Sunday, January 27, 2008

Teen Spirit 1: Nirvana

Amy fortuitously e-mailed me about how annoyance sometimes intensifies or clarifies passion. You know you care about something if you get totally pissed off when someone disses it.

She was talking about bad boyfriends and people who think global warming is made up; but her point fit perfectly with my pain over the spirituality book [yesterday's post].

I don't know where I stand with religion anymore.
After years of study and practice, I've wondered if I was done with it, ready to put the whole thing on the shelf.
But I was so upset about the biased and ignorant book I was vetting, I was agitated all night long.
I see that I care too deeply about the topic to put it away.

I wrote back to Amy:

"I may not be a practicing, believing Christian anymore, but I do believe religion displays some of humanity's best qualities:
our idealism, our creativity as storytellers and artists, our sense of ourselves as a small piece of a larger puzzle...and our curiosity in where we fit in that puzzle.
It also displays our biggest challenges, as we recognize our human inability or unwillingness to live up to our ideals, to create a life or a community in which we can exercise our creativity and our curiosity."

So I've decided to write up some notes about what I might put in a book for young adults. It's too late to help the book, but I want to do it for myself, for fun and to clear my mind.

Here's what came to me first:
Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Who knows what the song is about? but the title is great, and Nirvana bassist Novoselic said in 2000,"The song was a call to consciousness."

If it was, it was a muffled and confused call, but hey--perfect--that would have spoken to my my teenaged spirit.

I wasn't sure teens still know the song, but in November 2006 ABC News reported:
"'Smells Like Teen Spirit' remains MTV Europe's most played video and continues to strike a chord with angst-ridden teenagers everywhere."

So, if I was the author, I might start there.
And that could lead into Hinduism and then Buddhism, as we try to explain what "nirvana" is.

1 comment:

Sal said...

As an intolerable musichead, I feel compelled to mention that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is a double entendre. The concept a pool of feeling shared by all teens is definitely the primary meaning - as evidenced by the bassist's comment. But Teen Spirit is also a brand of deodorant that aired its first TV commercials a few years before Nirvana hit the bigtime with this single:

Maybe everyone already knew that.

Also, have you seen the video for that song? It features the Cheerleaders of Anarchy, a concept that amuses me endlessly.