Appendix I


He called Kurt Cobain human trash. Who in the fuck is this overbloated sack of protoplasm to pass judgment on Kurt Cobain?

Cobain was an incredibly talented musician, as is the rest of Nirvana, who, it could be said in no uncertain terms, had more than his share of personal demons, dabbled heavily in heroin and tried committing suicide a couple times. He was an intense, passionate young man (all of which poured through his music), and, whereas I didn’t idolize the guy in the least, I had a great deal of respect and admiration for Kurt Cobain.

It was April 11th, ’94, and after flipping between crappy reruns of MASH and Late Show with David Letterman I tuned over to Rush Limbaugh ’cause, in his own warped way, he’s fairly amusing. Like a good car accident. Or the Hindenburg. I rarely ever watched his show on purpose, but at the time I got a total of three channels through some rinky-dink bunny-ear antenna on top my TV and my only selections opposite him were A Current Affair and Nightline, so I was constantly jumping between them.

Well, before taking a sponsor break from his effervescent flow of wisdom, Limbaugh said that when they returned he wanted to talk about Kurt Cobain who had shot himself with a shotgun. What?! Could it be true? Had he killed himself?

Kurt’s corpse was discovered on a Friday; I learned of his death on Limbaugh’s Monday broadcast. Somehow I’d heard nothing about it; although over the weekend a local radio station had had some special on Nirvana, and in-between songs they played clips of other musicians talking about how much pressure there is in that kind of life. I didn’t make anything of it at the time——except to enjoy the music——but now, thinking back, it must’ve been a farewell tribute.

Limbaugh wanted to talk about how the media was hyping Cobain as the voice of my generation——I’m nineteen, is that my generation? And Rush had a valid point, the media undeniably was blowing Kurt’s image, basically the image they created for him, way out of proportion——the ‘‘voice’’ of a generation, give me a break! A hell of a musician?, sure, but the ‘‘spokesman for a generation’’? Kurt Cobain was no more the voice of my generation than Rush Limbaugh is the lone voice of conservatism, as I’m sure there are many conservatives who don’t feel Rush represents their views (entirely).

But to make this point, Limbaugh sacrificed Cobain on his self-righteous cross. He called him human trash (or, to be perfectly precise, his exact words were ‘‘worthless shred of human debris’’), and said he looked filthy and rotten and that if he did clean himself up his audience would go away, which is utter nonsense. The only reason Nirvana sold millions of records and are as popular as they are, or were, is because their music is genuinely good (in my subjective opinion——you simply cannot be objective about music, what’s good or not and what kind of person this makes you . . . that is, apparently, unless you’re Rush Limbaugh).

If Nirvana’s not to your particular taste, fine, that’s fine. There’s lots of music I don’t especially care for. And, if I wanted, I’m sure I could find stuff to trash about, say, country singers . . . if I searched in the most shallow depths of my mind, sure, I could probably get carried away too. But I try not to let such sorry thoughts get the better of me, although I am fully aware of them, thus recognizing the stupidity of the thoughts and not dwelling, mesmerizing, and obsessing over them like Limbaugh seems to do. I discard such thoughts because I know they’re below petty——I don’t know what Rush thinks about?!

Why couldn’t Limbaugh just say the media was blowing his image out of proportion and leave it at that? Why’d he have to assassinate Cobain’s character as well?

Course now that I’ve had prolonged (and way painful) exposure to Limbaugh, in retrospect the attack shouldn’t have been unexpected. The fact is he’s always doing this kind of shit——always crucifying people’s characters just to make some insignificant point, usually about how lacking in character everyone is but himself and the fans who cheer him on. (Limbaugh’s flattering condolence on the occasion of Jerry Garcia’s death was: ‘‘When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he’s being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks.’’)

Yes, the media blew Cobain’s image way out of proportion; and no, Nirvana didn’t break the mold either. But why can’t I be allowed to personally appreciate something without me or that thing being attacked by self-righteous morality police?

To answer my own question of why Limbaugh did this, it’s clear his motivation went well beyond simple annoyance of all the attention Kurt’s suicide received. For starters, Limbaugh isn’t able to look past the circumstances surrounding someone’s death and observe the content of their life, and even were he able to do so he’d probably still judge Cobain’s (or Garcia’s) life by his mostly superficial standards.

Secondly, though, is the fact that Limbaugh believes kids who listen to Nirvana and music of the like have given up on America and the American dream. He said at the end of his Cobain crucifixion that our country hasn’t run out of opportunities, we’re in spiffy shape, and that the new rebellion among young people today is becoming conservative (a good laugh).

