By Mike Reed // Staff Writer | Photo courtesy of MTV
Saturday night I was trapped between worlds. I had crashed the cast party for “THe Shadow Box.” MTSU theatre parties are, by tradition, diverse, so no one really minds crashers.
Theatre parties get a little wild, and the majors share a common bond that many departments don’t. They work closely together on countless projects and bond with each other more strongly than most students.
On this particular occasion, some of the people wanted to reward themselves for the hard work they put into the show and blow off a little steam now that it was over. On the other hand, some of the party attenders wanted to sit around and mourn Kurt Cobain.
Now, picture this. In one room, we have revelers who want to drink themselves silly and sleep it off tomorrow. Outside (in the smoking section), we have people who want to sip their beer in silence out of respect for their hero.
Suicide jokes were rampant. Gallows humor is a fine tradition, and no one enjoys it more than a drunken MTSU student. Some merely complained at the stupidity of making a hero out of someone who is stupid enough to take his own life (especially if he’s a rich rock star).
I’m not a Cobain fan. I’ve heard Nirvana and liked what I heard, but I don’t own an album and can’t tell you the names of any of their songs (O.K. there’s one called “Smells Like Teen Spirit” but I can’t figure out any of the words). My prejudices aside, I respect others’ feelings for the fallen rock star.
Cobain meant a lot to some people. Evidently, he meant more to his fans than he meant to himself.
Suicide is a tragedy on many levels. When a young man takes his own life, there are too many questions left unanswered. There are always people who are left behind to go through life with one less hero to make existence bearable.
MTV had a live newscast/vigil for Cobain that went on to ridiculous lengths. Some might say that’s MTV’s true purpose in life. Kurt Loder sat at the anchor desk, filling time and telling a generation about a 27-year-old man with money and a career and thousands of adoring fans who shot himself in the head. It’s tragic.
So for those of you out there who don’t like the “music of today’s youth” (or whatever trendy media phrase you can think up to describe Nirvana), that’s your right. This is America, after all.
You should be aware, however, that there are some people out there who felt Cobain’s music deep in their souls. He was hailed as a spokesman for today’s disenfranchised youth. Nirvana was a garage band that lived a ’90s version of the American Dream and, like all really good stories, the hero was a man of depth and mystery.
Kurt Cobain is dead. Nirvana is no more. I’d tell you to get over it, but I know that won’t happen and it isn’t fair to you. Mourn your loss.
If you don’t feel a bond with Cobain or his fans, then try to at least respect their feelings. Those of us still alive will have lots of time to relate suicide jokes about Cobain later.
These few days are for the fans.
To see the full print edition from our archives, click here.