The Cobain Case

These last few years have been quite the roller coaster, intellectually. Not something I haven’t said before. But it nicely applies here, since this intellectual growth has come to touch on pretty much every single thing that I have ever taken for granted, and then some. Calling it growth is not really correct either since it was less learning something new than it was a process of training myself to better analyze information in general. Both in terms of new information, AND what already resides in the mind (at least when prompted). Many are able to master the former, but the latter is often a challenge. Certainly so for me, but definitely so for about 99% of the naysayers on almost any topic that I touch on anywhere.

This post centers on the and then some category of the contents of my mind. A topic that has been kicking around the back of my brain undisturbed for many years, only to be yanked back to the forefront of my conscience by a tweet. Interestingly, a tweet that was unrelated to the topic itself.

Though my relationship to the Cobain saga goes back many years, my relationship to the life story of Kurt Cobain goes back even further. Being a tail end millennial, I wasn’t old enough to be paying much heed to anything back in 1994, let alone for the duration of his career. I came to his story and his music the way most (all?) millennials did . . . though popular culture as heavily influenced by the world wide web.

Likely due to a combination of living on through continued radio play and vast availability though now defunct P2P protocols, Nirvana had just as many fans in the following generation (possibly generations) as they did in their prime. I was very much one of them, loving me some mainstream hits much like many others. The band (or more accurately, Kurt Cobain himself) grew more and more interesting after I found out about his fate. Suicide.
It’s getting harder to describe, being this far out from that time of life. But what comes to mind are both morbid fascination, and a degree of jealousy. At this time of life, I didn’t really see any future for myself. But despite this, I was still too weak to actually follow through with bringing to reality what I viewed as my destiny. Given this sentiment, people like Cobain become very fascinating. Particularly pop cultures so-called 27 club (Amy Winehouse being the latest name).

I don’t look back at this time with pride, obviously. But I also don’t look back at it with contempt, either. I have allowed some people to claw me down a bit, comparing my seemingly trivial hardships to their very REAL hardships. But I don’t do that anymore, either. It’s not helpful.

Either way, this is a small window into my mid to late teenage years. A time of life when I needed a crutch to keep me going. Which is why I now don’t look back with much regret at this, nor at the suicidal mindset that cut through the majority of my high school years .
It was a coping mechanism. It robbed me of enjoying many events of the then present day. It somewhat handicapped my ability to prepare myself for the future. But, it got me beyond the rough and into . . . whatever the hell this is. Even if that equates to a patch of concrete of which is destined to be crushed by the steamroller that is the stupidity of the human species, a positive outcome it still is.

To round it back, I remember my first exposure to the Cobain conspiracy theory. I was browsing Cobain info on some website and ended up in a bit of a rabbit hole of sorts. I remember this because it didn’t sit well with me.

I mean . . .NO! The man killed himself! If this is all to be believed, then what of the last 2 years of my life?! I’ve been fascinated by a LIE!

So describes a fascinating manifestation of cognitive bias in my young brain.

This fascination with celebrities that committed suicide or overdosed eventually faded away, as did most of my interest in the Cobain conspiracy. Life happened, with all the often nonsensical bullshit of which that entailed.

Though the Cobain conspiracy was on the very back burner for the vast majority of the time between first discovering it and recently (within the last year), I periodically had bouts of pursuit into the details. I had researched the case VIA Google a few times, finding Tom Grant and CobainCase.com (along with many others). I watched Kurt & Courtney. I became aware of all the seeming problems surrounding Cortney Love. From the allegations of her taking out a $50,000 hit on Kurt (made by a guy who was killed by a train days after that interview), to peoples habit of dying upon telling Courtney that they want to leave her (and Seattle). The first is obvious, the other is former Hole bandmate, Kristen Pfaff.
Though I revisited this every year or 2, I couldn’t help feeling that there had to be something here. This made all the more amusing by the semi-yearly occurrence of some commentator or celebrity calling out Courtney Love publicly for her role in the murder.

I had even drafted a post exploring this topic (well, started to) a few months after starting this blog. A post that I kept around until a few months ago when I started to have  serious doubts about the validity of the theory.

Part of this was rooted in the drastic shifts within my own mind of the past few years. I like to say that most people can recognize silly conspiracy theories on sight. That is, except for their own.

