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Kurt Cobain: Still Dead (And Other Observations)
Intellectual Conservative ^ | 06 April 2004 | Brian S. Wise

Posted on 04/06/2004 9:42:49 AM PDT by presidio9

Spin magazine was the first by my observation to put the very dead Kurt Cobain on its April cover to mark the tenth anniversary of his suicide, on 05 April 1994 (his body was found on 08 April). Though he’s nearly twenty-five in this picture, he looks all of seventeen and decidedly sober, one of those rarities. It’s hard to say how often Cobain was photographed sober, but since his death very few publications have thought to publish a decent photo of the man, for fear of not portraying him as a tragic figure.

But at least we have tragic texts. “Kurt Cobain was many things while he was alive – punk, pop star, hero, victim, junkie, feminist, geek avenger, wiseass. But ten years after his death, he’s something else entirely. He’s a ghost [emphasis original] …. [The] bitter finality of Cobain’s end became an indelible part of his story …. No other chapter in pop music history has so much darkness at its center. And no other artist still haunts us in such a powerful, subliminal way.” And so forth.

Chris Norris, who wrote “The Ghost of Saint Kurt” for Spin, may or may not be a fine writer in everyday life, but the article goes on as though beehived old blue hairs are lining up outside Cobain’s house to see his furniture. Easy, Norris. We understand that some journalistic liberties are taken when it comes to writing tribute pieces about popular figures, but come on. If you’re going to say no other chapter in pop music history has so much darkness at its center (and in doing so, at least ignoring the likes of Syd Barrett, the former Pink Floyd lead singer who went crazy and stayed there, a different consideration from being addicted, depressed and ending it all), you’re implying that since “Rock Around the Clock” there has been nothing worse, which is more than a little silly.

But Kurt Cobain was what he was, and a decade later we are left to consider the question (“Was Cobain a performer of real significance or an over-hyped flash in the pan?”) with the full benefit of retrospect. Helpful to remember that what makes a performer unique isn’t just his abilities but the moment in time in which he is “discovered.” Consequently, what made Cobain special wasn’t necessarily his ability to write and perform the catchiest hooks in popular music (which he certainly did), but the confluence of musical events that made him palatable to very large, young audiences.

If released either five years before or after the actual release dates in 1991, both the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the album Nevermind would have come and gone without one-twentieth the fanfare. In 1986, bubblegum pop was still big enough to overwhelm anything different; in 1996, Nirvana would have been thought of as just another band arriving too late to the party, in the way we today consider some of the other capable bands that surrounded Nirvana, such as Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.

Instead, what happened was that Nirvana signed with Geffen (from a fine little label called Sub Pop; for its loss, Sub Pop negotiated what proved to be a tremendously profitable percentage deal against Nirvana sales, after a certain number of units), a company that had so little faith in the band it printed only fifty thousand copies of Nevermind for its initial release, and didn’t hurt itself in promotion. That was, until MTV got hold of the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the rest being history.

Nearly lost in the Norris article is the fact that a radio station in San Diego, KBZT, now plays “all your favorite grunge hits,” meaning that it has switched to an alternative music format; also meaning that Nirvana has once again taken center stage. Is anyone surprised that Cobain has found a new audience? The dynamics that made his music so fashionable thirteen years ago are in place again today, just as they were then.

Modern popular music is a repetitive, plastic, tedious wasteland directed primarily at teenage babysitters and their babysitting money; an industry in desperate need of several shots in the arm from something large, intrusive and different. And while there are bands making large, original strides forward – Queens of the Stone Age comes to mind, as does Slipknot – they aren’t striking the sort of nerve Nirvana struck, most likely because not enough people aren’t fed up, yet. Hopefully they will be very soon.


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1 posted on 04/06/2004 9:42:50 AM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9
Most rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read. -- Frank Zappa
2 posted on 04/06/2004 9:47:38 AM PDT by martin_fierro (Fingers of Fury™)
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To: All


Thanks for the pic sciencediet :0)


