What Kurt Cobain teaches us about the American way of failure
I just came across this and thought it was a very interesting discussion about the cult of failure as perceived over more than a century. I don't think the idea is restricted to the US. The theme resembles another one - to the effect that artists need to be alcoholics / drug addicts / dysfunctional in order to produce their best work, which has been refuted many times and remains powerful. Bukowski (poet) says in one of his pieces (in the Captain Has Gone to Lunch...) that people imagine, because he was for much of his life impoverished and in a mess, then that is something they should emulate. He laughs at their imbecility and yet, something that is noted in the linked article, it was definitely a part of my cultural upbringing in the late Sixties and early Seventies that, in some way, it was desirable to be a failure and seeking success was selling out. I never managed to fail properly as it turned out. My artistic model was always James Joyce, who did much of his writing in the kitchen while family life carried on around him.