Saturday, April 6, 2013
Something like Kurt Cobain dying, I guess I wasn't old enough for it to really be anything to me, but it seems like it means a lot to everyone else my age. I don't know why this is, except for the way I was culturally behind all my classmates cause of my parents being hippies/hipsters/weirdo nerds. I mean, don't get me wrong, all the hippie/hipster/weirdonerd parents I know now, my taste turned out awesome, I think it's properly bloomed in all the right places. But be aware that you are automatically sending your children through the same cultural growing pains you went through. And maybe they won't care about Kurt Cobain the way they are supposed to.
Nirvana Unplugged is the album that meant the most to me because it was the one I had consistently in every car or radio I was regularly around. The first album of theirs I actually got was when I was in eighth grade and I signed myself up for one of those Columbia club things - my credit was doomed even then. It was one of those deals where you get five free cassettes for the price of one, or you have to cancel in thirty days or something like that. I ordered Nevermind, The Blue Album, Whipsmart, Dookie, Flood. Flood was the only one I actually knew I liked. The rest were guesses. They were pretty fucking good guesses for an eighth grader.
Kurt Cobain's sweater probably influenced me more than anything else. If they make a time capsule of the nineties, that sweater should be in it.
And then they should burn it, the whole thing.
I don't understand why the nineties have come back into style.
I'm not ungrateful, I understand that as a single woman in my thirties, I have a unique opportunity to actually know a little bit more about dressing in that particular crushed velvet style better than the girls who are awkwardly struggling through how to wear floral print right now. But I don't want to. I hated that style even then. The only good things that came out of that were plaid shirts, doc martens, and army jackets. Frankly, it's a little cheating to claim army jackets for the 90s instead of the 70s, but you guys are old, you're not going to argue. You're more worried about your taxes.
I'm in my thirties, I should be worried about my taxes too. But maybe that's one of the reasons why everyone still talks abut Kurt Cobain's anniversary even though there are far more important things going on in the world -( like for instance last night I learned my moon is in Capricorn, which apparently tells me that I'm constantly trying to be pragmatic about my emotions, which totally explains my fling with open relationships.) Anyway, no, that's not one of the important things, but my point is why do we bother nineteen years later to conjure up any emotions about this short lived singer who while very influential musically, hardly taught the world anything meaningful except how we all have weird fucked up sexually ambiguous lyrics bouncing around in our psyches. We've all moved on to more self involvement - we've clarified our selfishness over the years. I guess that's an important lesson - Kurt's championing of self involvement definitely influenced the blogosphere and Twitter. But not Facebook, it didn't influence Facebook, that's a whole new kind of self awareness or lack of, and that to me proves that he's sorta defunct in this time. It's not far enough away from the turn of the century for us to be idolizing our turn of the century monsters yet. Give it another thirty years and I'm sure Kurt will feel more relevant. To me Nirvana, and the early nineties, was about a large part of the population discovering culture. Now we've got too much culture, our society hasn't figured out even how to process it correctly yet, we're lagging behind our accesses.
But we've run out of fashion styles to fixate on (there are far many less styles of human dress than we like to think, it is only a fraction of the internet), in this day and age where it's more about costumes of self than ever. So the nineties got resurrected, because it's cheap and easily replicated in Targets. All the loose cuts mean it's easier for clothing manufacturers to mass produced the patterns and prints. Pleather is cheap. Plus, honestly, tights and leggings are never going to go away. Once it become socially acceptable to wear them without dresses, girls were never going to wear pants or pantyhose again - because we like being comfortable but we all hate our legs. I'm hoping what will happen is the cuts of the nineties will stay and the prints will change.
Maybe that's what Kurt did - and that's why even little grade school me liked him - because he kept all the same cuts but changed the prints - made them solid lime green wools that beaded up easily in the washer, and were impossible to wash blood stains out of. That's why I resent him being thought of so importantly, because to me the lesson was the singer was totally unimportant, what mattered was an entire group of people growing up in the same economic class, dressing the same, in the same country, the same TV culture, all understanding what he was saying and feeling that potential in ourselves, both to be great and to be a colossal failure of a grown up who does too many drugs and ends up killing themselves out of pure spite in like, the most selfish way possible. A messy way.
In summary, I think this is all about clothes.And also about how we worry as adults that the kids won't be as angry as we were, that the world will run out of time for anger, like we have in our always exhausted adulthoods. Which I guess also is all about clothes, but in a more sweatshoppy way.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 12:10 PM