I began see this pattern in my own pro-murder leanings.

A big part of this came in my viewing of Soaked In Bleach, yet another film exploration into the theories. Unlike the others, however, this one annoyed me right off the bat, since  it began by asking the viewer to decide for themselves whether it was murder or suicide. As do many books written about the Cobain case, and materials concerning other conspiracy theories as well.
The other thing I disliked about this so-called docu-drama, was the bias. Though I didn’t have all that positive a perception of Courtney Love before watching this, even I had to admit that the bias towards her (as portrayed) was over the top. To give Tom Grant a bit of credit, it could have been a genuine reenactment of the meetings as they played out in his memory. But even so, it came off as quite . . . pushy towards an intended conclusion. A tactic that makes me very suspicious of the agenda behind those apparently doing the pushing.

The straw that would come to break the camels back was dropped on my consequence 2 days ago, VIA an algorithmically generated email from twitter (of all places). Amongst a list of tweets picked out just for me (based on my patterns of behavior, no doubt) was one from Tom Grant. Not even a tweet that had any connection to Soaked in Bleach, conspiracy, OR the Cobain case in general. Rather, it was a tweet featuring a video that would seemingly “leave most evolutionists scratching their heads”.

 

Yeah. . .

My first critique is the one that most with a capable mind will pick up on. I don’t believe in evolution any more than I believe in gravity, or radio waves, or light radiation. For lack of a more scientifically cogent way to put it, I don’t HAVE to believe in any of these things. Unlike the conspiracy that has been Grant’s claim to fame. Or infamy.

Whichever is more applicable.

Evolution denialism does not have anything to do with forensics. Alright, I’m going to back that up a little. It certainly has nothing to do with the Cobain case. Even so, it is possible to draw a parallel.

My observation of human behaviors in my proximity tends to indicate that the methodology that people use to come to a conclusion in one context is typically the one that is used for other problems in similar contexts. Or to round it all the way up to the macro level, I don’t think it’s coincidental that the United States is both the most religious nation AND the most prone nation to producing and propagating conspiracy theory.

It’s all about asking questions. Or in the case of a good majority of conspiracy theories, absorbing a new narrative under the pretext of asking questions. Often times a narrative that presents itself as a quest for the truth, but materializes as a standard for which all evidence presented by opposing arguments has to stand up to. Which is often times impossible due to an informational vacuum. Because if there weren’t an informational vacuum, there would not be a conspiracy theory!

In this day and age, even THAT rule of thumb is getting unreliable. But none the less, complete transparency from all angles would wipe out 99.9 . . .9% of these zombie theories that live on forever.

So, how does this apply to this?

Unlike some other conspiracies that I have looked into just out of curiosity (mainly those surrounding the events of 9/11), I haven’t done a whole lot of independent research into the Cobain case. I know a thing or 2, but I also knew EXACTLY what I was looking for. Hardly proper or unbiased research.

I don’t know why Courtney may or may not have acted oddly around that time.
I don’t know whether or not the gun that killed Kurt was wiped of prints.
I don’t know if his credit card was really used after he was dead (presumably by the assailant).
I don’t know if said assailant did get paid a large sum of money, only to presumably overdose and take the secret to their grave as well.
I don’t know if the amount of heroin detected in Kurt’s body was truly incapacitating (even to a highly tolerant addict), rendering suicide an impossibility.
I don’t know if the suicide note in its entirety, is truly authentic.
I don’t know if someone at ANY level made the realization that Kurt Cobain was worth more dead than alive, in the state that he was in.

I just don’t know. And in some respects, I don’t care.

I will say this . . . if there is a unified stance amongst experts in the field of forensics that there is something wrong here and that the Seattle Police Department may have missed something, then by all means, they should reopen the case file. It wouldn’t be the first time that a department has botched even a high profile case.

As for outside of that context, I think that it’s time to give it a rest.

I don’t know if Courtney Love is openly hostile towards many of these investigations on account to not wanting certain skeletons unearthed. Alternatively to that assumption (which is not hard to come to when opening your mind to many of these theories), is it not also possible that this is a very human reaction to a wild goose chase that doesn’t allow one to ever truly move on from a tragedy? How about a motherly reaction in the name of shielding their child from having to deal with the same nonsense?

