Undersized and whiny, Cobain found himself a misfit during high school. He claimed his classmates repeatedly beat him up and called him a “faggot.” He said such experiences gave him a “real hatred for the average American macho male.” In retaliation, he’d spray-paint things such as HOMO SEX RULES and GOD IS GAY on vehicles and buildings in Aberdeen. Although he said he was biologically attracted to women, he would hang with gay friends and “pretend I was gay just to fuck with people.” After becoming a rock star, he would perform in dresses, kiss his bass player Krist Novoselic onstage, write lyrics that claimed “everyone is gay,” and utter inanities such as “I am not gay, although I wish I were, just to piss off homophobes.” In diaries that were later released in book form, he said that all homophobes should endure forced vasectomies.
Much of his political indoctrination occurred after high school when he moved to Olympia, WA, breeding ground of a virulent strain of testicle-smashing pop-culture feminism known as the “riot grrrl” movement. Olympia was where Cobain, according to a biographer, “had found his true artistic muse,” allowing him to augment his anti-heterosexual militance with the cold twin prongs of anti-white and anti-male militance. It apparently slipped Kurt’s mind that through it all, he remained a heterosexual white male.
Kurt entwined his hairy armpits with those of the riot grrrls in hating men. He would write, “never met a wise man…if so it’s a woman.” Ironically, he eventually married and bred with Courtney Love, a woman whose very existence justifies misogyny.
Excerpts from his personal journals reveal someone who had not only found a safe haven from Aberdeen’s purportedly racist inbred jocks and was now able to live and let live—he called for his former tormentors’ extinction. He joyously indulged in the sort of totalitarian misfit revenge fantasies that stain so much of leftist psychology:
Yeah, all Isms feed off one another, but at the top of the food chain is still the white, corporate, macho, strong ox male. Not redeemable as far as I’m concerned….I am in absolute and total support of…full scale violently organized, terrorist-fueled revolution….It would be nice to see the gluttons become so commonly hunted down that eventually they will either submit to the opposite of their ways or be scared shitless to ever leave their homes….Arm yourself, find a representative of Gluttony or oppression and blow the motherfuckers head off….And the hairy, sweaty, macho, sexist dickheads will soon drown in a pool of razorblades and semen, stemmed from the uprising of their children.
It didn’t matter that this animal-rights activist collected animal porn and killed a cat while a teenager. It didn’t matter he postured himself as a feminist even though he’d molested a retarded girl, or, according to lifelong friend Dylan Carlson, privately continued referring to women as “bitches.”
It’s what he symbolized that was important. Cobain became a hero to a generation of kids who’d also felt picked-on in high school but, even far into adulthood, never seemed able to get past the trauma. He was an alienated innocent who helped hordes of alienated people feel like they fit in while still being alienated, yet all together at the same time as puzzle pieces in some ill-conceived mass movement.
Nor, in an upside-down milieu that glorified destruction and deconstruction, did it matter to them that he was a junkie. He had a lot of pain to deal with, so it was OK if he kept running and running and running from it. According to his apologists, he spent his adult life “battling drug addiction,” which is a gentle way of saying he “did lots and lots of drugs.”
Who causes more demonstrable human suffering—the average “racist,” “sexist,” and “homophobe” that Kurt Cobain sought to exterminate, or your typical scab-covered, money-scamming junkie lowlife? There are exceptions—some people can handle their heroin while others can’t handle their racism—but when it comes to systemic damage, I’d say junkies do more harm to themselves and those around them.
When Kurt Cobain died, his blood contained what an investigator described as “three times a lethal dose” of heroin, even for a seasoned user. When he left this world, he left behind a nineteen-month-old daughter. He left her with a woman that everyone I know who’s known her—and they are legion—describes as a malignant tumor in human form. Permanently damaged by a broken home, Kurt’s self-involved emotional pain overrode any concerns that he’d leave his own daughter in a broken home. And he left his hordes of delusional fans, maladjusted kids and emotionally arrested adults whom he’d helped to feel not quite so alone, feeling alone again.
In the song “Stay Away” on Nevermind, Cobain sang that he’d “rather be dead than cool.”
He got his wish.
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