“Since when did it become cool to become part of the establishment?” This question was posed to me by a friend walking across our university alma mater’s campus during the 2004 presidential election. The wash of Bush/Cheney signs from dorm room windows was simply soul crushing. However, by 2004 this wave of late teen/early twenties capitulation and “my dad is my best friend” culture had been firmly entrenched. The time had long passed since the need for a true counterculture in the US would wedge itself into the discourse via the youth.
In the Dave Grohl meme making the rounds on facebook, Dave Grohl rightly romanticizes his garage days in Nirvana. Where kids who couldn’t cover Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” turned it into “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and created a generation of hippies without a conscience (let’s just call grunge what it was, Pearl Jam’s fight with ticketmaster not withstanding). Dave was in a position to do something about it. He could have railed against the whitewashing of media and the Clear Channel hegemony. He didn’t. Instead, he wrote albums with the Foo Fighters that sit nicely next to everyone’s Dave Matthews Band cds. This ushered in what everyone was waiting for… Mesh trucker hats and sweatbands. Not to mention, Nirvana never really got beyond what Dave self-describes as sucking. While I agree with the spirit of Kitty’s article, I disagree with the lens and history it promotes. Grunge wasn’t the last rebellious/arch/counterculture. It sucked. It said next to nothing… Just like Dave Grohl.
I’d like to remind Dave Grohl and others who jumped all over this quote, that we are going to need the internet. We’re going to need every weapon in our arsenal to combat the behemoths of media we’ve allowed to grow. It’s beyond just getting in a garage (that’s the spirit, but it’s not the blood). Dave Grohl’s little whine about TV shows and generations (see y and millenials) of instant celebrity and zero work ethic may be correct in spirit, but totally misses the mark. I certainly don’t want him speaking for me, and I can’t figure out why anyone else would.