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3 posted on 04/06/2004 9:47:47 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Freepers post from sun to sun, but a fundraiser bot's work is never done.)
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To: presidio9
Anyone remember Ian Curtis of Joy Division? By comparison, Nirvana seems like silly pop music by an over-rated hack.
4 posted on 04/06/2004 9:55:15 AM PDT by ffusco (Maecilius Fuscus,Governor of Longovicium , Manchester, England. 238-244 AD)
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To: ffusco; martin_fierro
I want to go on record as saying that I think Nirvana was one of the most important bands in Rock N Roll history. The author's obsevation that the band's success was a result of a unique confluence of events is particularly asinine. The same could be said about any popular cultural phenominon.
5 posted on 04/06/2004 10:00:15 AM PDT by presidio9 ("There are no mistakes -- only Happy Accidents." -Bob Ross)
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To: presidio9
Many in Gen-X had a lot to be fed up with. On the surface, they were fed up with the big-hair bubble gum bands of the 80's. The likes of New Kids on the Block and Millie Vanillie only made it worse. Deeper though, many perceived themselves as having been shortchanged by the social experiments of the late 60's and 70's. The attempt to find solace for the latch-key childhood and broken homes in wanton materialism proved a failure. Gen-Xers as a group felt they had an emptyness with nothing to fill. Later in the decade, many discovered something that would fill that emptyness- God. The rapid growth of contemporary churches is a sure sign of that discovery.
6 posted on 04/06/2004 10:03:03 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: presidio9
Interesting. I never got into Nirvana as they hit the scene right after I got out of college. There have been other music tragedies of course. Stevie Ray Vaughn was one for me as I saw him play in Atlanta in the summer of 1990 just a week or so before he was killed. Morrison, Hendrix, Bonham, etc. were are genre icons who's losses meant a change in the music itself. Cobain is another in a long list.
7 posted on 04/06/2004 10:03:56 AM PDT by Wyatt's Torch
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To: presidio9
Keep in mind the old addage that success is where preparation and opportunity meet. The opportunity was there for them to affect change. The "glam rock" genre had just about run it's course then and it was time for something new.
8 posted on 04/06/2004 10:07:13 AM PDT by Wyatt's Torch
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To: presidio9
F***ing Barf! Cobain was a talentless hack who played rehashed 70's rock. The only thing that bothered me about him taking the easy way out was that I'd be forced to listed to that garbage 24/7 for awhile. Bah!
9 posted on 04/06/2004 10:11:13 AM PDT by rattrap
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To: ffusco
"Love Will Tear Us Apart"...angst on vinyl.
10 posted on 04/06/2004 10:15:11 AM PDT by KateUTWS
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To: rattrap
Why are we wasting bandwidth on a low-talented idiot who succeeded more by taking his own life than by anything he ever did in life?

Calling Cobain or Nirvana "important" or anything other than a "waste of time" is totally stupid.

11 posted on 04/06/2004 10:15:43 AM PDT by 1L
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To: Wyatt's Torch
The "glam rock" genre had just about run it's course then and it was time for something new.

Some of the "Glam rock" acts tried to become a part of the changing climate of rock music, they went so far as to change just how they sounded. The "glam rockers" undoubtedly carved out their own sounds for years, but once Nirvana showed up on the stage, everyone wanted to sound like Nirvana. It's like KISS doing disco back in the days. When disco died, they carved out their own sound.

12 posted on 04/06/2004 10:16:34 AM PDT by BigSkyFreeper (Liberalism is Communism one drink at a time. - P.J. O'Rourke)
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To: presidio9

The General concurs...

13 posted on 04/06/2004 10:17:41 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: KateUTWS


Insight


Guess your dreams always end
They don't rise up just descend
But I don't care anymore
I've lost the will to want more
I'm not afraid not at all
I watch them all as they fall
But I remember when we were young
Those with habits of waste
Their sense of style and good taste
Of making sure you were right
Hey don't you know you were right?
I'm not afraid anymore
I keep my eyes on the door
But I remember....

Tears of sadness for you
More upheaval for you
Reflects a moment in time
A special moment in time
Yeah, we are wasted our time
We didn't really have time
But we remember when we were young
And all of God's angels beware
And all you judges beware
Sons of chance, take good care
For all the people not there
I'm not afraid anymore
Oh, I'm not afraid anymore

Ian Kevin Curtis 1956-1980
14 posted on 04/06/2004 10:25:00 AM PDT by ffusco (Maecilius Fuscus,Governor of Longovicium , Manchester, England. 238-244 AD)
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To: presidio9
I want to go on record as saying that I think Nirvana was one of the most important bands in Rock N Roll history.

The Record Shall So Reflect.

Not that anyone gives a flying f*** anyway.

