How one of the most iconic rock stars of all time has pulled off one of the most bizarre hoaxes ever perpetuated on the general public.
From the early beginnings of Nirvana’s meteoric uprise, Kurt Cobain’s lyrics and public statements, as well as his fanbase, had earned him a reputation that the media translated into terms like ‘white trash intellectual’ or ‘redneck genius’. His ability to speak deeply, yet simply, about complex matters – combined with the scruffy flannel look – contributed to a public perception of him as a John Lennon-esque libertine lumberjack. He was Gen X’s sensitive beefcake, fighting with his music for the underdog pack he had come from.
After a time, could this role have become tiring? Although most people believe that Kurt had tired of the music industry and his own fame, could it actually be that he had tired of the recycled punk rock cliche that he had become?
The belief that Kurt had faked his own death is not new, as it is not new of almost any rock star or celebrity figure who has passed on under irregular circumstances. Nor is there any shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding the alleged suicide of the grunge rock legend. And while it may seem hard to believe that Kurt Cobain is still alive, and even harder to believe that he is now playing the role of a notorious conservative pundit whom looks nothing like him, an upcoming documentary claims to have irrefutable evidence that the prodigal son of the 1990s is alive and well; writing self-help books based on crustacean biology and leading an army of philosophical debutantes down a dangerous path to premature late-male grumpiness.
It does make a perverse sort of sense. Kurt Cobain, with his slovenly pink-haired countenance and tortured juvenile yowling, is almost the definition of what the lobstermaniacs today call a ‘social justice warrior’. If he wanted to get as far away from that identity as possible and remake himself in an entirely new image, Jordan Peterson would represent pretty much everything Cobain seemed to despise. And yet both of them thrive on attention while acting as though they are victims of their own publicity. Both of them have employed bombast and dumbed-down philosophy that appeals to white trash intellectuals and redneck geniuses.
Whether or not the film provides any conclusive evidence of this elaborate scheme, which I doubt it will, there can be no doubt that many first wave Nirvana fans have now began wandering into late-life conservativism and embracing the sort of idiotic determinism that Peterson espouses. If it were true it would be a poetic reflection of the most tragic ideological devolution of my generation; the conquest of compassionate idealism by the false narrative of WASP individuality and its ironic path to conformity.
“Teenage angst has paid off well,
now I’m bored and old.”