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Newsweek previews Cobain journals.
October 20, 2002 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Newsweek previews Cobain journals. (link from Drudge)
posted by alfredogarcia (44 comments total)

 
What a fuckin' bummer.
posted by skinsuit at 5:59 PM on October 20, 2002


This stuff may very well be illuminating in a lot of ways, but I'm getting a vision of John Lennon redux here, where every little bit of Cobain gets picked off leaving nothing but bones. He already gave us enough, let's give him some peace in death at least.
posted by jonmc at 6:08 PM on October 20, 2002


For the fans, pages from his journals are here.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 6:23 PM on October 20, 2002


I agree, jonmc. I also think the journals would be much more "illuminating" in another ten or fifteen years, when they feel more like history. Right now, the whole thing just seems like exploitation.
posted by hippugeek at 6:29 PM on October 20, 2002


Dave Grohl says he's not going to read it. Personally I'm glad the journals are getting published, in the same way I'm glad Plath's journals were published (I hope Cobains have gone under less editing though).
posted by bobo123 at 6:38 PM on October 20, 2002


give a junkie an upside down fender mustang and a cheesy fuzztone and whaddya get? i dunno, but it smells like...
posted by quonsar at 6:44 PM on October 20, 2002


I sure as hell ain't gonna read it, and plan on making fun of anyone that does.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:05 PM on October 20, 2002


wait, is this kurt cobain's journal or excerpts from that guy in the corner of the coffee shop that always looks pissed off?
posted by aenemated at 7:09 PM on October 20, 2002


Anne Frank: "STOP READING MY DIARY!!!"
posted by Stan Chin at 7:36 PM on October 20, 2002


Wow, he's even more vapid than I expected. I would have bet that wasn't possible.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:50 PM on October 20, 2002


I agree with jonmc on this one. It does seem like the vultures are striking, and since so much of his identity was tied up in confusion about having his private life so publicly examined, it seems wrong. It seems like pure opportunism, and a sad examination of a tortured, not-very-articulate soul. His lyrics were pretty clear about his inner-demons--can't that be enough?
posted by readymade at 8:09 PM on October 20, 2002


anytime someone publishes a diary of someone else, i view them with a certain amount of contempt... it should be for the author to determine in their lifetime whether or not somethng gets published.
at the same time there is the interested side of me that reads anything that is lying around. i personally am uninterested in ever reading it, but if a published book is on someone's coffee table i don't know if i can honestly say i wouldn't. i will not read personal works without permission.
posted by the aloha at 8:10 PM on October 20, 2002


"not-very-articulate-soul," readymade?

As an English teacher, I've read thousands of young people's journals, and found Cobain's to be much better than most. Concise and compelling, I'd say.

And, BTW, even though I'm a jazz musician, schooled in the logistics of harmony, I've found Nirvana's almost random chord changes strangely compelling.
posted by kozad at 8:16 PM on October 20, 2002


Gawd, why the hell does anyone CARE about this? I like mcwweetie's idea.
posted by davidmsc at 8:22 PM on October 20, 2002


Insightful and illuminating as always, davidmsc.
posted by Optamystic at 8:29 PM on October 20, 2002


As with most closer examinations of what we might have seen as magic, the view is less than thrilling. But if we've done nothing here, at least quonsar gets a 463rd chance to remind us of how much he hates Nirvana, just in case we'd somehow forgotten.
posted by jalexei at 9:03 PM on October 20, 2002


‘Journals’ begins with passion and ambition. It ends as a harrowing cautionary tale about addiction.

Can the journals be any worse than the writing of this article? Oh, a harrowing AND cautionary tale! Ugh.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:05 PM on October 20, 2002


The reflexive attempt to paint this sort of thing as exploitative has always struck me as a bit sanctimonious. A lot of people said the same thing about the release of Douglas Adams' uncollected work - most of them didn't know that Adams wrote an introduction to a P.G. Wodehouse anthology published after Wodehouse's death.

But when I got to the part where he slams Lynn Hirschberg as overweight and unpopular in high school, I cringed. It's not fair to judge him on the basis of some words he scribbled in anger about a journalist who wrote a piece he found defamatory, but I couldn't help feeling that it sullied his image, in my mind anyway, as a voice for alienated kids. Maybe there are reasons that this is better unpublished.
posted by transona5 at 9:20 PM on October 20, 2002


I'm still trying to read that David Lee Roth book.
You know what? It's the ideal rock star book. It illuminates nothing, and doesn't peel back a single layer. Perfect. l'm still able to think of Dave as Dave.

With rock stars, you're doing like 70% of the heavy lifting. The more you really know about them, the less you'll want to.
posted by dong_resin at 9:36 PM on October 20, 2002


The most violating thing ive felt this year is not the media exxagerations or the catty gossip, but the rape of my personal thoughts. Ripped out of pages from my stay in hospitals and aeroplane rides hotel stays etc.