<|:)~

15 posted on 04/06/2004 10:26:16 AM PDT by martin_fierro (Fingers of Fury™)
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To: martin_fierro
Admit it: You hang on my every word. After reading my opinion, you immediately went to Amazon and bought "Nevermind."
16 posted on 04/06/2004 10:31:41 AM PDT by presidio9 ("There are no mistakes -- only Happy Accidents." -Bob Ross)
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To: presidio9
I think Cobain just listened to too much of his own music and finally said: "A lot of this just really sucks" and KA-BLAMMO.
17 posted on 04/06/2004 10:32:09 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
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To: presidio9
"Rock music is mostly about moving big black boxes from one side of town to the other in the back of your car."

--David Thomas

18 posted on 04/06/2004 10:36:31 AM PDT by GSWarrior (Obsessed with sects.)
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To: rattrap
Rehased 70's rock???

Are you saying that just to say it or do you really feel that way?
19 posted on 04/06/2004 10:40:38 AM PDT by Conservomax (shill: One who poses as a satisfied customer or an enthusiastic gambler to dupe bystanders into part)
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To: bobjam
Every time I hear about Gen-X and angst, I want to vomit. I would like to see these kids walk a mile in their grandparents shoes. The biggest hardship kids today have to face is when the cable goes out.
20 posted on 04/06/2004 10:42:27 AM PDT by MJM59
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To: rattrap; 1L
Nirvana started a musical movement that lasted nearly two --- weeks. It's influence so transformed the rock world that the non-artform called rap not only filled the void but apparently destroyed rock and roll so completely that many people today -- never having been exposed to real musicians -- actually consider rap to be music.

If I was responsible giving rap a entry into the music world I'd blow my brains out too.
21 posted on 04/06/2004 10:44:21 AM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: presidio9
Admit it: You hang on my every word.

Well, no.

But your Missy Mofo posts are pretty good. <|:D~

22 posted on 04/06/2004 10:44:31 AM PDT by martin_fierro (Fingers of Fury™)
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To: presidio9
...The author's observation that the band's success was a result of a unique confluence of events is particularly asinine...

Agree. I refused to listen to Nirvana during its heyday because it was so hyped - like the Beatles. But just as some of McCartney's songs hold up - despite them being muzaked to death for decades now - so do Cobain's. He once said some something to the effect that he was probably happiest back when he shopped in thrift stores, which is like what Robin Williams said, "Cocaine is God's way of letting you know you have too much money."
23 posted on 04/06/2004 10:46:51 AM PDT by Sabatier
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To: martin_fierro
Haven't you heard? She's AWOL.
24 posted on 04/06/2004 10:48:05 AM PDT by presidio9 ("There are no mistakes -- only Happy Accidents." -Bob Ross)
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To: Chi-townChief
I think Cobain just listened to too much of his own music and finally said: "A lot of this just really sucks" and KA-BLAMMO.

My guess is that he awoke one morning from an drug-induced haze, saw Courtney Love and said,
"Who's that skank?"

"She's WHAT!?!"

...and promptly (and justifiably) blew his brains out.

25 posted on 04/06/2004 10:49:50 AM PDT by Ignatz (Cheerfully helping people be more like me since 1960....)
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To: presidio9
I remember the day Kurt Cobain died. I was in my office and got an email that a coworker had sent to everyone announcing what had happened. The first thought that ran through my mind was "Who's Kurt Cobain?"
26 posted on 04/06/2004 10:59:13 AM PDT by snarkpup
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To: presidio9
"If he had lived, he'd never have been able to live up to his publicity."

-Humphrey Bogart on James Dean

27 posted on 04/06/2004 11:05:19 AM PDT by T. Buzzard Trueblood
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To: ffusco
Have you seen the movie "24 Hour Party People"? It's about the whole Manchester/Factory Records scene, including Joy Division. The guy playing Curtis is amazing.
28 posted on 04/06/2004 11:30:41 AM PDT by Heyworth
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To: Conservomax
Are you saying that just to say it or do you really feel that way?

the only thing new kurt ever created was that hell spawn with courtney. nirvana's "music" was overrated, overhyped garbage. cobain was a media darling and nothing more.

29 posted on 04/06/2004 12:09:39 PM PDT by rattrap
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To: rattrap
is it just me, or does anybody see Courtney going his way quite soon?
30 posted on 04/06/2004 12:15:12 PM PDT by Sybeck1
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To: Wyatt's Torch
When we were sixteen or so, Stevie Ray asked me to sing with his band. I said no. He was bad news.

