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Kurt Commentary

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Last week's editorial [Hitsville, April 15] about Kurt Cobain's life and death was insulting to Rock music fans everywhere. By trivializing rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Bruce Springsteen and Prince, the Reader alienated everyone but the trendiest "alternative" fans. And to make matters worse, the Reader idolized Cobain as the savior of rock music. In fact, Cobain really offered nothing innovative to rock music; his message was "life sucks, and you suck, so buy my record!" (Smells like Punk Rock.) In addition, his "rebellious" attitude about hating fame, fortune and fans is completely antithetical. I mean isn't it at least a little bit hypocritical for someone to make millions of dollars by singing, "I hate making millions of dollars"? Now I respect Cobain for his music and for providing a great outlet for disaffected teenagers, but if the pressures of stardom were really that bad, I'm sure MTV wouldn't have minded if Nirvana did just a few less videos, "Unplugged" specials and interviews.

Additionally, for the Reader to say that Cobain, or for that matter anyone, was "the most important figure in rock music since Johnny Rotten and . . . Dylan" is as absurd and futile as trying to decipher the lyrics to a Nirvana song. Anyone who plays the game of judging which musicians are better, or have had more impact than others, misses the basic role of Rock music. Rock music, as vulgar, simple and banal as it can often be, is still art. And it is completely meaningless and subjective to judge or measure one art form against another. Any attempt to decree who had the greatest impact on Rock music inevitably results in an opinion of what sub-type of Rock music is the best. After all, if you ask the hard rockers, they'll say it was Led Zeppelin; the metalheads will say it was Kiss; the rappers will say it was Run-DMC; and the Yuppies will say it was Simon and Garfunkel. But hey, even this list is my meaningless opinion.

I understand that Cobain's music and lyrics meant a lot to many people, including editors of the Reader, and I respect that. But it is both childish and unfair to elevate one person to legendary status by stepping on the heads of others. So rather than bore and insult us by telling us how prodigious and influential Cobain was, and how blind we are not to see that, the Reader should be responsible and should chronicle what Cobain meant to "alternative" fans, because that is really only where his impact was felt.

David Krivit

Chicago

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