Having been submersed in the media coverage surrounding Cobain’s suicide, the most common theme I found was this exhausted portrayal of today’s youth as a bunch of sardonic slackers with no ambition to do anything with their useless lives. And of Kurt Cobain being called an ‘‘angry young man’’ (the media obviously has a difficult time distinguishing passion from anger——not that I’m any expert on the subject myself, but, still   . . .).

However, I’ll most happily grant that much of today’s youth is pretty lost and just way out there somewhere. But this has nada to do with Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, or ‘‘grunge.’’ Certain not-to-be-named people in the media (which is just my slick way of saying I couldn’t remember who they were even if I wanted to) made it sound as though this attitude of the crowd most often associated with youth-orientated grunge/punk/hard-rock was just part of the fad——a fad that Nirvana helped to create, no less!

The fucking media, I swear. Talk about condescending!

To suggest, as some of these post-Cobain-suicide articles have, that Nirvana and such new bands helped to create this ‘‘grunge’’ sensation of teen angst is to be ignorant of history, of what it’s like being a teenager period (especially in this day and age). ‘‘Grunge’’ was created around bands like Nirvana by the pop-culture media that’s always looking for a new fad to exploit and cash in on. Teenage angst has always been and always will; the rages of youth have nothing to do with Nirvana or ‘‘grunge’’——these things simply helped magnify it for those who’d never have noticed or cared otherwise.

To begin with, Limbaugh and other critics who have such a painfully difficult time understanding these youths must realize that their cynicism isn’t economic so much as it is cultural. Sure, the chance to excel and become financially successful still exists for today’s youth, but what kind of country do they want to live in in the meantime?

What choice do they have?

Our society isn’t measured by the strength of its economy by those of us (particularly the young) who haven’t yet been numbed into these monetary-worshipping robots enough to blindly ignore the fuckedupness of our society, of our world. This isn’t to deny the importance of the economy to any society, but ultimately the economy is secondary in significance to the culture of the society it supports. It is not the society, however, and a country can have a strong economy (like ours) and still be perfectly screwed.

Today’s society is so radically different than it’s ever been, than it was not twenty years ago! AIDS can kill you just by having sex, inner city gang violence has spread out like a cancer to all regions of our nation, and the gangsta image has become a popular trend everywhere. The crime rate may be fairly steady, but homicide among 10 to 17 year olds has jumped upwards of 100% in the past decade. Violence is out of control; hostility and paranoia rule the streets in parts of the country. Fear is palpable. Our government’s a corrupt, bureaucratic mess that most of the time seems beyond comprehension. The world is at its most vulnerable ever, what with nuclear power, environmental abuse, and the ominous threat of WW3.

And whereas the norm heretofore has always been ‘‘authority figures’’ telling our society to think like this, act like that, believe in this (or else), our youth has finally begun to ask, ‘‘Or else what?’’ Today’s kids have grown up in a society so screwed-up and frightening that many have begun to think for themselves, to question everything, to seek their own answers and own truths.

The very idea of true individuality, though said to have been the passion of this country’s founders, is not readily accepted or even understood. Our society still very-much-so encourages conformity, as has been the case of pretty much all known civilizations. Conformity through ideology——and mythology——based on written documents, words that are supposed to shape our souls, our conscious, our emotions and feelings; guide our actions, dictate our lives.

So when I hear the media droning about the emergence of a strong subculture that has become disenchanted with our society, I have to tell you the honest truth: this strikes me as absolutely wonderful! Now this truly gives me hope. Why does the mainstream assume that being ‘‘disillusioned’’ with society is a bad thing, anyway? I mean, think about the word for a moment. I’d think being able to see through an illusion would be a good thing. ‘‘Illusionment’’ is the bad thing, that which most in our society and world suffer from. (But of course wouldn’t you know it, there’s no such word as ‘‘illusionment’’——then how’d they come up with ‘‘disillusionment’’?!)

It’s the society and its largest and most powerful institutions that harbor such illusions, that encourages everyone to adhere to such. Why? To insure security and stability, for it is generally perceived that people are not ready to accept reality——such as the reality of the individual power, control and responsibility each of us possess over our own lives, our own thoughts and actions.

