I was reminded in print and radio that today is the ten year anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. It has prompted me to think about what that day meant to me then, and what does it mean now.
I was more concerned about a sense of generational identity back then, and so all I could think was "here we go... another Hendrix, another Morrison, another Joplin... another rock'n'roll martyr to venerate just like the Baby Boomers". That has proven to be true and not true. There has been surprisingly little in the way of hero worship for the martyred saint in the ten years since. I suppose we should credit Courtney Love, Krist Novelesic, and Dave Grohl for that. At the same time, that trio seems to be successfully replaying the whole surviving Beatles vs. Yoko scenario so well that they should take the act on the road. Then again, I imagine that widows often don't get along well with their late husbands' friends.
As for now, reminiscence about that day from people who like to say "I remember that day as if it was yesterday... I watched MTV for 24 hours straight... I felt so torn apart" sickens me. Kurt Cobain was an artist, and a brilliant one. Yet we barely knew who he was except through his music and lyrics, and even there he was decidedly opaque. Love for him is too much not about what he felt or who he was, but rather about what his art let us feel about ourselves. I think Kurt Cobain understood the difference while he was alive.
We can miss Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, but, let us not assign too much meaning to it. He was truly a stranger to us in many if not all ways and very private. The public obsession with him in life no doubt made him feel uncomfortable. He is hopefully at peace now and I, for one, want to let him rest. I just want to listen to the music, because it endures.
on 2004-04-05 at 10:50 a.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond