Our words this Wednesday come from a song off Nirvana’s first demo that appeared on their 1992 compilation album Incesticide.
The lyrics from “Aero Zeppelin” are:
“All the kids will eat it up/
If it’s packaged properly”
There were a handful of Nirvana lines I considered highlighting this week, but I settled on these because they seem relevant outside my skull. Kurt Cobain’s lyrics/music/interviews /art/writings were essential to the shaping of my identity from about age twelve to fourteen, teaching me to reject racism/sexism/homophobia/heteronormativity/ consumerism in ways that weren’t stilted or self-righteous. He gave me values to align myself with before I had any idea what that meant. He showed me it was OK to try to be an individual in a society that seemed to always be actively trying to limit your individually in its self interest. Maybe I’m just getting old or paranoid (or both), but I’m afraid adolescents are at a loss for contemporary role models that provide that same encouragement to resist the strong desire to shape identity around the things they have and want to have. There’s money and influence in exploiting a consumer’s insecurities, and who is more insecure than kids? It’s way easier to be a good little consumer, attaching one’s own worth and that of others to brands and products, than to create meaning and value for oneself. Don’t get me wrong, we all consume. Sometimes it’s just knowing when to puke.
Thanks for showing me how to stick a finger down my throat, Kurt.