Stevie and his dad, Jimmy, are buried a short distance from my mother. I go by and leave a little something on their plots every no and then. His dad was a great guy.
31 posted on 04/06/2004 12:39:09 PM PDT by whereasandsoforth (tagged for migratory purposes only)
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To: presidio9
I want to go on record but since they don't make LP's anymore I will have to settle for my four track recorder. Nirvana was good on the Nevermind album and I listen to it when I am in a headbanger mood. Kath, Hendrix, Joplin, and Eliot were gone too soon, but then we didn't have to see them at sixty years old playing their standards.
32 posted on 04/06/2004 12:43:57 PM PDT by vetvetdoug (Vampire bats are little Democrats looking to suck your blood and give you diseases.)
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To: 1L
Calling Cobain or Nirvana "important" or anything other than a "waste of time" is totally stupid.

Well, one thing I'll give Kurt and Nirvana: They single-handedly killed the 80's heavy metal, hair band crapola. If for no other reason, we should be grateful for that.

33 posted on 04/06/2004 12:52:02 PM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: presidio9
"Kerry!!"
(To be sung to Nirvana's "Polly")

Kerry is a cracker...enslavin' black folks worst!!
All he wants is Power...still FRiends call him "Lurch"!!

He's Jean Kerry...demon seed...
He ain't hip...to righteous dreams...
He knows Clinton LIED...RE-IMPEACH!!
Right needs yer help...to whup Kerry!!
We hold out hope...that we'll be bold!!
Promise you...fight Dem fools...
We know FReedom's Right...Devolve Power!!
Right needs yer help...Guv'ment devours!!

Kerry's a whipcracker...DemRATS, they're still Clinton's fools!!
Left asks us to entrust them..."Justice Fer Clinton, you Poltroons!!"

So, we must FReep...endlessly...
It's still hip...to laugh and sing!!
Hanoi Jean, he lied...'bout his pals...
In Viet Nam, Jean pussied out!!
I hold out hope...Right'll be bold!!
Promise you...FReep fer Truth!!
We know FReedom's Right...Devolve Power!!
Right needs yer help...help FRee yerselves!!

(bass guitar solo)

Kerry's FRench...
Kerry loves Big Guv'ment...he is our enemy!!
Right must be on guard...'cuz Hanoi Jean, he LOATHES Liberty!!

He's Jean Kerry...effete breed...
Help US whup...RAT's elite dweebs!!
Hanoi Jean, he LIES...marries wealth...
We need yer help...to Unleash HELL!!
We hold out hope...you'll be bold!!
Righteous, show some pride...help yerselves!!
We need yer help...FReep with stealth......

Mudboy Slim (3/24/04)

34 posted on 04/06/2004 1:03:06 PM PDT by Mudboy Slim (Become a monthly donor......"What good am I...if I fail to FReep?!")
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To: whereasandsoforth
Great story. He was a little, sometimes a lot, messed up but he could flat play. I used to be exhausted after his shows because he was just so emotional while playing. He was a joy to watch.
35 posted on 04/06/2004 1:04:50 PM PDT by Wyatt's Torch
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To: presidio9
Allow me to go on record and say I could really care less about the man. He was a selfish coward who took the easy way out instead of trying to get help for his problems.

I am sorry, but I do not have an awful lot of respect for people who take their own lives.

36 posted on 04/06/2004 1:07:56 PM PDT by Houmatt (This is not here.)
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To: presidio9
"....? they aren?t striking the sort of nerve Nirvana struck, most likely because not enough people aren?t fed up, yet. Hopefully they will be very soon...."

Is this the same as the Demon-rats wishing the economy tanks so they can come back to power, ie. 'What is bad for America is good for us'?

37 posted on 04/06/2004 1:12:25 PM PDT by DoctorMichael (The Fourth Estate is a Fifth Column!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Houmatt

Upon completing this painting, Vincent van Gogh went inside and shot himself in the stomach. He died two days later.

38 posted on 04/06/2004 1:16:35 PM PDT by presidio9 ("There are no mistakes -- only Happy Accidents." -Bob Ross)
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To: MJM59
The biggest hardship kids today have to face is when the cable goes out. Got news for you: Gen-Xers aren't kids anymore. They haven't been for some time now. Most of the victims of 9/11 were Gen-Xers. They were at work trying to earn an income in order to pay for the social security/medicare/great society/war on poverty spending spree their grandparents went on when they ran this country.
39 posted on 04/06/2004 1:44:50 PM PDT by bobjam
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To: presidio9
Presidio, you state that Nirvana was one of the most important bands in Rock N' Roll history. Why?
40 posted on 04/06/2004 2:35:47 PM PDT by GeorgiaMike
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To: presidio9
You forgot to make a point.
41 posted on 04/06/2004 2:38:45 PM PDT by Houmatt (This is not here.)
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To: GeorgiaMike
Out of their ashes rose the Foo Fighters, a much better band. Not sure if that makes them important, but it definitely made Nirvana useful. They were one of the first bands from the Seattle grunge scene to get signed, though they were by no means innovators within that scene.

