You know, if a week ago you had told me that the Chris Cornell saga would have “ended” a couple of months later with the lead singer for another of my favorite bands committing suicide—a friend of Cornell, killing himself in the same manner as Cornell, and on Cornell’s birthday yet—I couldn’t even come up with that as fiction. I couldn’t even write a story like that, because it would seem too on-the-nose and not something that would actually happen in reality.
I wrote my first “New Fatalism” post before Chris Cornell died, and in it I discussed the weird energy I was picking up in the pop-culture zeitgeist regarding the topic of suicide.
Spearheading this energy was the controversial new TV series 13 Reasons Why, which featured a suicidal character named Alex—a musician who was obviously based on Kurt Cobain (blond, had the same stomach pain disorder, etc.) and might have killed himself in the same manner as Cobain (spoilers, sorry).
I tied this to a heavily Cobain-themed music video that was just released around the same time period as 13 Reasons Why—”Entertainment Forever,” by Father John Misty and starring Macaulay Culkin as Cobain. And there were also several prominent suicides reported in the news during that time period, including Miracle star Michael Mantenuto and Aaron Hernandez.
Soundgarden frontman Cornell committed suicide by hanging like 17 days after that post. Now Chester Bennington, from the band Linkin Park, has also killed himself—by hanging—on Cornell’s birthday.
The two men were good friends.
I was so creeped out by the news of Bennington’s passing that I just shut my computer down, my phone down, etc. & stayed away from the media completely. In contrast to my reaction to Cornell’s death I just couldn’t read anything about this latest tragedy or even listen to Linkin Park music. I had always liked Soundgarden, but to be honest some of that for me was just a nostalgic 90’s flashback thing. But I listened to Linkin Park on a regular basis; it was/is a band that had much more immediate relevance to me.
I haven’t really been this disturbed by hearing about a celebrity death since Robin Williams. I anticipate the old criticism here: I didn’t even know them really, people in this world die every day, and I shouldn’t feel upset. That’s bullshit, because if nothing else: to me, it’s confirmation/a symptom/a victim of that weird zeitgeist energy. It tells me: there is something seriously amiss.
It’s like when David Bowie and Prince died within like 4 months of each other. It’s a weird fucking feeling. Like when Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin all died around the same time period and at the same age. And, in the case of Cornell/Bennington, it most certainly brings to mind the wave of grunge musicians in the mid-90s who ended up dead by suicide/overdose.
The website Twilight Language by Loren Coleman is a very good resource for tracking a lot of these “zeitgeist”-type stories. He has a post on the Cornell/Bennington thing, an extremely thorough post on that wave of grunge musicians dying, and just information on these events that seem to repeat themselves in the news—what Coleman refers to as “The Copycat Effect.” He writes pretty much on every major/creepy news story and points out how they resonate with other events/symbolism—but never goes overboard with it like to Crazytown/Paranoiasville/Chapel Perilous—so if that is your bag you should definitely check that site out.
Last thing I’ll say on this topic is that…it really made me aware of how absolutely creeped out I can get regarding certain stories. And that’s a separate post, I think: the types of news stories and conspiracies and whatnot that creep me the fuck out to the point where I just stay off the Internet for a while. I mean, there’s supposedly a weird UFO connection here with Bennington, and also as I’m skimming Coleman’s post on the recent death of rapper Prodigy I’m also seeing a UFO connection. Oh man: that shit creeps me out.
You need to be a hardy person to keep researching this stuff. I can only do it in pieces and then I have to completely step away and just like brush my cat and watch old Abbott and Costello movies.