Lithium


So this is the voice of my generation. I barely remember Nirvana being around, honestly; I was a small child. Mostly what I remember is the effect on people slightly older than me. Kids a few years ahead of me, for whom grunge was a real thing that they experienced in real time, not a historical event viewed in glossy hindsight. It happened and it was important but I was just a tiny bit too young. So I can’t say I feel sincere nostalgia for any of it. I guess I’m between generations, being born 1983. Just on the tail end of Gen-X and just ahead of the Millennial curve, and not entirely relating to either one *tears of alienation* The thing about those who were born just ahead of me, they had a voice of their generation. Their generation anointed Kurt Cobain, and so it has been settled for all eternity. And the thing about that is, someone decided that Cobain was to play that role, when he was right out of the gate. He barely had a chance to look around before someone put that crown on his head. He was a rookie, and he never had the time to develop as an artist, or adjust his viewpoint, or grow into a full person, even. He was pushed very quickly into a role largely created by the media, and one that he hated, and he couldn’t even deal with it long enough to create himself a persona he was comfortable with. He couldn’t deal with it, so he shot himself, and irony of ironies, that only cemented his status as a one-dimensional icon, and he still serves that purpose. And of course, his loss and his suffering were, whether he liked it or not, for the benefit of the generation he was purportedly the voice of, and they were lucky to have him as such. It’s kind of a timeless martyr narrative, really. And possibly the last great one of its kind, at the time of this writing. For who is the voice of the youngest generation so far? Who is the Millennial martyr? I don’t know, and I can’t even nominate a candidate. Perhaps history will establish, with that fabulous 20/20 vision, who was the one person speaking with the voice of all the youth culture? Or whatever passes for youth culture nowadays. Perhaps there is no such thing as a youth culture anymore. Perhaps the culture has changed so much that there’s no possibility of a Kurt Cobain figure emerging to exemplify an entire group of young people all born within a few years of each other. There no one person to rally behind anymore. Thank the fractured media-sphere and the interwebs and all of the other boogeymen of modern times. Or maybe that person is already out there, poised to become the beacon of a generation – to become the messiah, all they have to do is die.

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