Yesterday, several days after the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, A Voice for Men took a moment to honor the brilliant musician who tragically ended his life at the age of only 27.
Well, not exactly. What they actually did was run a terrible poem using the anniversary of Cobain’s death as an excuse to launch an extended attack on the supposed evils of feminism.
Here’s the opening:
Feminists killed Kurt Cobain
Men my age are all the same
They hate themselves & feel ashamed
For what they are & cannot change
It gets worse. The poem, written by a YouTube MRA calling himself Laudanum Byron, continues on for another 104 lines after this. Only 13 refer to Cobain, and five of these are simply repetitions of the opening accusation: “feminists killed Kurt Cobain.”
The rest of the poem consists of an assortment of Men’s Rights talking points sketched out in the most melodramatic manner possible.
Men chastised, demonized,
Healthy males pathologized
A man is just a dirty ape
Longing, lust, desire: all rape
Your body is a loaded gun
And all that it has done is wrong
Like all too many MRAs, Mr. Byron lets his anger at women get the better of his logic. In the following lines, for example, he lashes out at women both for living off of the earnings of men — and for earning money of their own.
Now the girls get told get what you can
After all, he’s just a man
You’re right to think it’s right to take
Yes you go girl, you make him pay
The girls get taught they must get on
Like work empowered anyone:
To sell your life for dollar bills
Taking calls & stacking shelves
In offices & factories
Fulfilment sought in drudgery
Mr. Byron – no relation, one presumes, to the actual Byron – seems to have only a rudimentary notion of what a poem actually is. While most, though not all, of his lines scan, he has persistent troubles with the concept of rhyme, with his aabb and aabbcc rhyme schemes dominated by half-rhymes and quarter-rhymes and, well, the words have some similar sounds in them.
“Bills” and “shelves” don’t rhyme, or half-rhyme, despite both ending in the letter “s.” “Take” and “pay” aren’t even remotely close.
Admittedly, “chivalry” is a tough one to rhyme. But surely one can do better than “steeds.”
White knights, on their hobbled steeds
Still cling to laws of chivalry
Passed over by the queens they save
A joke to all the other slaves
When he pulls off an actual rhyme, it comes a surprise:
All of us the sons of Cain
Feminists killed Kurt Cobain.
But while we’re on the topic, it’s worth pointing out that feminists and/or feminism did not actually kill Kurt Cobain. (Nor did anyone else; the conspiracy theories suggesting he was murdered don’t make a lot of sense.)
Byron’s only “evidence” linking feminism to the suicide?
He screamed onstage & pierced his flesh
Put on make-up, wore a dress
Look, nobody knows for sure the reason or reasons Cobain took his own life, but he was a troubled man with a history of suicide attempts. He suffered from depression and from a painful, persistent stomach ailment. He was addicted to heroin. And as his suicide note made clear, he found the fame he had achieved to be something of an intolerable burden; he felt like a fake. Like a lot of suicides, Cobain’s could be seen as psychologically overdetermined; it could have been caused by any or all of these things.
Using his suicide to score cheap rhetorical points against feminism is not only dishonest but highly disrespectful to his memory.
To top off this gigantic platter of disrespect, whoever wrote the headline on AVFM didn’t even bother to spell Cobain’s first name correctly. It’s Kurt, with a K.
Below, “Byron’s” own reading of his poem. If you can’t bear listening to it — I only made it a couple of stanzas in before I had to shut it off — you can make your way to AVFM, or to YouTube, to read the rest. I feel safe in saying that Kurt, who considered himself a feminist, would have hated it, and A Voice for Men as well.