than appropriate for an association to review how it interacts with its constituency and membership.
> Finally, thank you Rebecca and Yuri for working so hard sustaining a thoughtful newsletter. Not easy, your position, and as others have noted, the coming issues are an ideal opportunity to flesh out the range of opinions being expressed in these email exchanges.
> In many ways, Kurt’s letter has been a timely stimulus for solidifying support around ARSC’s diversity initiatives… Though, not to put too fine a point on it, that might not have been his original intention.
> Best regards,
> Gerald Seligman
> Executive Director
> National Recording Preservation Foundation
> P.S. I hope everyone saw our call for proposals for new grants. Deadline is September 15th. Write me if you want the application form with a full explanation of our requirements.
>> On Jul 20, 2020, at 5:56 PM, Sarah Bryan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Corey Bailey wrote: "That said, let's not be overly harsh on the editor of
>> the newsletter."
>> I agree very much. Much as I disagree with the letter itself, I respect
>> Yuri's decision to publish it.
>> Sarah Bryan
>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2020 at 4:05 PM Corey Bailey <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Hi all,
>>> A followup to Rebecca's post:
>>> I would suggest a separate heading, column or department for 'Letters To
>>> The Editor' in the next newsletter. My guess is that there will be a few
>>> That said, let's not be overly harsh on the editor of the newsletter.
>>> She's doing her best and is, after all, a volunteer.
>>> I didn't intend to start a flame war and, so far - so good.
>>> Let the discussion continue and the ideas flow,
>>> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
>>> On 7/20/2020 7:13 AM, Rebecca Chandler wrote:
>>>> Good morning,
>>>> Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on the most recent Letter to the
>>>> Editor published in the newsletter. And thank you, Corey, for starting
>>>> Some background: The Editor did share the letter with the ARSC board
>>>> to publication. While I and others on the board do not agree with the
>>>> contents of the letter, it is important to the integrity of the
>>>> organization to allow our members to express themselves without
>>>> We support the decision to publish the letter as an opinion piece in the
>>>> newsletter. There were no other Letter to the Editor submissions at the
>>>> time of publication.
>>>> The Board has made its position known on the issues brought up in the
>>>> letter through its statement opposing racism and police brutality (
>>>> http://www.arsc-audio.org/pdf/ARSC_Statement_Opposing_Racism.pdf) and
>>>> support of the DEI Committee in drafting the Code of Conduct currently
>>>> under member review. If you are not familiar with these documents, I
>>>> strongly encourage you to read them (the Code of Conduct draft is only
>>>> available to members while in the review stage).
>>>> I am glad to see others sharing their thoughts and views here and I would
>>>> also encourage you to do so through giving feedback on the Code of
>>> Conduct (
>>>> and/or writing your own Letter to the Editor for consideration. You are
>>>> also welcome to reach out to me directly off-list if you do not feel
>>>> comfortable sharing your thoughts in a public forum.
>>>> Thank you,
>>>> Rebecca Chandler
>>>> *ARSC President*
>>>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2020 at 9:18 AM Gary A. Galo <
>>>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>> It was downright irresponsible for that letter to be published in the
>>>>> Newsletter, at least by itself. The Editor of the Newsletter should
>>>>> at the very least, sent that letter to a few other ARSC members, and the
>>>>> ENTIRE ARSC Board, for peer review, inviting them to offer their own
>>>>> for publication in the same issue. Publishing that letter by itself
>>>>> give readers the impression that Kurt's view is a prevailing one at
>>>>> which is certainly not the case (I believe he speaks for a miniscule
>>>>> minority in our organization, at least I hope so). I would encourage
>>>>> members, including members of the Board, to submit letters for
>>>>> in the next Newsletter, in the interests of offering a more balanced
>>>>> perspective on this subject, and upholding ARSC's reputation as an
>>>>> inclusive and welcoming professional organization.
>>>>> Gary Galo
>>>>> Audio Engineer Emeritus
>>>>> The Crane School of Music
>>>>> SUNY at Potsdam, NY 13676
>>>>> "Great art presupposes the alert mind of the educated listener."
>>>>> Arnold Schoenberg
>>>>> "A true artist doesn't want to be admired, he wants to be believed."
>>>>> Igor Markevitch
>>>>> "If you design an audio system based on the premise that nothing is
>>>>> on that system nothing will be audible."
>>>>> G. Galo
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <
>>>>> [log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Corey Bailey
>>>>> Sent: Sunday, July 19, 2020 8:25 PM
>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>> Subject: [EXTERNAL] [ARSCLIST] Comments on the open letter
>>>>> This message did not originate from SUNY Potsdam or one of its trusted
>>>>> senders. Do not open attachments, click on links, or provide your
>>>>> credentials if the source is suspicious.
>>>>> Hi All,
>>>>> In the last newsletter, there was an open letter to the ARSC membership
>>>>> titled "Letters to the Editor" by Kurt Nauck.
>>>>> Anyone care to comment on that letter?
>>>>> Corey Bailey Audio Engineering