I may not have all the answers, but it’s time for me to lay this old ghost to rest. Once and for all.

 

Music Now Vs A Decade Ago

Time for, another music related rant of sorts.

I have taken of this topic a couple times before ( HERE and HERE ), as well as other various semi-related pieces (likely linked though related posts). I have always been a critic of the pop music scene (ever since being able to see though it). But though it is easy for me to base criticism just off of what I have heard before, there is nothing quite like side by side contrast for comparison.

A few days ago I was on youtube playing music, something I do occasionally. Normally I stick to heavier genres (ive begun to enjoy the original Alice in Chains more recently), but I do not use that as my comparison. It may work in many youtube comment areas for fans, but even if I agree, I have to acknowledge that grunge is not exactly pop. It was big in its heyday, but it is now a more, niche taste. Some would say a sub genre of metal.
Either way, it is as similar to modern (and the past decade’s) pop music as country is (not counting the sellout crossover crap that Kid Rock likes to milk every few years).

However, I think that a band like Evanescence would make the cut. They are a band I enjoyed back in their heyday, and they are still a band I enjoy (I like the most recent self titled album best, out of all the more recent albums). But the main reason that they make the cut, was because back in the day, they were played on the hits stations alongside Britney Spears, No Doubt and the rest of the fad bands of then.

Back then (at least on my local station) I heard My Immortal , Going Under , Everybody’s Fool and others ( Bring Me To Life is an honorable mention, though I hated the later version with the unnecessary male vocalists).
Though one may not like them for some reason or another, I don’t think many will disagree with the notion that, there is talent behind the music. No matter what you think of the music, Amy Lee has an amazing and beautiful voice. And not only that, she didn’t waste it then (nor does she now) on, garbage cookie cutter tween pop material (unlike Avril. I liked her, before THIS turned into THIS ).

Contrast this to damn near ANY of the newer group that is popular today (Nicki Minaj, Meghan Trainor, whomever!), and there is no comparison.

Its one thing to know that its terrible. Its another thing, to know that it wasn’t AS bad, just a short time ago.

Most of todays young have NO concept of what true talent sounds like. Which is unfortunate.

The Interview – An Alright Movie

IMG_1781

First of all, don’t worry about or look for plot spoilers, because you will not find any.

I don’t think I ever got around to writing about this movie back in November/December when everything was blowing up for Sony on account of it. But had I written a post, it would have likely been me asking for the company to ignore the threats and just get on with it.
Though to be fair to Sony, they DID release the film fully initially. It just ended up getting retracted after most of the worlds (well, at least Canadian and American) theatre chains would not touch it due to the risk.
While this was annoying, and seemingly a weak stance (not to mention a terrible message to send groups like ISIS/ISIL) , I can see the theatres reasoning. Even one instance of a threat being followed though with would be a WHOLE lot more costly then the profits of the film.

But fortunately that situation (more or less) changed, and the film was released. Despite setbacks from being allocated very little screen time in theatres and being forced online.

It was added to Netflix (the Canadian version to. Im no streaming pirate) a month or so ago but been putting it off. However, I finally got around to watching it yesterday.

And it was good. Its hilarious that it was the reason behind all of the mess of November/December for Sony. But none the less, it was worth the wait.

I admit, it did not start out all that strongly. For me the beginning was a bit dry and stupid, reminiscent to a modern sitcom (typically one with a laugh track).
But the movie picks up pretty much as soon as they enter North Korea, the DPRK.

I have no real criticism of the films actors. For the most part, all of the important roles were more then adequately played by their actors. And though the film (for me) is divided at entry into DPRK, I enjoyed Seth Rogan’s throughout. There were some stupid asian quips pre-DPRK, but I mostly enjoyed his performance.

His sidekick however (James Franco) was the only character that I didn’t like much throughout the movie.
Sure, he aced (in my opinion) all of the important scenes of the film. But his over all character was just, annoying and cringe inducing. Again, I understand that is what sells in todays market (the whole Zack Galifianakis brand of humour is in). But it, took more then it added (for me anyway).

But the movie was enjoyable. So I recommend anyone who has not yet seen it to check it out.

