Thursday: Another Grungey Anniversary Observed

In this roundup: Recalling 25 years of Nirvana’s Nevermind, petro-pipeline-economic challenges, lead poisoning, anthrax, and cops gone wild.

Hard to believe it was 25 years ago this past weekend when Seattle grunge band Nirvana released its second and best-selling album Nevermind. This particular collection of songs continues to have deep impact on rock, in no small part because it gave voice to social alienation and frustrations of its decade.

Grunge as a genre petered out by the late 1990s, perhaps in response the impact of Cobain’s suicide, the aging of its audience, and the bursting of the dot com bubble. I’ve wondered, though, if its overwhelmingly white male angst merely went underground, disrupted by 9/11 and redirected toward the war on terror. The grunge generation was the first to be wholly free of the draft, born toward the end of or after the Vietnam War. It had no common goal, no shared sacrifice, at a time when technology became incredibly powerful and a key driver behind economic growth.

Then the dot com bomb, the towers fell, and the grunge generation was forced to look away from its navel, but not toward a positive aim with measurable success defined by concrete benchmarks. It was offered an identity defined by negatives: not ‘radical Muslim’, not ‘Old Europe’, not anything apart from with-Bush/Cheney because it wasn’t popular to be against them for the sub-40-year-old crowd.

Now that +20 years have passed, how are the grunge generation defined?

UPDATE 9:30 AM EDT — News worth updating and inserting higher in post: Congress avoided a government shutdown while simultaneously funding Flint, Michigan’s water system aid as well as Zika virus response. The amount allocated for Flint will be somewhere between $170 million (House) and $220 (Senate). It’s not anywhere near the amount needed for complete removal of damaged water mains and lead piping, but it’s a good start. Snappy synopsis here.

See also this particularly offensive POS from a hotel and tourism advocate in Puerto Rico, published before the deal. Too bad Mr. Miguel Vega will never have to actually carry a Zika infected fetus; his hand wringing over Zika fear is a perfect example of male privilege, applied on behalf of his employers. The real problem with Zika response has always been a lack of knowledge about the virus as well as inadequate concern for the welfare of citizens — not fear. /end update

Fossil Feud
All related to oil, all equally distressing.

  • OPEC to cut oil output (Bloomberg) — The move supports the Saudis’ need for more cash. Russia will tweak its output levels after OPEC has finished setting a firmer level, though it pumped a record amount in September, tripling August’s daily output.
  • Iran’s oil minister described as ‘happy’ (Bloomberg via Twitter) — Bijan Zanganeh’s reaction as the OPEC conference in Algiers ended Wednesday.
  • Congress overrode Obama’s veto of 9/11 bill (Insurance Journal) — In spite of the White House’s effort to kill The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), the bill will become law after today’s rare override. The bill allows 9/11 victims and their families to sue Saudi Arabia for damages. Passage of the bill may cause the Saudis to delay sales of $10 billion of an international ‘megabond’ as investors could be put off by risks to RSA from lawsuits. But if oil prices go up due to production cuts, the bonds may not be as critical to RSA’s plans.
  • Reps. Grijalva and Ruiz say Dakota Access Pipeline approvals did not comply with law (Indian Country) — After a meeting between Democratic Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Raul Ruiz and representatives of Standing Rock Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, Lakota, Apache tribes late last week, the representatives called for the Army Corps of Engineers’ permits to be revoked. Full assessments for environmental and historical impact had not been completed before the permits were issued; ACOE may have acted under the influence of pipeline and oil companies. Grijalva and Ruiz are members of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. It’s not clear what will happen next given the anticipated rise in oil prices and the impending general election.
  • Monbiot op-ed: Fossil fuels must remain in the ground to meet Paris Agreement (Guardian-UK) — Fossil fuel industry’s own data shows that current extraction rates and plans will push global temperatures above 1.5C-2C, undermining the Paris agreement on climate change. The only sure way to comply with the temperature goals is to stop extracting fossil fuels.

Use the anticipated increase in oil prices as incentive to reduce its use. Put on the big person’s panties and say no to pipelines and more extraction. Push for incentives to conserve while developing alternative energy. It’s long past time.


