The Journals of Kurt Cobain: Privacy don’t matter.
It’s not that rare anymore that privacy is sacrificed in the media to accommodate the art of sharing, to bring fans closer to their idols, to make money, to crystallise and further strengthen
I wonder if Kurt Cobain would have appreciated his journals being publicised and distributed for everyone to buy. I also wonder if he would understand how devoted some people are to his journals. I wonder if he would care or find it disturbing that his journals serve as a source of comfort for the lost and vulnerable people enamoured by all things Cobain. I won’t lie. I think some of what Kurt writes is overt, brilliant, condescending, honest, compassionate, helpless, raw, riveting and it really, really consumes you. It’s worthy of being read and it’s worthy of being considered like a book. Kurt is writer. He is, he is, he is. Everyone read the Journals of Kurt Cobain please.
There appears to be ambiguity attached to whether it is justified to have ones’ own personal and intimate material published. Does a dead person have the right to have their diaries concealed? Perhaps death is an ultimatum. Perhaps celebrity status is also instant demolition of privacy too. It is inevitable because celebrities are thrown into the public eye which inevitably causes them to become a public good.
Kurt is not alone. We’ve all seen fragments of Marilyn Monroe’s, Princess Diana’s and many other famous people whose diaries are featured in magazines. There is a critical difference in post humous autobiographies published by a third party and any other diary or biography.
Here are a number of critiques and reflective discussions about Kurt’s journals:
The Guardian- by Pete Townshend
The Who’s guitarist/ songwriter Pete Townshend sympathises with Kurt. Intrigued by Kurt’s “creative process”, Townshend anticipated the publication of his journals. There is nothing but empathy, appreciation and a subtle adoration for who Kurt Cobain was and who he may have become. Ironically enough, Pete also endured a period of drug abuse which he declared as something that hardened him. Kurt also wrote in his diary, “I wish I die before I become Pete Townshend”. No offence is taken. “Perhaps he is sad for me?”. No offence is taken. Pete also recognises the Cobain’s twisted and intriguing art, labelling him as a “very good graphic artist”
All in all, he presents the often forgotten consensus that Nirvana have been named the most important band in the history of rock n’ roll. At the same time, Pete also questions the architecture of a music industry that is responsible for facilitating talent and providing a narcissistic landscape, where rockstars became serial killers of their own lives. A profound sadness is expressive in his belief that of “how wasteful are the deaths of of those in the rock industry”. Pete is hopeful and somewhat optimistic that Cobain will read and understand and not overdose.
“We find it so hard to save our own, but must take responsibility for the fact that the message such deaths as Cobain’s sends to his fans is that it is in some way heroic to scream at the world, thrash a guitar, smash it up and then overdose.
“Read this book to see that the human spirit, even at its most sublime, can effect monumental damage on itself and its fellow souls if addiction enters the story. I mourn for Kurt. A once beautiful, then pathetic, lost and heroically stupid boy. Hard rock indeed”
I long to have his journal as my own instead of borrowing it off the shelves at General Pants.
Kurt, we salute you x