In the 1989 classic, “Fight the Power,” Chuck D of the infamous rap group Public Enemy spit:
[blockquote] Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant sh*t to me. You see
Straight up racist that sucker was simple and plain
Motherf*ck him and John Wayne[/blockquote]
A couple of days ago, FanboyNation Film and Television section editor, Sean Mulvihill reviewed Soaked in Bleach, a documentary based on the notion that Courtney Love was the brilliant mastermind behind the alleged murder of famed Grunge Rocker and late husband Kurt Cobain. The notion itself is comical as Love can’t appear to keep her life in order for 20 hours but can somehow manage to keep a momentous secret for 21 years.
Cobain was often called, “The Voice of a Generation.” Pepsi was more the voice of my generation than Cobain ever was. I had moved from the Bay Area to Huntington Beach, CA in 1990, and the transition from a politically charged, ethnically diverse community to the sleepy little beach town felt like life came to a stand still. I went from a world of diversity to nothing but a sea of white faces. I looked white enough to pass, but no one could figure out what I quite was. Technically, I am Caucasian, but in the US, Middle Eastern people are the fence-sitter race. We are white when things calm down in the region and minorities when tempers flair…right now, we have minority status.
In 1992, I entered high school and watched Metal die with a fatal blow from Nirvana, a whiny Seattle based band with a lower middle-class understanding of hardship and oppression, along with a worldview seen through heroin coated glasses. Now, I had upper middle-class white kids telling me that I didn’t understand the real world and how I would never understand the difficulties of their lives.
I remember saying, “Yeah, you’re right. Daddy not buying you that 3-Series Beamer is far worse than my cousin finding his best friend hacked to pieces in a garage bag with a knife stuck in his head and a note that read, ‘Mind your manners Christian, or you’re next.'” [pullquote align=”right”]’Yeah, you’re right. Daddy not buying you that 3-Series Beamer is far worse than my cousin finding his best friend hacked to pieces in a garage bag…'[/pullquote]
People stopped bathing, slouched, and became morbid because of their pop culture first world problems. I watched for two years in utter disgust as half-wits tried to discuss politics, and what was trivial to the rest of the world became the forefront of personal struggles and the whole time Cobain’s melancholy monotony became their voice. Luckily for me, Gangsta Rap and Techno were my alternative to Alternative. They replaced Metal and Freestyle as my go-to angst and party music. Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Tupac were the voices of the West Coast scene. Albums like The Chronic, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. made far more sense to me than Nevermind, ever could.
In April of 1994, I walked into class. We were seated alphabetically (my luck), I was seated next to the best friend of the girl I was dating at the time. We didn’t get along as she was one of the whiny grunge kids and I was the ignorant Sand Nigger who refused to understand the significance of Nirvana. Either way, I walk in, dropped my book bag on the desk, and there she was crying. The conversation went something like this:
[blockquote]Me: “What’s wrong?”
Her: “You don’t care.”
Me: “I’m trying to be nice here. What’s up?”
Her: “Kurt Cobain shot himself.”
Me: “Oh, that’s it?”
Her: “YOU’RE AN A**HOLE!”
Me: “And you’re an idiot. Have you ever read any of the sleeves? Every song is, ‘I’m going to do it’, ‘Hey, I’m gonna do it’, ‘I mean it this time, I am going to do it’ and he did it. Be happy he wasn’t a hypocrite.”[/blockquote]
There were several other expletives exchanged before I was happily moved to the other side of the classroom. I declared the death of Grunge, but I was oh so wrong. Unfortunately, the nostalgia train is moving full steam ahead, drudging up the horrors of high school between the years of 1992-1994 with Montage of Heck and Soaked in Bleach.
Thankfully, Straight Outta Compton is coming out in August and for a few hours I can escape into the music of NWA.
So, to paraphrase Chuck D:
[blockquote]Kurt Cobain was a hero to most but he never meant sh*t to me. You see.
Straight up whiner that sucker was plain
Motherf*ck him and Nirvana was lame.[/blockquote]
“Voice of a Generation?” You never represented me.