  • Police across U.S. misusing databases for personal reasons (AP via Salt Lake Tribune) — After conducting illegal searches of confidential information including addresses and Social Security numbers, police have been punished hundreds of times over the last three years. The article says the number of unauthorized database searches identified during reporting are “unquestionably an undercount.” It’s not clear from this report if these databases also include information gathered from surveillance including Stingray use
  • CDC’s flawed report left East Chicago IN children exposed to lead (Reuters) — Not clear how or why CDC’s 5-year-old report claimed “nearly 100 percent” of children’s blood lead levels had been tested in an area once home to a lead refinery. In reality, only 5 percent to 20 percent had been tested, and 22 percent of children around the West Calumet housing development area tested positive for elevated blood lead. This situation is so fishy; in my opinion, the Department of Justice should look more deeply into this case and not merely assist with obtaining settlement funding. Somebody inside the CDC did more than omit data or misstate conclusions.
  • Mystery of USSR anthrax outbreak uncovered (Twitter) — Lifehacker’s science and health writer Beth Skwarecki tweeted a brief story about a Soviet-era anthrax epidemic. It’s a quick and fascinating read (unrelated to the recent anthrax outbreak, to the best of my knowledge).

Quite enough without adding a longer read or listen, huh? Catch you later!

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
35 replies
  1. martin says:

    quote”Now that +20 years have passed, how are the grunge generation defined?”unquote
    Embarrassed? I was a “quasi” hippy during the late 60’s. Saw a picture of myself last week, taken during that time. Sheeezus. Amazing I even made it through that time without dying. Insert rolling eye smiley here. However, I’ll take a guess, and say, like every generation.. they woke up one day, and realized.. umm..shit, I have to get a job. Life more or less force’s one to grow up and face reality, regardless of what social group and music one associated with. I’d further submit, at this point in their lives, given a choice, would they think, dress, act and associate themselves with those of their generation who never moved on? Especially if they’ve moved upwards in career and social status. I tend to think not.
    . Frankly, I thought grunge music was the stupidest, moronic, adolescent tantrum I’d ever heard. And I played music professionally, from the time I was 16 till I was 59. My son started playing guitar and drums when he was 10, and yes, he was in a grunge band at an early age. It was only after he turned 24, when he was going through my old albums, and discovered Django Reinhardt, that his whole music perspective changed. Life does that sometimes. It’s called…growing up. He’s turning 40 next week and I’m sure someday, he will come across a picture of himself during that time of grunge. I’m also sure..he, like me, will roll his eyes. Anyway, that’s my curmudgeon $.02.

  2. martin says:

    PS.. as for the rest of today’s subject matters, the one I’m most happy about is Congress spitting in Obama’s face.  Maybe one day, notwithstanding the BUSH/CIA torture cartel, HE will  meet his comeuppance as a war criminal, by virtue of some family member of an innocent victim of Obama’s Tuesday Kill List suing him.  I can only hope they financially crucify him.

    • RUKidding says:

      Agree. Ironically it’s the GOP Congress who does this mainly just to spit in the “n” word’s face, but this opens the door for people also to sue the likes of Dick Cheney, the Bush Crime Syndicate, Henry Kissinger, as well as Obama.  One can dream…

      • bmaz says:

        No, JASTA does not do that at all. In fact it is fairly narrowly and stupidly tailored. it is nothing but a idiotic political shitshow that will never result in  any accountability, and certainly never against the parties you mention.

        • RUKidding says:

          I stand corrected and I have a sad learning that.  Confess that I know little about the actual wording of this law.  Thanks.

        • rugger9 says:

          I’ll agree with you there, this was pure political grandstanding since no one wanted those attack ads about how they prevented the terrorists’ backers from being held accountable.  Obama doesn’t have another election any time soon and understood that the procedure wasn’t going to work, and that every two-bit dictator such as Mugabe, the Yemeni “leader du jour” or Bashar Assad could also sue US for crimes real and imagined in their courts once we said we could sue KSA in ours.  It’s an example of “careful what you wish for…”

        • bloopie2 says:

          But won’t this bill provide political cover to other countries who want to enact similar legislation?  Of course I doubt that anything will come of all this, but it sure would be a gas to see the USA standing (metaphorically at least) in the dock of some Middle Eastern country.  The world would stop “saving the appearances” (Ptolemy, Milton) and the USA might be nudged just a teensy amount to adopt a new understanding of its place in the world—at least from a geocentric to a heliocentric view, if not all the way to an elliptical one.  Let’s give it a whirl; in this case, perhaps the will of the people is expressed by the Legislature and not by the Executive.

        • martin says:

          ”  In fact it is fairly narrowly and stupidly tailored.”

          Notwithstanding trying to defuse the wrath of the families of   9/11 victims with language typical of scum bag lying Congressional pond scum who would NEVER put US personnel at risk by any means, they already knew they would come back and absolve themselves by passing another bill to RESCIND the bill in secret.     Mark my words.




      • rugger9 says:

        The framework already exists to haul in war criminals, see Pinochet, Augusto.  The question is whether anyone with the authority has the political guts to do it, and so far that hasn’t happened.

        • martin says:

          Hahahahahahaha… framework.. to haul in war criminals for prosecution. right.

