Rejection is a dead end. I can't pursue it anymore. The whole subject now depresses me. I'm tired and it's time to move on. It's time to get over it.

The motivational concept behind this column, originally, was as simple as it was vague: comb through the used bins at local record stores, take a statistical reading on the relative abundance or paucity of particular titles being resold for cash, and then utilize that data as a springboard to comment on what the kids decidedly aren't listening to these days, and why.

It seemed a promising idea, and I was excited in my own cautious way. But if the crux was primarily sociological -- with a smattering of crank cultural criticism thrown into the mix -- it wasn't long before I went completely astray. I wandered. Not that anyone has noticed, but for the past five or six months, I've been chasing down and circling around the historical, philosophical, and slightly comedic manifestations and implications of rejection in rock music, sans data, sans used CDs -- the last refuge of a lazy man.

When, last month, I took as this column's centerpiece the facetiously tragic rejection of David Lee Roth for Sammy Hagar in the once-vital group Van Halen, I realized -- as Bob Mould once put it in a song -- that the needle had hit E. I'd taken, like many desperate amateurs before me, a flying fuck at a rolling donut. I could only hope that it was amusing. It surely embarrassed me, as the subject was partly autobiographical. As the Red Rocker said so incriminatingly, "there's only one way to rock" -- and then blatantly ignored his own advice. (What a reject!)

So, to make a long story short, I'm rejecting Reject Roundup. This should come as no surprise. Dwell long enough on anything, and it slowly and certainly evolves from theory to praxis. So long! I'm entitled to this farewell.

Surely, there's no bitterness in this decision, only a poorly earned and hastily manufactured sense of exhausted relief. As everyone knows, the act of rejecting is infinitely more liberating than the hell of being rejected. Rejection blows. But before I bid a vaporous adieu to the wafting fumes of my creativity on this issue, I'd like to take the opportunity to get a few things off my rejection-heavy chest.

First of all, in keeping with the rejection of rejection, I'd like to say that I reject out of hand the fantastic, fanatic proliferation of rejectable CDs themselves. The reason I opted early on against browsing the used racks for column fodder was the unbelievable abundance of new releases -- sold-off, discarded, or otherwise. There are way too many bands out there, way too much new music flooding the market, and far too much B-grade shit to choose from. This is democratic consumerism at its unfettered free-market worst: endless choices springing from meritless opportunity. On this point, unfortunately, I agree with the assessment of Baudelaire and countless other modernist European sniffs: The arts are the specific domain of an elite, inspired aristocracy, even in a society where no aristocracy exists.

Absolutely everyone has the personal right -- nay, the human duty -- to be creative, to express themselves in melodic catharsis, or whatever melts your butter. But that right, in too many instances, is unchecked by a much-needed hierarchy of quality control. Playing in clubs is fine -- even if your band sucks ass -- but not everyone deserves to enter the fray of the permanent. Devaluation, mediocritization, musical anemia, and Silverchair have been the general results of the shotgun blast heard round the inbred world of rock music. I'm all for a renaissance: This ain't no renaissance. This is an era of regressive banality atrophying into a senseless multiple-choice quiz where nobody wins. There's too much and yet so little. Somehow, I blame the Bill Gates generation for this self-indulgent avalanche of self- produced, prefab, digitized dreck.

There's only one thing to do when you hit a dead end: turn around and go back the other way. It will be a long road to recovering my formerly Zen attitude about music. From here on out, I will try to accept everything, or almost everything, or at least some things I might have once rejected too quickly. Until that time comes, I'll keep my mouth shut.