“If you’re really a mean person you’re going to come back as a fly and eat poop.”
I was not going to post today—and then I saw Kurt Cobain trending on Twitter. I asked myself: “oh, what did Kurt do now?” I worried, I really did—perhaps it was some sort of scandal that the boy had wittingly or unwittingly found himself in. Perhaps…he had offended someone on Twitter itself. Might this be the end of his music career? Would he have to make a public apology? Did he Liam Neeson-himself? The possibilities were endless. They say that no publicity is bad publicity…but we know different, don’t we?
I distinctly remember Kurt Cobain’s music because that was back when I just lived my life and didn’t give a shit. Then, somewhere in the mid-to-late 1990s, after I graduated college, after I had my first “legit” adult-type job, I began the long inexorable spiral into self-hatred as I tried to fit into a society that was fundamentally different than myself. For almost a quarter of a century I tried to divine the mysteries of the mainstream collective. I’d carefully read magazines like Vogue as if they were chemistry textbooks. I’d go on dates to acquire sexual intercourse as was my distinct biological programming, with the deliberateness of a surgeon and the subtly uncomfortable facade of a John Carpenteresque shapeshifter.
Obviously…Cobain made a decision in 1994. Perhaps he contemplated his life in the music industry had he made it into his fifties…and the thought was just too inadequate for him to bear. Or maybe his death wasn’t as well-thought-out and self-reflective as that at all…maybe it was just a result of a chaotic jumble of personal problems and substance abuse. He suicided at the same time my academic life took a turn for the “serious”…when I started receiving scholarships and awards and was being prepped for massive success in the outside world. The pressure was on. I eventually dumped all that for a career in my childhood love, comic books—but even those jobs, for various entertainment conglomerates, were at least considered “respectable.” For all the supposed “edginess” of an industry filled with gonzo artists and stories about mutants…it was disappointingly, crushingly, conservative.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been reading a copy of the 1995 graphic novel anthology The Big Book Of Conspiracies. Basically, it was a series of vignettes tied together with a “man in black”-type narrator, covering a wide range of conspiracy theories.
What struck me the most about re-reading it—I had devoured it when it first came out in the Nineties—was just how radical a book like that was. There was no way, I thought, that a similar tome could be produced now by a company like DC Comics (the GN being put out through their imprint Factoid Books). In fact, even in the early 2000s, when I actually worked there, there was NO WAY a book like this would have been published.
In fact…I seem to remember a rumor through the halls that not only would a book like The Big Book Of Conspiracies not be published through DC Comics at that time, but if the upper management had their way, it would NEVER see print again.
And indeed…The Big Book Of Conspiracies does seem to be out of print; with used copies available on Amazon starting at $50.
Recently, DC’s “edgy” imprint Vertigo bowed to pressure from religious conservatives to essentially “cancel” an upcoming series about Jesus, Second Coming. Edgy edgy edgy Vertigo. So edgy.
Now, in the old days, such a suddenly canceled-before-it-came-out series like that could languish in legal limbo, with its hapless creators unable to take it elsewhere because of contracts. So at least in the case of Second Coming, the team of Mark Russell and Richard Pace were able to get the rights back immediately. But still…
As I said: there is NO WAY in our contemporary culture that something like The Big Book Of Conspiracies would be published by a mainstream press. The Nineties are long gone, and Kurt Cobain is apparently dead.
That’s right—this was supposed to be a post about Kurt Cobain and I made it mostly about myself. I’m an asshole; welcome to the Internet!
Personally, my fave “grunge” band was Stone Temple Pilots. I remember some people describing them as a Nirvana “rip-off”—what an absolute load of bullshit! Like comparing apples and oranges.
Scott Weiland lasted a little bit longer than Kurt Cobain, and Chris Cornell lasted a little bit longer than Scott Weiland…and Dolores O’Riordan lasted a little bit longer than Chris Cornell.
All we’ve got left is Dave Grohl; somebody keep an eye on that guy!
Have a good Wednesday.