Release of Kurt Cobain's Disparaging Letter About Courtney Love Does More Harm Than Good
Earlier this month, the Seattle Police Department reviewed Kurt Cobain's case file because they anticipated "media and fan attention" this month, surrounding the 20th anniversary of his death. Not shockingly, the detective in charge reaffirmed his findings from 1994, ruling the death once again a suicide. But this time around, the police released all of the evidence — from photos of the crime scene to a handwritten note found in Cobain's pocket.
Although the photos are troubling on their own, the note seems to have garnered most of the attention, since it casts Courtney Love as a monster. In his suicide note, which was released to the public during the original investigation in 1994, Cobain had described Love in glowing terms, calling her "a goddess of a wife," and in this note, he accuses her of "siphoning" his money, among other things. Although some may take this as a sign of the everlasting conspiracy theory that Courtney killed her husband, I would prefer to consider how this reopening (and, by proxy, re-conspiracy theorizing) was a bad idea.
Though I usually support the free exchange of information, I'm not sure how much it helps in this case. Kurt Cobain's mental illness, drug use, and volatile relationship with Courtney Love were over-covered by the media in the '90s, and still have a prominent position in his legacy. And once again, the presentation of this new evidence seems poised to invite more conspiracy and public scrutiny, after years of separation from the actual incident.
So while the SPD tried to "close" the case by reopening it and going public, they may have done more harm than good. Already, headlines are trying to whip up an internet frenzy by characterizing Kurt's note as "mocking" or "scorning" Courtney Love. On the blogosphere somewhere, a new theory about how the Seattle police covered up a murder is probably recirculating. So this time, it was probably better for some things to stay hidden, so internet ragers like myself weren't able to once again sensationalize a tragedy.