          Says one who never heard nor read the real definition of Legal Imperialism, of which, the USG is the posterchild.


          As for prosecuting US war criminals.. hahahahahaha.. in which time domain dreamscape?  Give me a fucking break.  The only way that will EVER happen is either an mass coronal ejection EMP of biblical proportions strikes the northern hemisphere, or a lucky EMP strike via nuclear weapons by powers capable of delivering it. In either case, we’re all fucked anyway.



  3. Rayne says:

    martin (6:37) — “Frankly, I thought [grunge] music was the stupidest, moronic, adolescent tantrum I’d ever heard.” Just swap out any other period genre here. Like jazz or rock-and-roll or hip hop. Your elders thought your music was just as stupid, and they thought you were just as fungible as a draftee as corporatists think youth are today.

    Some things never change.

    • rugger9 says:

      My theory is that kids listen to whatever scares their parents the most.  I grew up in the disco generation, and that’s why it’s making a comeback.  Yikes.

    • martin says:

      Just swap out any other period genre here. Like jazz or rock-and-roll or hip hop. Your elders thought your music was just as stupid, and they thought you were just as fungible as a draftee as corporatists think youth are today.

      Of course. However, when it came to the draft, some were not as stupid as those nationalistic morons who gave their lives in Vietnam…for FUCKING NOTHING.

      I was among those who raised their middle finger to the USG PTB. Hence..I’m still fucking alive, vs all those who thought the leaders of Murika ..knew what they were doing, when in reality…they were lying through their fucking teeth.  Just as today. Except, the PTB can’t draft the Dumbest Young Men on the Planet… yet.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    “This particular collection of songs continues to have deep impact on rock, in no small part because it gave voice to social alienation and frustrations of its decade.” That statement, I don’t understand. I grew up musically in the 60s and 70s and didn’t feel a need to listen to music in order to help me socially or mentally. Was I out of step with my generation? Or if not, were succeeding generations different in that regard? Or was I simply privileged enough that I didn’t need to go that route?

    • martin says:

      “This particular collection of songs continues to have deep impact on rock, in no small part because it gave voice to social alienation and frustrations of its decade.”


      Impact. On rock. Hahahahahahaha…thats the funiest, dumbest statement I’ve read in a decade.  IMPACT? What fucking impact?  If you mean other music that has  no more power to impact the inhumanity of that government they live under…then what..prey tell..is the goddamn point? Oh..I forgot. Tantrums.

  5. RUKidding says:

    I am old unrepentent hippy, and sometimes I still dress the way I did back in the ’60s & ’70s.  So sue me!  I love my old photos and no, I don’t roll my eyes.  Maybe I’ll never grow up, but then again, people often (really) think I’m 15 years younger than I am.  So maybe it works for me.  And I happen to still love Nevermind.  It’s a great album, but I enjoy a very diverse range of music.  There’s plenty of room for different types of tunes.

    You guys sure are curmudgeons today!!  ha ha…  long live rock ‘n roll, punk, grunge and whatever else comes along.

  6. lefty665 says:

    Don’t think grungers went away, they just morphed into hipsters. They still like plaid shirts, but their beards are neatly trimmed these days.  Nirvana forced me to learn power chords so I could play music with my kids, think I can still hammer out “Come as you are”.  Never could stand “Rape me” though. Nirvana’s cover of  “In the Pines” brought my kids back to acoustic music and it’s been cool ever since.

    I’ve been on the road with spotty access, did the House drop the poison pill provisions in Flint and Zika funding? Sure hope so, but somehow it does not seem likely. If not, those provisions could do more harm than good.

    Wash Post story that a significant portion of demand over the last several years has been China building strategic reserves. With Russia producing at record levels, Iran with no restrictions, and China’s choice on stockpiling it may be even harder than usual for OPEC to restrict production enough to materially increase prices.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/china-may-be-stockpiling-more-oil-than-anyone-realized/2016/09/29/69492224-85e4-11e6-a3ef-f35afb41797f_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-moretopstories2_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    FWIW department. We were camped south of Bismark, ND a couple of weeks ago and denied access to the public road leading to the Sioux pipeline demonstration by what in retrospect seems likely to have been oil company goons. They were dressed in camo uniforms, with sidearms, but with no insignia, no branch, unit, rank or name. Their vehicles were civilian, and a nominal sheriff with them also had no insignia but was dressed in khakis, white shirt, stetson and an unmarked full size white Ford.  “They’re marching again. You can’t go down there” was the order.