Hm.
posted by jragon at 10:27 PM on October 20, 2002


for those interested: check out the mother of all published diaries. the ultimate bathroom book.
posted by alfredogarcia at 10:30 PM on October 20, 2002


*some lame comment about how i think nirvana sucks*

IM SO AWESOME!!!!!
posted by Satapher at 11:00 PM on October 20, 2002


gaddam, what a little bitch he was.


(and i'm not really all that awesome)
posted by joedan at 12:59 AM on October 21, 2002


Within the months between October 1991 thru December 92 I have had 4 four notebooks filled with two years worth of poetry and personal writing ... The most violating thing ive felt this year is not the media exxagerations or the catty gossip, but the rape of my personal thoughts. Ripped out of pages from my stay in hospitals and aeroplane rides hotel stays etc. I feel compelled to say f—k you F—k you to those of you who have absolutely no regard for me as a person. You have raped me harder than you’ll ever know.

Glad it's on MSNBC, in that case.

In all seriousness, though, we do shit like this all the time -- the difference is that it's only a decade later in this case. Fuck, Kafka asked his only friend to burn all his manuscripts so that no one could ever read them -- and the friend published them. Every single one of them. Sure, it's a shitty thing to do. Do we feel bad about it? No. Because we can't imagine living in a world in which his work had been burned -- because we need access to minds like that. And reading through these excerpts -- god, this man's way of thought defined that generation, and that's something that I'm glad we have access to, just like Kafka and Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and any other thinker whose privacy was invaded after their deaths. Don't read it because it "brings you closer to Kurt" or some shit -- read it because it's interesting and valuable, you motherfuckers, and what could be the harm in that?
posted by tweebiscuit at 1:19 AM on October 21, 2002


(Sorry, sometimes I end up cursing casually when making a grand statement. No hostility meant.)
posted by tweebiscuit at 1:19 AM on October 21, 2002


"...god, this man's way of thought defined that generation, and that's something that I'm glad we have access to, just like Kafka and Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and..."

Oh my god, please, you're not comparing Cobain to Kafka, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche are you?

And Cobain's thought didn't define any generation, his music did, and only for the briefest of moments. It was barely long enough for grunge couture to make an appearance. He was a great entertainer. Lets not raise him to the status of one of the great thinkers of our time. That's just ridiculous.
posted by mikhail at 1:53 AM on October 21, 2002


I am not a vapid person.

I totally identified with what I read.

How many of you motherfuckers (thanks for the term tweebiscuit) actually keep a diary or journal yourself? Not a self-aggrandizing public one, mind you. He kept one. If you wrote down just 1% of every intrusive thought, every longing, every uncertainty, you would find out just how vapid you and indeed, we all are. It's his journaling, and judging from the content of what I read, he no more wanted it to be famous than he did his person.

Vapid indeed.

Around these parts Cobain secures a touch of mythicism. Not that he earned it on his own, but that perhaps said mythicism would have never occured weren't it for the timeless tragedy played out before our needling media specs. It's classic, as the story encapsulates the top and the bottom of the human condition simultaneously, all in one easy to assemble package. Say what you want, but the life of Kurt Cobain is the unlikely sequel to the stories they've been writing for centuries. Funny that, pop sensation stuff.
posted by crasspastor at 1:59 AM on October 21, 2002


Wow. That link opened ten new windows in two seconds before I managed to quit IE. Something tells me Cobain doesn't want me reading his journals.
posted by swerve at 3:02 AM on October 21, 2002


"I cried to Seasons in the Sun."

Nirvana did a rarely heard cover version of that song. (It's here, along with some other b-sides and covers. Navigate to "bootlegs.")

Thanks for the links, bobo123 and delusionsofgrandeur.
posted by Ljubljana at 3:13 AM on October 21, 2002


I refuse to read the entries unless someone puts them online in a LiveJournal format.
posted by gluechunk at 3:22 AM on October 21, 2002


He was a great entertainer
haha.. you make him sound like Frank Sinatra.
posted by carfilhiot at 4:12 AM on October 21, 2002


Kurt's imagery (from the letter to Tobi Vail) for S.L.T.S. would have made for a better video. Kinda like cross between the New Radicals "Get What You Give" video and the video we've seen a hundred times. Kids smashing up a mall and then they return to a pep rally to hand out guns and recruit people into the punk army. "Here's your gun and your Pixie's CD, now fight on solder".
posted by mkelley at 5:58 AM on October 21, 2002


That "Seasons in the Sun" bootleg is terrific. Thanks for the link.

As a Nirvana fan, I'm interested in these diaries and anything else that provides insight on Cobain. It may just be simple fanboy appreciation, but I find that my interest in his music (and attitude) continues to grow over time. I think his unbelievable cover of "In the Pines" at the end of Unplugged sums up his appeal perfectly -- how many of today's rockers-du-jour grew up loving Leadbelly, of all people, and could belt out that dark-hearted 19th century folk standard with such a genuine evocation of misery and regret? I'm amazed that a member of my raised-on-MTV generation was capable of such authenticity.