Yes, much of our youth is pretty directionless, and no, this does not automatically mean that they are going to find their own will or realize their own individuality; this does not promise a better future simply by virtue of their disenchantment. Truth is still something they must realize on their own, as does everyone, but freeing your mind from the shackles of too many ignorantly preconceived false ideas, ideologies and mythologies of life in the universe, is as good a beginning place toward this as anything.

Freeing your mind and opening yourself up to the possibility of personal truth.

Considering it in relative perspective to the rest of humankind’s history, I think that right now we have the best possible chance we’ve ever had for genuinely positive change. On the same token, we have the greatest possible chance ever of totally fucking ourselves, our society, and our planet up to all hell.

Enjoy the ride.

join me as I now rather shamelessly make . . .

—— a sort of farewell tribute of my own ——

Over these past——and last——few tumultuous years of my latter teens, I’ve listened almost exclusively to classical music and classic rock. But in my early teens (decades ago, it seems) I listened to and loved with a passion punk.

For myself, at least, it began with the Sex Pistols, then on to such great and memorable bands as Minor Threat, The Adolescents, The Descendants, Suicidal Tendencies, what else?——a few other bands. Punk rock——to me——was this rejection of conformity and authority and everything mundane. The music was there to express all the fucked-up, conflicting things I was feeling, to scream it all out for me, to act as some sort of catharsis and give me some kind of voice.

And Nirvana’s like what the potential for much of the punk I listened to could’ve been, come true, and it’s fucking beautiful! (For some reason the word ‘‘grunge’’ grates on me as though I were a hunk o’ cheese, and I refuse to use it except in condescension.)

I’ve never possessed any musical talent of my own, yet for as long as memory serves I’ve yearned for the ability to create such sweet sounds.

Christ man, I wish I could sing like that; I wish I could write and create and play music like that. I have a weak singing voice to begin with, yet I can sing along with a few bands and Elvis Presley’s easy to exaggerate. But I can’t even come close to what Cobain could do with his voice. It was a raw and blistering thing——not refined or polished, yet no less spectacular in its modest range and intoxicating intensity. It wasn’t what he had so much as how he used it; he sang much like his music sounded, almost always teetering on, playing with, or otherwise stretching the limits of the straining level.

And his lyrics were so, I don’t know, I hate to even dare risk sounding pretentious——too late——but they were almost kinda profound at times (or perhaps really, really neat is better descriptive). They didn’t always make perfect sense, and, no Rush, you can’t always understand what he’s singing, but so what? Music is emotional; it doesn’t have to tell a story or have a moral for sound’s sake!

All I know is that, at the time, the music he and his band created was more passionate and inspiring than anything I’d heard in a long time.

Then he done went and killed himself.

And I didn’t even know the fucking guy and yet still I felt genuinely bad when I learned of his death, for selfish reasons no less: ’cause I liked his music. Yet in a way it was more than that——there was just something there, in him and in his music, that I felt a strange almost-kinship to.

It’s peculiar that I’d be haunted by thoughts of someone I never even met. Perhaps because I’d only just started listening to Nirvana a few weeks before his death. Or because I was feeling especially estranged at the time and wanted someone to identify with. For whatever reason, the thought of all that might have been had he lived on gnawed away at me for a good time after his death. He was just 27 and in his prime. Full of possibilities. There one second, then the next just . . . gone. Like a glorious flame burning bright with illumination suddenly snuffed out by an unseen gust——just phssst! And all that’s left is the music, simultaneously beautiful and, for a time, haunting of all that might have but was never to be.

Appendix II

Perhaps calling yourself a liberal actually meant something at one time. But because it’s been typified by those who take progressivism to the furthest extreme, to characterize anyone Limbaugh disagrees with, the word’s lost all meaning (at least in my mind). It’s probably for the best, too. Who wants to limit themselves, the range of their mind and consciousness, to the confines of any ideological label?

I consider myself neither liberal or conservative.

Nor am I a Democrat or a Republican; those words mean nothing to me. I am first and foremost an individual. And I’m not afraid of coming to my own conclusions, of seeking my own answers. I only hope others will also step forward into a greater understanding of themselves and this world, where they do not derive their sense of self, truth, or guidance from other people’s preconceived classifications and ideologies.

