Stealing Charles Aaron’s identity to heap praise on Nickelback is against everything we stand for.
Now that our 2008 critical fete is on the books and another year of behind-the-scenes tumult is behind us, we can find the humor in traumatic technical errors that only inspired teeth-gnashing and garment-rending at the time. E.g., the “I’m Not Charles Aaron” saga. P&J ballots, you see, are delivered via an elaborate mass-mailer that sends 1,000 or so emails simultaneously, each addressing the critic directly (“Dear Rob Harvilla,” etc.) and providing a personalized login and code. Except the first time we sent out ballots this year, the elaborate mass-emailer took the first name on the list — Charles Aaron’s — and sent out 1,000 or so emails to 1,000 or so people that all said “Dear Charles Aaron” at the top.
This triggered, in the rock-critic community at large, an understandable identity crisis. Below are actual email responses we received, which when combined, in my opinion, have a nice experimental-theater, paranoiac, Kafka/Beckett quality. Observe.
I’m Not Charles Aaron
i think this wasn’t meant for me.
I’m not Charles Aaron. I’m _________.
This is actually _______. How shall I go about getting the right number for me?
Hey, I’ve voted in recent years, but I’m not Charles Aaron.
I’m not Charles Aaron!
I’m not Charles Aaron. I voted in the poll last year under my name, _______. I don’t want to mistakenly fill out someone else’s ballot.
The only problem with this is that I’m not actually Charles Aaron.
I’ve CC’ed him, and remain flattered that you’ve mixed me up w/a great writer. Now can i get mine?
I’ve been doing this for years and would like to continue to do so, but it seems there’s a mix-up with my identity here. I’m _______, and this appears to be intended for a Charles Aaron …
I must have received Charles Aaron’s Pazz & Jop information by accident.
I am not Charles Aaron. But I would still like to vote.
Just a heads up that this e-mail is addressed to Charles Aaron, but I’m ________.
But I don’t want to BE Charles Aaron!
This appears to be the wrong email — I’m ________, not Charles Aaron.
I’ve spent many hours of therapy trying to stop being Charles Aaron and I think I’m finally over it.
Thanks, but you’ve sent Charles Aaron’s voter ID number to _________. Please advise.
What if I’m not Charles Aaron?
You sent me Charles’ ballot. I’d fill it out, but I’m not sure he’d agree to Nickelback’s “Burn It to the Ground” as Song of the Year.
THE NAME SHOULD BE __________. NOT CHARLES AARON. DO YOU NEED TO DO THIS AGAIN?
Er…I am not Charles Aron.
Sadly, I am not Charles Aaron. I did, however, receive his ballot. Could I get my ballot instead?
You’ve got the wrong music writer. This is ________, not Charles Aaron. Just so ya know.
I am not Charles Aaron. My name is _________. I’ve been on the P&J list for the last four years. Does this mean i am not on the critic’s list this year?
I’m not Charles Aaron, but I am _________, and I have been a Pazz & Jop contributor in the past, so I should be on the list.
I hope for your sake this didn’t happen 1,500-odd times… I got the wrong ballot.
I’m not Charles Aaron. 🙂
Thanks, but it’s ________ — hope I’m still good!
Hi Rob — I somehow received Charles Aaron’s ballot so I wanted to let you know, and see if someone else got mine and/or what ID I should use when I vote? Thanks
Um, hi; I don’t feel like Charles Aaron… you got anything for a ________ maybe?
How goes it? I’m not Aaron — this is _________. Just thought I’d let you know.
I know Charles Aaron, and I’m definitely not him!
I appear to have received the incorrect ballot. I’m not Charles Aaron.
Except that I’m not Charles Aaron. I’m __________ (and yes, I have been voting for years). What now?
This came to me, but as you see, it was intended for Charles Aaron, and I assume that’s his ID number. Is there one for me?
My name isn’t Charles Aaron……
I think you have the wrong guy. This is ________.
I’m not Charles Aaron. Swell guy, though.
I got Charles Aaron’s voter info here. Obviously I am not he. Maybe he got mine? Maybe everybody got his? Maybe it’s just a glitch?
Hmm…I’m not Charles Aaron.
I’d love to participate, but my name isn’t Charles Aaron.
You know, it would be a good thing to be Charles Aaron. But I’m not.
I’m not Charles Aaron, but I would be interested in participating in this year’s poll.
I am not Charles Aaron, but rather ________, so I need my own ID.
Do I use the same code if I am not Charles Aaron?
You sent me Charles Aaron’s (and his ID #) by mistake. I’m _________.
I’ve been waiting for someone to mistake me for Charles Aaron for years!
I’m honored to be considered part of the 36th edition of the Pazz & Jop Poll. HOWEVER… I am not Charles Aaron.
I am not Charles Aaron.
I seem to have gotten Charles’s ballot. I’m tempted to make him look like a total douche and fill out the list with lots of smooth jazz and Switchfoot singles, but I respect y’all too much.
This is Charles Aaron’s ballot.
I wish I were Charles Aaron. But sadly, I am not.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 21, 2009