You may find it Un believable.

IMG_1782

NOTE:
I have no idea what the cheese is all about. Lol.

I Hate Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams

Ok, maybe HATE is a strong word. But he, irritates me greatly of late.
Its a stance that I have begun to take lately, though im not quite sure why. It could be the irritatingly boring and inoffensive nature of his songs. And the fact that it jives perfectly with the CBSC’s requirement that at least 30% of content on Canadian radio is of Canadian origin.
Not that I disagree, per-say. It keeps our media and airwaves from being ENTIRELY swallowed by content piped in from south of the boarder. But it results in artists like Adams getting a guaranteed flow of revenue because their (particularly, HIS!) music becomes default filler to make up the 30% allocation.
Maybe im just annoyed because I have to hear his music AT LEAST once daily in my retail job, and his music is almost ALWAYS on the radio. A particularly irritating song is the duet with Tina Turner, Its Only Love. How ironic that a love song inspires me to want to gouge my ears out with an ice pick.

I suppose this is just a sign of, ironically (again), my getting older. If the pattern is that most people tend to become more conservative and less “offensive” in terms of their music tastes, im going the opposite direction. I have always been a fan of metal, particularly thrash but also other forms of metal. I have never subscribed to any one side or another in any of metals inter-subgenerial feuds (for example, I enjoyed both glam AND grunge). In fact I seen such feuds as hilarious, almost like members of religions battling it out.

But as the years have gone on, I tend to be moving away from the typical. What most people would call the “Classics”. Not just Bryan Adams, but also your Bon Jovi, Kiss, Ac/Dc. Back in the day they were great tunes, fun at parties and associated with good memories. But now, looking back, its all just, simplicity.
Everyone can love whatever they like in terms of their musical tastes. But for me, after being exposed to such groups as Dream Theatre and Tool, they are utterly boring in comparison. If much metal is University, then the mainstream rock is elementary to middle school.

There are still artists from that era that I like. For example, Twisted Sister stands the test of time for me. Both because I love many of their songs to this day, AND because lead singer Dee Snider is and always will be an awesome guy in my books. Calling out Al Gore’s wife for having a dirty mind in front of congress was FUCKING hilarious, and still is today.

But either way, like everything else, musicians are about the money. Not always, but in many cases. Which is arguably alright. If someone wants to buy, let them.
I just don’t like the idea of, forced consumption. Yes, using the Bryan Adams catalog is not exactly like having a monopoly on cable services in a city. But when the other pickings are slim, its hard for me to argue that there is NOT at least a bit of unfair advantage.

Reality TV Is Dying – But Is This A Good Thing?

http://youtu.be/jo2-Jgn4FVI

It seems that it was not all that long ago that I wrote a piece on my perceived danger(s) of reality TV and other such distractions. It was provoked by the whole Duck Dynasty thing being exposed as fake, and I went into detail as to every reason why I hated that show among many others of the genre (including Here Comes Honey Boo Boo).
I do not recall if this was before or after the infamous Phil Robertson interview/publicity stunt that seen A&E cancel the series THAN reverse it, within a very short timeframe. People fumed, got their way, then the show got more exposure then ever.

But go ahead about a year, and apparently the scene has changed. Reality trash tv is taking a nosedive, and the whole segment in general is increasingly losing ratings.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/bc7/47575474/files/2015/01/img_15751.png

These numbers really do not surprise me. But it seems that changes in the television and technological landscape may be helping drive the decline.

Im thinking that a big part of the draw of these shows (in particular the trashy ones like Duck Dynasty and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo) was monopoly by availability. Meaning that there was just nothing else on, so people settled for the crap.

That is a problem that is quickly becoming a thing of the past due to the DVR, video streaming and downloading. When there is a 20 course buffet available, why would you settle for the single plate meal?
This would also explain why the network television is starting to take a hit as well.

And of course there are alternative sources of media and entertainment. One good example of this is youtube. Some youtube personalities are getting just as much attention and fame from the younger generations coming up as many traditional celebrities.

And of course there is the the camera-saturated society that we live in today. There are more devices with recording and photographic capabilities in the hands of the general public then there has been ever before, and there is more social connectivity with the world at large (VIA social media) then there has ever been before.
People do not have to just tune into reality tv, they can become a part of the show. All they need is a camera.