Make no mistake that many Democrats are as guilty of mean-spirited partisanship as their Republican counterparts. While playing that Fleetwood Mac song Don’t Stop (‘‘don’t stop thinking about tomorrow/it’ll be better than before’’), Clinton paid no heed to the final passage in the song: ‘‘Don’t you look back.’’ He, along with other Democrats, have rather pathetically obsessed over the corruption allegations leveled towards the Reagan/Bush administration to contrast their own idealism way too much. (Although in light of all the allegations leveled at his own administration, it’s unlikely Clinton will continue to be as eager to point out the faults of those he’s succeeding.) And it just generally seems that for every Republican politician spouting rhetoric about the evil Democrats, there’s an equal amount of Democrats spouting the same crap about the evil Republicans.

Choosing a political party in America is like choosing sides on opposing football teams. In the end partisanship is a frivolous sport, where any yardage gained by one team, or rather party, amounts to little more than a lot of back-patting and ballyhooing. It’s only natural that people be divided in their beliefs, but this doesn’t mean people must be divided because of their beliefs. I look forward to the day when we transcend the categorized labels and the name-blaming, where an idea is just an idea expressed by an individual valued for its own merit.

Appendix III


On the specific subject of classroom prayer again, though I wouldn’t necessarily encourage this, but for those schools that decide they want it I see nothing terribly objectionable to a daily moment of silence being held in public classrooms.

Some rather reactionary school board members have spoken out against this as a connection between church and state. According to The Outlook of Santa Monica, CA, Lillian Raffel, president of the Beverly Hills school board, said of this: ‘‘It’s an implied prayer. It really is. I just think it’s treading on dangerous ground, when you have a routine moment of silence. I think that people interpret [prayer] as the intent.’’ Another member of the B.H. school board named A.J. Wilmer said of it: ‘‘. . . I think people are advocating it for religious reasons. In fact, they see a moment of silence as a nice way to say prayer in school.’’

Yeah, so? If they want, those of strong religious faith can and most probably will designate the time to say a silent little prayer to themselves (and it can apply to and not infringe on anyone’s religion). But it can also be a non-religious moment for anyone else, whether cynic or atheist or someone who just doesn’t know what they yet believe. Some may just enjoy the silence, accept it as an opportunity to reflect on their life, on their classes, with a little perspective. A moment to soak it all in. Others may simply fiddle their thumbs, doodle on their notebooks, or pass notes to one another. My point being, no matter what any student chooses to do with that time, it’s totally their own, infringing only on their right to make noise, which is all they do the rest of the day anyway.

Sometimes a moment of silence can make all the noise just that much clearer.

I honestly don’t understand how any sensible person could interpret this as anything but the most harmless of activities whose sole purpose is to address the emotional chaos of most individuals in this life, especially a young person in school. (Some people have promoted a moment of silence to help ‘‘build character’’ and turn students into ‘‘good citizens’’: I think that’s a lot o’ crap! But of all the things schools do force onto their students——including ‘‘guidance’’ counseling——what could possibly be more passive or harmless than a moment of silence?) In fact in some cases I believe it’d be a very reasonable compromise for those schools with a large religious student body.

Appendix IV


The medical applications of marijuana are rather considerable. Not that this has stopped our government from forbidding its medical use: only eight people are legally allowed to smoke marijuana under the Compassionate Use Investigational New Drug program. The procedure to enlist on this program was an estimated 50 hours of paperwork; although once Bob Randall (the man for whom the program was originated so that he could legally smoke marijuana to treat his glaucoma, thus preventing him from going blind) developed a quicker way of applying, applications soared, and so the George Bush administration mercilessly killed the program in 1992 (‘‘gotta look tough on crime, Mr. President’’).

Legal medical use of marijuana is more strictly prohibited than drugs such as morphine, codeine and cocaine. Justifying this tightfisted control over the medical use of marijuana, Rayford Kytle, a spokesman for the Public Health Service (which oversees the FDA), said, ‘‘We . . . are concerned that we send out a consistent message on drugs, that they are not healthy and they are not good, especially for young people.’’ Yeah, the last thing they want to do is come anywhere near admitting the truth, especially if it can benefit the health of people with AIDS, cancer and other illnesses.

Appendix V


As for Limbaugh, you’d think someone so concerned for the jobs of tobacco-pickers would be equally enthusiastic about the many jobs hemp legalization would produce. The industrial benefits of the hemp fabric, which is derived from the marijuana stem, is many. Hemp is an amazingly versatile fabric that can be used to make any number of quality products. One acre of hemp can make as much paper as four acres of forest. The original drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper, as were the sails of many pioneers ships made from hemp cloth. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln were all huge proponents of hemp because they knew what an amazing plant cannabis is and of all its possible uses, industrial and . . . personal?

