Thursday, May 29, 2003

I'm currently reading that Kurt Cobain biography, which came out a year or so ago (Heavier than Heaven) . It's a fairly decent read, but... it's weird for me.


So, when you're a kid, there's always that pivotal time when your hero dies, right? And I don't mean "dies" as in shooting himself above a garage in Seattle. I mean, you realize that they aren't all what they're cracked up to be. It's typical "hero worship" stuff. It can be your parents. Or a celebrity. For Ben Seaver, it was that rock-star who gave him an autograph, but later, got caught making out with a groupie and yelled, "Get the hell out of here!" You know.

For me, it was Pee-Wee Herman. It's a long and involved story in itself (which I won't get into), but basically, when Pee-Wee got caught masturbating, he died to me. I quit trusting him. And other things. I grew up. Whatever. It's typical and it had to happen eventually. But Pee-Wee did it for me.

So, later, at the age of 13, I totally get another hero. And that's Kurt Cobain. But the thing is... I worshipped this hero for being an "anti-hero." He was angry and mean and... you know, an asshole. But when you're a disaffected teen (in the way that all teens are disaffected), somebody who tells you that your parents were wrong and big males are dumb and it's INTERESTING to be fucked up, well... that's good to hear. Sure, it was hero worship all over again. But it was with somebody who didn't want to be a hero. Or a celebrity. Or anything. And that nihilism made it alright.

But now... I'm reading this autobiography and it's like another hero is dying all over again because I'm finding out all of this was a lie. Kurt Cobain was somebody who consciously rehearsed what he was going to say to the press, pre-planned what he was going to wear in music videos, carefully chose what "revolutionary" beliefs to behold. Granted, I know this is a biography and should be taken with a grain of salt, but the book was authorized and the author did have access to Cobain's journals. For instance, one journal reads: "Everything I do is an overly conscious and neurotic attempt at trying to prove to others that I am at least more intelligent and cool than they think." The book also claims that as much as claimed to hate MTV, Kurt Cobain would call up his publicists and get angry if their videos weren't on enough.

I had suspected stuff like this for awhile now, but it's werid to have it confirmed. Even an anti-hero has seemingly died to me.

But I don't know. It's comforting, too, in a way. I (like everybody else) has struggled with issues of identity and wanting people to think you're "cool." So, I guess Kurt Cobain is definitely more human now. And that's good to have in heroes. Well, maybe not heroes. But people you think are cool.

But I don't even know if I still think Kurt Cobain is cool anymore though. Not because of this book. For awhile (since age 16), I've felt his "negativity" was really adolescent and unnecessary and didn't offer much in the end. The music's awesome, of course. That's for sure. But I've long outgrown Kurt Cobain.

Now, my new hero is Mac from "Night Court."

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