We’ve reached a cultural tipping point. We are now printing famous suicide notes on t-shirts.
The suicide note in question is Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and the shirts are being proliferated by a Thai eBay seller. Out of respect for that fact that I refuse to direct any traffic to said seller, I’m not posting the link. But an item like this represents the very depth of our desire to commercialize anything and everything and romanticize depression and suicide, turning the final missive of a deeply troubled human being into a piece of clothing to be worn and shown off with pride. Surely no true fan of Nirvana, or even Kurt, would entertain the thought of purchasing and wearing such a shirt, as they should be very familiar with how confrontational the man was with publicity and spotlight. This is absolutely not what he would have wanted.
While we obviously all have the right to free expression, there’s something to be said for exercising good taste and respecting someone who was obviously damaged enough to end his own life. Turning that into something to be glamorized is downright disgusting, and even by writing this, I feel bad that I’m giving it any attention at all. But it also allows us to take a look at ourselves and the people who think this is a good idea, and to consider what this says about both them and our treatment of mental illness and suicide. If someone you loved committed suicide, and someone was making money off of their last words by branding them on clothing, how would you feel about that? Sometimes we forget to take into account that celebrities, and even people in general, all have their own thoughts and feelings, and in the process of forgetting we walk all over them.
But the takeaway from this is simple: don’t buy a shirt with someone’s fucking suicide note on it. Seriously.