Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana frontman and songwriter who became a reluctant spokesperson for a lost generation of twentysomethings in the early 1990s, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound 20 years ago on April 5. With that unfortunate anniversary approaching — and a brief, if ultimately false report that the investigation into Kurt Cobain’s death was being reopened — the media interest in Cobain has been growing. So, not surprisingly, CNN got in on the act.
Now, maybe the editing process for the news network’s online incarnation CNN.com, has a few holes in it. Or maybe some staffer at the site just ran out of ideas. But somehow, a CNN.com story on the death of Kurt Cobain ended up with a rather questionable lead — or “lede” as it’s spelled in the journalism trade.
Someone at CNN caught the train wreck of a lede and took it down from the site. But nothing ever dies on the internet.
Here it is:
“And I swear that I don’t have a gun.”
— Kurt Cobain, “Come As You Are”
Despite the pledge in those lyrics that went around the world in the early 1990s, police in Seattle say that Kurt Cobain did have at least one gun.
Yes, that is an awe-inspiringly bad way to begin a story on the Kurt Cobain suicide. So bad in fact, that the enthusiastic staffers at Deadspin got to wondering if it was possible to do any worse.
Deadspin came up with some good candidates for even worse Kurt Cobain “lede” sentences, by mimicking the style of starting with a Kurt Cobain lyric and tying it to the circumstances of his death in as strained and awkward fashion as possible.
Granted, this is some pretty tasteless humor. But no more tasteless than whoever thought the CNN line was appropriate.
Do any of Deadspin‘s attempts top the CNN.com entry? Here are some highlights. What do you think?
“Here we are now / Entertain us,” Kurt Cobain once sang, but apparently we weren’t entertaining enough, because he shot himself.
“Rape me / Rape me, my friend,” Kurt Cobain once wrote, but there’s nothing friendly about this.
“Load up on guns, bring your friends / It’s fun to lose and to pretend,” sang Kurt Cobain, who eventually did load up his gun, but there was nothing fun or pretend about what he did next.
“What else should I say?” asked Kurt Cobain, who was probably unable to say much after the speech center of his brain was splattered onto the wall.
“Monkey see, monkey do,” Kurt Cobain once pondered on “Stay Away.” Cobain must have watched a monkey commit suicide, because he did, too.
Deadspin came up with plenty more, but we think that’s enough bad Kurt Cobain journalism for one sitting. Don’t you?