One thing the diaries make clear, along with other writing such as his suicide note, is that his drive for authenticity contributed to his personal problems. All his talk of not living up to the expectations of the band's "true fans" is sad; he should have given himself enough time to outgrow that childish notion. He used to joke about how Nirvana was the '90s version of Cheap Trick and would slide into anonymity just as readily. I don't think that ever would've happened, but Cobain would've loved to be a washed-up musician more than anyone.
posted by rcade at 6:18 AM on October 21, 2002


I think his unbelievable cover of "In the Pines" at the end of Unplugged sums up his appeal perfectly

Although I'm nowhere near the level of hero-worship for cobain found in this thread, that cover was the moment I did come to respect him, and, for me, is his finest performance.

Sadly, I'm sure most of his fans think of it as a nirvana original.
posted by justgary at 9:13 AM on October 21, 2002


I'm getting a vision of John Lennon redux here, where every little bit of Cobain gets picked off leaving nothing but bones.

Well, of course. Courtney Love has a lifetime of cosmetic surgery to pay for!
posted by Ty Webb at 9:59 AM on October 21, 2002


Hero worship? There was no hero worship in this post. There were people talking about the article, talking about whether or not it was morally kosher, talking about the article.

TALKING ABOUT THE ARTICLE.

There was no hero worship, but rather : pointless anti-hero worship statments, typical mefi fuck debasers, derailing something they know other people enjoy to feel superior. So why dont you circle jerks keep your holes covered unless you want to talk about the article.
posted by Satapher at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2002


Hero worship? There was no hero worship in this post.

Satapher, I wasn't talking about the post itself. I was talking about the attitude that cobain was the 'voice of a genernation' concept held by many nirvana fans. I'm talking about comparing a rockstar with a few cds to "Kafka and Kierkegaard and Nietzsche".

There was no hero worship, but rather : pointless anti-hero worship statments, typical mefi fuck debasers, derailing something they know other people enjoy to feel superior.

I read the article, and gave a complimentary comment. Because I don't feel cobain should be quite as glorified as maybe you (obviously) do doesn't mean I feel superior or am trying to derail the thread.

So why dont you circle jerks keep your holes covered unless you want to talk about the article.

Believe it or not, its not your job to guide the thread in the direction you desire. I must say though, you have a wonderful way with words.
posted by justgary at 10:39 AM on October 21, 2002


Im sorry justgary. It wasnt you my post digressed into. I just used your phrase.

Its not just this post. Its not that i glorify mr cobain. Its just the grade school derailing is so frustrating and silly.

The same thing happened in the Joni Mitchell post a while back. It was about record companies and contracts and all that jazz. But people would logon and just spout out something along the lines of Joni Mitchell
"sucking" or being out of key... but the post was about record companies and contracts and all that jazz.

whats the point? only self pleasure. its true.
posted by Satapher at 11:13 AM on October 21, 2002


A lot of people don't dig Nirvana, and don't grok all this "voice of a generation" stuff.

What you have to remember is that when Nirvana showed up on the music scene, millions of people bought his records. And his records were authentic. He was angry, neurotic and alienated in his music. For real. No whiny Fred Durst "I know why you wanna hate me!" white-boy bullshit. And a million kids sat up overnight and actively identified with that, a mass of kids all saying "Yeah, I feel that too." That's significant.

Maybe you missed it if you weren't in high school/junior high at the time. But it was huge, and it felt really really good.
posted by bingbangbong at 11:29 AM on October 21, 2002


Satapher. I understand what you meant. Some people enjoy pissing on threads. That wasn't my purpose.

I really enjoy cobain's music, and besides, we all have our heroes, and I wouldn't belittle anyone's.
posted by justgary at 11:48 AM on October 21, 2002


I'm with rcade and justgary on the In the Pines cover, which really moved me.

Isn't it interesting how he talks about his guilt over his success in one entry and then denies it in another? Ditto his denial over being suicidal and addicted, and in reality we know he was? Or how he hints he loves his Bikini Kill girlfriend, but never sends the letter, and winds up with Courtney? I think all humans can be like this to some extent -- not wanting to face up to things that may be tough to face up to. I wonder whether the denial ultimately makes things easier or harder on the psyche.

A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial. A denial.

Or maybe some people are just more conflicted than others, and this makes their lives harder.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2002


I didn't intend to put Cobain up on a pedestal next to Kafka, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and I'm sorry I gave that impression. I was simply trying to make the point that the posthumous publication of the journals of influential figures has been infinitely valuable to future generations, and it shouldn't be dismissed on principle.
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:31 PM on October 21, 2002


tweebiscuit, everyone who wasnt quick to conflict understood you, friend.
posted by Satapher at 12:23 AM on October 22, 2002


haha.. you make him sound like Frank Sinatra.

One man's Sinatra is another man's ... well ... yawn.
posted by jragon at 5:26 PM on October 25, 2002


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