Blue Yodel #36 – The Inertia Awards

Inertia: (noun) The resistance of any object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change. Wikipedia, p. 39,537,435.

Further evidence of an IBMA conspiracy to promote bluegrass came to light last week when the organization sent out a press release describing something called the Momentum Awards, which, according to an insider—whom I will simply refer to as Deep Yodel—are designed to

. . . focus on artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music. Five artists will receive performance awards, while three industry awards will go to key contributors in the bluegrass business.

IBMA interim executive director Nancy Cardwell said, “The talents of emerging artists and industry professionals are essential to keeping bluegrass alive and growing, and the IBMA board feels these individuals deserve special recognition for the hard work and the many contributions they are making to the industry as a whole.”

At this point you might want to go back and re-read The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf with illustrations by Robert Lawson (related to Doyle?). It’s the story of Ferdinand the Bull who likes to “sit just quietly and smell the flowers,” unlike all the other little bulls who “run and jump and butt their heads together.”

I just read it again and realized it’s probably the most influential book in my life. And that’s when the idea hit me like a bee sting under a cork tree: The Inertia Awards.

Sometime—when I get around to it—I will announce the names of the recipients of the first biennial (hopefully, no one will remember in a couple of years) Inertia Awards honoring those in bluegrass who sit just quietly and smell the flowers.

There are a few rules:

  1. You have to be self-nominated. Which is what really happens in awards anyway. This just makes it legit. Of course, those most qualified for the Inertia Awards are the same people who would not bother to nominate themselves—a Catch-22 that will, I hope, make the awards eventually disappear out of indifference.
  2. There is no age limit. Eight-year-olds get the message as do eighty-year-olds. It’s those of us in the middle who tend to forget.
  3. There will be three awards: one for someone who stands on stage, one for someone who stands backstage, and one for someone who stands in front of the stage. This seems right and fair—and matches some actual festival attendance figures.
  4. There will be no event staged for the presentation of the awards as that would entail planning and effort.
  5. There is no statuette to put on your mantel for you to knock over and draw attention to when you have people over for dinner.
  6. A Certificate of Non-accomplishment will be created out of a Microsoft Word template with your name and the Latin motto of the Inertia Awards, “Sittus Justae Quietus and Smelli the Rosus.” I probably won’t get around to mailing it, so winners can pick up your certificate if you’re ever in San Diego.
  7. There is no deadline for submitting a nomination as we know you would ignore it anyway.
  8. A few exclusions: 1) if you’ve ever been recognized or awarded for any effort of your own in the past, you are automatically excluded from the Inertia Awards. 2) If you’ve ever even thought of a Kickstarter project, forget it. And 3) friends and family of mine will not be considered for the award, although Uncle Shoobie should really receive a lifetime achievement Inertia Award. In fact, we may rename these the Shoobies.

If you’re as prone to inertia as I am, you may be asking yourself, Why should I go to the effort of nominating myself for an Inertia Award? If you are asking yourself that, then you’re just the sort of person we’re looking for!

Let’s face it: you’ve earned it. After years of sitting just quietly, you were suddenly thrown into a world of Facebook and Twitter where you are seen as a second-class citizen for not running around looking busy all the time and documenting it for your closest 5,000 friends.

If you’re asking yourself, How can this award help my career? You are definitely NOT the kind of person we’re looking for. I can guarantee this award will have no effect on anyone’s career, and that’s the point.

So, if you feel that life has passed you by and you’re just fine with that, please send in your nomination and I’ll consider it by picking three winners at random. Any system more complicated would mean work and that’s not going to happen.

I await, but do not expect, your nominations. In fact, your time would better be spent reading The Story of Ferdinand or sitting just quietly and smelling the flowers.

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About the Author

Chris Stuart

Chris Stuart is a writer and songwriter living in San Diego. He was the 2008 recipient of the IBMA Print Media Person of the Year award, co-writer of the 2009 IBMA Song of the Year, and past winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting contest in bluegrass and gospel categories. You can follow him on Twitter @cvstuart, on Facebook, and at On Tuesdays you can find him having fish tacos at Roberto’s in Del Mar.