What if the internet had existed in its current state when Kurt Cobain committed suicide?
This question was brought up as I was listening to Rob Sheffield’s Love Is a Mix Tape on the way home from work tonight. Sheffield is a music writer and his book â€” the concept at least â€” is really smart. Can our lives be told through mix tapes?
Do we even know what mix tapes are anymore?
I got to thinking about Kurt Cobain and his suicide because Sheffield talks about it in his book (SPOILER ALERT! Cobain kills himself!) and how when he died, how all they did all weekend was watch MTV for the news…something…anything about Kurt.
It reminded me of when the King of Pop died in June. Because his death occurred under such strange circumstances and he was a curious, quirky guy, the reaction on the web was weird. Some were quick to remind us of his questionable relationships or the way he burned through money and others did their best to remember him as the genius he was.
Then I thought about the demographics of the people who use the web â€” punk kids with blogs, hipsters in skinny jeans with Tumblogs, Twitterers â€” and I got the feeling that they’d be all over Cobain’s suicide. Not only would it have broken Twitter into a Fail Whale loop, I think it might have brought internet giants like Google and Facebook to their knees. I get the feeling that even YouTube would have struggled to support the onslaught of streaming and embed requests.
This is not a post about how Kurt Cobain was a better artist than Michael Jackson or that one of them contributed more to music than the other. I was just thinking that while the reaction to Michael’s death was huge, I get the feeling that Cobain’s might have been even bigger, given the demographics of those who are most active on the web.
What do you think?