I don’t know how many of you saw the movie Dazed and Confused, but in it was a scene in which this one pothead talks about what a major stoner Washington was. In context of the movie it sounded like a lot of rambling b.s., and I don’t know whether there was a grain of truth to any of it. But in the contexts of pure speculation, seeing as how they were such champions of hemp, is it not then within the realm of possibility that tobacco wasn’t the only thing those old timers were sticking in their pipes?

Heck if I know!? There’s no denying, though, that our history books have always been somewhat selective in what information they chose to disclose . . . or distort.

Appendix VI


And instead of just watching TV all day, inmates should be encouraged to participate in productive activities from wit to better themselves. Including working to make products (like that prison in Oregon that makes the Prison Blues clothes), the profits from which could help finance their own imprisonment. Since they’d be doing skilled tasks a bit more precise than breaking rocks, the convicts would have to work of their own choice, which means paying them minimum wage.

On a purely superficial level, what’s the problem with most criminals? They don’t have a job, man! They lazy, irresponsible. It’s fair to assume many crimes are economically motivated. So why not teach them a skill they can use in the real world once paroled, teach them a work ethic? Many of these people have never held a steady job——they may find they like working for their money (they should get around 15-20% of their salaries, the rest going to support their own cost in a prison and to a Victim Fund organization).

Course careful consideration would have to be made as to how any and all prison-made products might effect American businesses. Nobody would want to see law-abiding citizens losing their jobs to lawbreaking prisoners. The Prison Blues Clothes, for instance, sell successfully (especially in Asia for some reason), yet hardly makes a dent in the multi-billion dollar jeans and clothing industry. But beyond that point, when they feel they might hurt American businesses, the prisons could turn to making products which aren’t produced here because they’re made in countries with such cheap labor we haven’t been able to compete.

If of good quality, I’m sure there are many Americans who’d be more than willing to buy prison-made products. For one, simply for the product itself, but also because they’d know they were helping to support the justice system, and the rehabilitation of the prisoners. No doubt people would be glad to support this system with the purchase of an actual product they wanted and chose, as opposed to just forking over their tax dollars.

Appendix VII


There are certain conservatives who appear to believe that the best manner of encouragement is by discouraging the opposite. Rather than positively encourage birth, they negatively discourage abortion. Rather than encourage individuals to behave well by addressing them on the complicated soul, teaching them self-awareness and self-guidance, they do this by discouraging evil ways, and by inflicting those who have behaved badly to hellish punishment. Rather than try to end illegitimacy by going after the abandoners, they try to end single motherhood by stigmatizing the abandoned and scorning Murphy Brown. And rather than encourage the homeless to pick themselves up for themselves, they say this must be done to appease our disapproving society.

It’s an unusual approach to life, to say the least. Many traditionalists I’ve observed seem to believe in guiding, or forcing, people towards a positive by discouraging the negative with a negative. I suppose in some ways it can almost be seen as a form of reverse-psychology, though I envision it more as being this magnetic theory wherein they believe that two negatives will force one toward the positive. Weird. Uh——heh——whatever.

Appendix VIII

Dear Michael Rahman:
                                                                  April 3, 1995

Thank you for your letter.

Anyone with any sense knows Rush Limbaugh is wrong. There are probably many professional writers preparing books and articles about that. Have you read all the articles already in print? Do you know of books being written? Why would a publisher put an unknown writer under contract for such a book when to an editor it would be obvious you are expressing your personal opinion rather than having done research inasmuch as you don’t even look in a dictionary to see how “rebuttal” is spelled.

Instead of a book, opinions on subjects are better sent to Letters to the Editor. Do you know WHY R.L. is on television? Do you know the powerful machine backing him? Have you done any research? Or is your book just a reason for putting your own opinions in print?

Your outline is not organized correctly for your book. It doesn’t matter what prompted you to write it. And it is not important how you first became aware of R.L. What is more important to an editor is what have you found out concerning the group backing him, etc.

You don’t prove R.L. wrong by voicing your own ideas about the subjects he speaks about. What is behind his propaganda? That is the question.

I have a critique service you may want to use to come to grips with your book. The fee is $200. per 50,000 words, refundable when the book sells. If interested, send me the complete manuscript with fee and return postage.

                                              XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX


I must extend my utmost gratitude to my mom,
my stepdad, and the rest of my family for taking me in
and supporting me while I did practically nothing but work
on the completion of this oddity, and without whose generosity
it might never have been published.
Muchos gracias y’all.


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