The most important band in RnR history will always be the Yardbirds.
42 posted on 04/06/2004 2:41:33 PM PDT by discostu (but this one has 11)
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To: Houmatt
You forgot to make a point.

I'd say the point is self-evident. Do you have resspect for van Gogh? Hemmingway?

What about Merriweather Lewis?

43 posted on 04/06/2004 2:51:46 PM PDT by presidio9 ("There are no mistakes -- only Happy Accidents." -Bob Ross)
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To: GeorgiaMike
All bands that represent a major change in the direction of the genre are highly important.
44 posted on 04/06/2004 2:54:50 PM PDT by presidio9 ("There are no mistakes -- only Happy Accidents." -Bob Ross)
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To: bobjam
Okay. Let me rephrase. Whatever Gen-X,Y,Z...ad nauseum teenagers of the last thirty plus years for the most part do not know what it is like to live without. Teenage angst is overated.

As far as grandparents go, my grandfather on my mothers side ran a family farm when he was not working in a foundry. My paternal grandfather worked in a mill. Both of my grand mothers raised eleven kids between them, neither worked outside of the home.
45 posted on 04/06/2004 2:56:10 PM PDT by MJM59
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To: presidio9
Hank Williams is still dead too, but his records are still hotter than Junior's.
46 posted on 04/06/2004 2:59:14 PM PDT by F.J. Mitchell (What went wrong? Bush couldn't fix 8 years of Clinton bumbling in 8 months. Next question please.)
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To: presidio9
I didn't think much of him before he killed himself, I didn't think better of him when he killed himself, and I don't care for him now that he's been dead for a long long time. Another famous, wasted life.
47 posted on 04/06/2004 3:34:31 PM PDT by dr_who_2
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To: presidio9; KangarooJacqui
And? So what? You think there is something brave, heroic, inspiring or charming about committing suicide? Why don't you say that to the people left behind?

And yes, there is a reason I pinged Kangaroo Jacqui. I want you to tell her, too.

48 posted on 04/06/2004 8:17:04 PM PDT by Houmatt (This is not here.)
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To: Houmatt
Right, I didn't ask to get brought into this argument but as Nirvana themselves once sang, "here we are now..."

Okay, for a start I don't believe Kurt Cobain was a suicide. Too many things don't add up, and Courney's been cagey on the subject for years. I reckon she had him bumped off. See the following pages for further info:
http://www.justiceforkurt.com/investigation/dmdpt/table4.shtml
http://www.cobaincase.com/

For another thing, the person I know most about who WAS a suicide - my late and beloved husband, Chris (known here as TrappedInLiberalHell) - wasn't trying to be brave, heroic, inspiring or charming. He was (I suspect, as he didn't leave a note explaining the reasons, just a note telling us he'd done it of his own free will and had used such-and-such to do so) trying to escape emotional pain which had been part of his life for a long time and eventually became too intense, and way too hard for him to seek help for alone (I was out of the country when it happened - something for which I shall never forgive myself, but which was unavoidable.)

You know how I know this? Chris had chronic depression. I know what that feels like, too - I suffer from bipolar disorder, and there (yes, into the great abyss) but for the grace of God go I. I know what it is to suffer weeks, months, years of the most hideous despair and self-loathing. I know what it is to come close to dying from that.

So to people who ping me to these kinds of arguments, I say leave me out of it please. I cannot and will not blame Chris for what he did. Because that wasn't Chris, not at the end. It was the illness which ate his soul and sucked out all hope from his spirit. And I reserve the right to hate his illness, and my own, while still loving the victims of it.
49 posted on 04/06/2004 8:50:46 PM PDT by KangarooJacqui ("I feel stupid, and contagious...")
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To: KangarooJacqui
In addressing the Cobain suicide only, I can say only this:

You are aware Cobain had written a song for the album In Utero entitled (but thankfully never recorded), I Hate Myself And I Want To Die? Are you also aware Cobain attempted to kill himself with a drug overdose a few months before?

Sorry, hon, but if Cobain did not kill himself, then neither did Budd Dwyer.

50 posted on 04/06/2004 9:00:03 PM PDT by Houmatt (This is not here.)
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