At the time, Nirvana’s music was only hovering somewhere on the edge of my perception. I’m not much into music, save for the stuff I load on my iPod for running. Today, Cobain’s being hailed as one of the last true rock artists to earn icon status. He was here and then gone again in a flash. And he’s left us two decades to ponder his impact.
Not that there’s been a lot of pondering on my part. Instead, there have been been kids and work and Courtney Love making a minor spectacle of herself, and the occasional summer road trip with the windows down and Smells Like Teen Spirit cranked way up.
Last week, sparks illuminated dark corners of my bloggy brain when the anniversary of Cobain’s departure coincided with a couple other random events with cultural ramifications:
No. 1: A master meltdown
A kerfuffle in a neighboring school district ensued when the board voted to remove Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian from the curriculum.
A group of uptight parents complained they wanted more “uplifting literature” included instead (a phrase lifted from our local paper. The italics are mine).
These parents complain that Alexie’s book contains profanity. And anti-Christian sentimentality. And masturbation. I actually don’t know how much more uplifting one can go from there.
I don’t need to hear any more. I need to get my hands on a copy.
Okay, WAH! Too much. Sorry.
Remember when Judy Blume was the cause for parental freak out? I think I read my copy of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret about forty seven times. It was around the same time as I started arguing with my mom about whether it was time for my first bra.
Tell a preteen girl no bra, and all the sudden Brabitty, Bra, Bra, BRA is all she thinks about day and night.
In my house, Judy Blume wasn’t banned but welcomed, by the way. Flowers in the Attic and Amityville Horror were the tomes tucked under the mattress.
Arguments about what is and what is not literature and what may or may not be allowed in our schools or in our homes are beside the point these days, when the eleven year-old in my house just absorbed the whole 3-book Divergent series in a little more than two weeks, proclaiming it to be the best thing since Harry Potter chased the golden snitch.
You remember Harry Potter, don’t you? Mystical, magical, anti-Christian Harry Potter? Kid probably masturbated too (Golden Snitch? Tell me that’s not a double entendre).
And Divergent? Parents die. Kids push each other over cliffs. AUTHORITY IS QUESTIONED. No, it’s not winning critical acclaim, or space on the district’s recommended reading list for high schoolers, but nobody’s complaining about its being directly marketed to kids via each and every platform to which they actually pay attention.
Come to think of it, putting Divergent on the recommended reading list at school might just squash the kind of interest it’s getting.
Unless it’s banned. Then it’ll be all the rage again.
Funny how that works.
No. 2: A blip on the screen
Our other child was responsible for launching another set of bloggy sparks in my brain. He just shared his Snapchat handle (or name, title, tag, or whatever it is) on Facebook – on freakin’ Facebook, people – and then he wondered why I followed him (or friended, followed, or stalked him, whatever).
This was followed by conversations about what should never, ever be sent via cell phone, the relative permanence of such images, and unintended consequences of spontaneous transmission of photos, permanent or not.
A friend’s young office assistant, not too much older than Jack, recently Snapchatted a short clip of highly personal content to everyone in her office by mistake. She’s undoubtedly horrified, and possibly soon to be unemployed, a consequence of her own impulsive action.
All this had me wondering about what Kurt Cobain – edgy, anti-establishment, Kurt Cobain – would have thought about going down in history as the world’s last Rock Icon, and what, if any, his actual intention was.
… And what kind of parent he would have been to daughter Bean, just now approaching the same age he was when his own altered judgment had him removing himself from the ranks of the living.
… And the focus on Sherman Alexie’s Part Time Indian’s teenage masturbation habits, whether they’re causing more angst than warranted in a small but vocal group of extraordinarily uptight parents whose kids are probably getting more of an education from Snapchat than from anything anyone has ever put down on paper.
Now that I think about it, the forethought, or lack of it, that goes into our actions, and the consequences they have, is actually way too weighty for me this spring morning.
Yeah, so, Nevermind.
You just follow that impulse and vote for my little blog. You can do so as often as once every day. Thanks.