And in some cases, this may be a good thing. Youtube and the internet has plenty of insightful, intelligent and interesting content creators whom take advantage of the platform. The problem of course is, the others.
Social media is good at delivering endless streams of funny, emotion provoking,  short bursts of information. Which I would argue, acts to the detriment of ones attention span if they become to absorbed by the content over a long period of time. All this content also serves as an endless stream of white noise. Sure its easier then ever to make and share content, but you have to compete with, everything else. So you have to get creative in what you would be willing to do just in order to stand out from the crowd.
Which is why it does not surprise me all that much that people have died from trying to get the perfect “selfie”, or that setting yourself on fire was recently a phenomenon (replaced by the ALS ice bucket challenge if I remember correctly).

And that brings us back to the question that caused me to write this piece. Reality TV is slowly dying, but given the context of where the future of entertainment is headed, is that really a good thing?

#BanNickelback – A New Low For Crowdfunding

IMG_1295.JPG

I have done posts in the fairly recent past on my problems with crowdfunding, and in the distant past on the hate towards Nickelback. Both are 2 distinct entities with their own set of problems. One thing I would have never expected, was both concepts to unite.

But in a grand ole display of world class STUPIDITY, it has happened. Someone (besides a web domain with economic interests in ad revenue) has found out how to turn peoples irrational HATE for Nickelback, into a money generating enterprise. Actually no, lets leave the word “enterprise” for situations more deserving of the name and call this out for what it really is . . . . A scam.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/nickelback-target-of-stay-away-crowdfunding-campaign-1.2044836

This photo is great.

IMG_1296.JPG

How this money is supposed to help keep Nickelback out of the UK indefinitely, I have no idea. Why people would care enough about a band they hate to donate money to keep it out of their nation baffles me. Manitoba sees plenty of performers that I do not like, but my method of reaction is far cheaper and less time consuming. I simply DON’T GO TO THE SHOW!

I have always gotten irritated by those who feel the need to #ban anything that bothers them, especially in pop culture.
A awhile ago I wrote about a campaign to try and keep Chris Brown out of (I think) Halifax because someone found it offensive for a character with such a past to be gracing the stage in their geography. How about, letting the FANS decide.
Starting petitions to have Nickelback not play in a given place is even worse. There is zero justification for the stance besides “I fucking HATE Nickelback!”.
Figuring out how to make money off of that stance is either stupid or brilliant. You decide.

Either way, this whole “fad” of hating on Nickelback has got to go already. They are not exactly awesome, yet they are not terrible.

When it comes to an artist like Marilyn Manson or Alice Cooper, the love/hate dichotomy is fitting to the persona. But not Nickelback.

Enough already.

Sherlock Vs. Elementary

Normally I don’t rate, compare or otherwise give any positive attention to matter of pop culture, but I will make an exception, because of my fondness of some of the recent adaptions of Sherlock Holmes.

First of all, the movies of recent (game of shadows, forgot the other) were enjoyable.

Most recently, I found myself getting into the BBC adaption of the series. Intelligent, witty and humorous, it hit all of the right notes for me. And if there is one show that knows how to leave its audience hanging after the finale, its Sherlock.

Which brings me to the US adaption, Elementary.

Though a friend recommended it over 6 months ago, I didn’t get to watch it for the first time until tonight. And I have to admit, I was not impressed.

Turning John Watson into Joan Watson was the first turn off (“awe, they’re gonna fall in love!”. Could you be any more cookie cutter and predictable?!).
But I decided to put that aside and give it a chance (maybe the plot and the characters will make it worth while).

Yeah . . . . No.

Despite being a “Sherlock Holmes” adaption, it did not FEEL like it was, “worthy”. The crime was, simple run of the mill crap that we have all seen 1000 times on CSI or Law and Order. The cast of characters around Sherlock was just, underwhelming in their performance.
And worst of all, was the character of Sherlock Holmes. A character that I have always associated with wit and intellect, displays neither.

To be honest, I was not surprised. Though I seen the US version of “Death at a Funeral” before the UK one, I still liked it more.

But thats it for that critique of pop culture, possibly the last.