    • martin says:

      quote”Nirvana forced me to learn power chords so I could play music with my kids, think I can still hammer out “Come as you are”. “unquote

      Django forced me to learn to be a musician so I could play with adults who knew and improvise music using the 60 chord system. Vs Nirvana halfwits who would be humiliated on a stage with real musicians within 60 seconds . Power chords…hahahahahahahahahaha!   Lord …please… spare me. 6


      • lefty665 says:

        Did you burn your left hand so you only have two fingers to play with? You’re faking jazz manouche if you play with 10 fingers. 60 chords with 2 fingers makes for a lot of dupes. It really ain’t 60 chords at all, snob.  As someone remarked recently “hahahahahahahahaha”.

        I find that every time I poke my nose into a different style of music I learn something. It’s language without words. How notes and phrasings go together make for different expressions, some of them more interesting than others.

        Learning to play the music my early teen age boys were into was part of helping us maintain a  good relationship through their adolescence. That’s not easy, so I appreciate Cobain’s help. Socialization is something you apparently don’t know much about. Go back to studying your chord chart.

    • wayoutwest says:

      Thanks for the report on the situation in ND and I heard the National Guard was being used for this interdiction of people trying to join or visit the camps. I doubt that unidentified armed groups have any real authority to block public highways so it would be interesting to see some large group of people challenge them.

      Zikasteria is finally paying off and those starving researchers will find plenty of new ‘could and might’ claims to keep the fear factor infecting the rubes.

      • Rayne says:

        Well. Here’s another opinion from someone who won’t ever fear carrying a Zika-infected fetus. Hope you never have to worry about Guillain-Barre and who might take care of you as you recover.

        Don’t you have something more constructive to do with your time someplace else?

        • wayoutwest says:

          You seem to be fixated on ripping those Alien Zika babies out of women’s bodies when only a small fraction of them might or could be affected.

          I don’t think this is a rational way to promote a woman’s right to chose especially when about 25,000 of these small-headed babies are born every year in the US with no connection to Zika .

          Global warming will spread many tropical diseases to the north and the chemicals we use to try to contain them will probably cause as much long term damage as the infections do themselves.  The chemical fogger trucks have been through my neighborhood repeatedly and I usually wake up and shut my windows.

      • lefty665 says:

        My pleasure. It was coincidence we were there. Yeah, the authority was the pistol prominently displayed in a shoulder holster and other weapons on others there. I wasn’t inclined to argue.

        The road south went through the same area so we hit the same intersection again several days later on the way out of town. This time it was manned by ND national guard, clearly identified. They advised that “Unless you want to go through there, we’d suggest another route”.  They were nice local kids. The first bunch were older, tougher and didn’t know anything about the area.

  7. bloopie2 says:

    I saw part of Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” last night.  Tell me, is this Gordon Gekko speaking, or Donald Trump?
    “America has become a second rate power. Our trade deficit and fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. In the days of the ‘free market’ when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the shareholders. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the man who built this industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today management has no stake in the company. … You own Teldar Paper, the stockholders, and you are being royally screwed over by these bureaucrats with their steak lunches, golf and hunting trips, corporate jets, and golden parachutes! Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over $200,000 a year. I spent two months analyzing what these guys did and I still can’t figure it out.  The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be ‘survival of the unfittest’. Well in my book, you either do it right or you get eliminated.”?

  8. rugger9 says:

    When it comes to OPEC, the question is about how much they will stick to their quotas and not try to cheat by pumping extra.  The price may rise (there’s still a bit of an oil glut, I believe) on speculation, but the financial pressures driving the announced action also tend to encourage skullduggery to cover previously lost revenue.  The OPEC front hasn’t really be unified since the Iran-Iraq war, if not before, and there are more non-GCC members in the club (i.e. the UK).


    What rising oil prices will also do is encourage more fracking and tar sand mining since the economic equation will become more favorable to pay for the higher extraction costs per barrel.

    • bloopie2 says:

      Yes, rising oil prices do encourage fracking and tar sand mining, but they also encourage renewable energy, no?  And they are definitely not “distressing” to the oil producing countries and their citizens; we need not always frame things in terms of “what’s good for me is, by definition, good.”  Those are real people out there that we are bombing every day.

    • lefty665 says:

      Tar sand oil production is up this year despite losses on every barrel. There’s high fixed costs and potential loss of assets in steam extraction mining. If they let things cool off they may lose the asset entirely.  Break even apparently varies widely between about $55 and $95 a barrel depending on extraction method. Shipping via train or truck to gulf coast refineries is $20 a barrel or more.

      Prices will have to go up a lot to stimulate tar sands oil production, but production will continue to float up for this ugly product because lowering production is even more expensive for the producers.

    • Rayne says:

      I just put up a post requesting feedback about the new site. Could you post a little more detail there about the problem you’re having in comments there? Thanks!

Comments are closed.