What was Kurt Cobain?

“Oh well, whatever. Nevermind.”

Perhaps there wasn’t a single moment signifying the shift in generation more precisely- down to the millisecond- than when Kurt Cobain pulled the trigger on his Remington Model 11, 20-gauge shotgun moments after writing the words “peace” and “love” as a valediction at the end of his suicide note. Whatever time there was between Cobain writing those words and Cobain pulling the trigger exists in a vacuum, like the blank spaces in-between comic book panels; a tree alone falling in the woods; stillness and nothing.

Whatever time there was between Cobain writing those words and Cobain pulling the trigger were the only moments in Cobain’s adult life where he existed without imposition. Cobain was free to be meaningless. If expanded infinitely, like the sustained keystroke of an endless soundscape, Cobain could have lived in that moment forever; outside of time and space.

Instead, Cobain was torn apart by forces beyond his control- he existed as more than the sum of his parts; he was more than a person; more than a musician; he was more than a rock star and more than an icon. Cobain was branded as historically significant, for reasons both genuine and self-serving, and even if the weight of historic significance felt considerably lighter in the twentieth century, he was constantly negotiating terms with this designation- even when alone.

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