- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Grim finality
"Blame Kurt Cobain for 'N Sync and Britney Spears. When the Nirvana [lead singer] committed suicide in 1994, he effectively sounded the death knell for Gen-X/slacker/grunge culture, which at the time seemed as monolithic as the hippie movement of the '60s. It's as if a legion of music fans stunned by the grim finality of Cobain's act, collectively decided, if this is where authenticity and self-expression lead, give us artifice and showbiz.
"Cobain had a wealth of problems. A working-class child of divorce, he spent his teen-age years living the sort of existence that leads to jails and institutions far more often than to rock stardom. A high school dropout with a fondness for beer, cheap drugs, and rock, he was homeless when most kids were still doing homework. His future fate hung around him like a shroud; as one friend remarked: 'He was the shape of suicide. He looked like suicide, he walked like suicide, and he talked about suicide.'"
—Tom Sinclair, writing on "All Apologies," in the Aug. 17 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Liberated?
"While riding the Metro a few weeks back, a friendly guy about my age started chatting with me. As his stop approached, he hesitatingly said, 'So, do you live with anyone?' Unsure of what he meant, I blurted out the name of family friends I'm living with. He carefully repeated, 'No, I mean do you live with anyone?' With a sudden epiphany, I said, 'Oh, you mean, "am I married?" No, I'm not married.' He laughed and said he didn't think I was, and then without even knowing my last name, asked me for my telephone number.
"I stared perplexed as the Metro left him at his station. Only then did I understand what he was asking. I was shocked. What happened to asking a girl if she was 'seeing anyone?'
"Since then, I've wondered if I should have been shocked? After all, cohabitation and 'hooking-up' are such norms these days. He was just a little more direct and honest than most perhaps. Yet, I couldn't help but feel outraged that I wasn't assumed to be a lady and disillusioned that he was obviously not a gentleman. Oh, I know. Thinking in terms of 'ladies' and 'gentlemen' is so archaic. Women today are supposed to be liberated from all that."
—Covenant College student Heather Honaker in "Burnt Bras and Shattered Dreams" in the Aug. 9 Omaha WorldHerald

British babes
"Americans can't get enough of British women. Tina Brown and Anna Wintour, Liz Hurley and Catherine Zeta-Jones, will soon have their features sculpted on Mount Rushmore.
"From Milan to London, the American woman, whose glossy, blonde Calvin Klein looks make the rest of us feel as unkempt as Tracey Emin's bed, has elbowed out the French as the by-word for feminine chic.
"And yet, back in the United States, it is the British woman they want. Why? For one thing, the UK imports offer a welcome relief from the depressing sameness of the natives. Americans, as one New York friend moaned to me, fought a revolution for the freedom to be uniform. … "
—Christina Odone, writing on "Why America Loves Our Women," Sunday in the (Manchester) Guardian

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