Tag Archives: rape

Polly II: suggestions of rape and involuntary silence in grunge videos

Each of the following videos contains clues about two secrets. The various crimes and cover-ups against Chris Newman is the obvious secret. It’s the situation which has been written into movies, T.V., and music videos for decades, and which I’ve been writing about for the past year. (Boldface words have definitions in the title attribute – try running your pointer over them.)

There is a second secret which I believe to be an enforced silence and cover-up having to do with a sexual assault against Kurt Cobain. Like the situation with Chris Newman, I believe this secret is not actually so “secret.” It’s a widespread deliberate cover up. And as with the assaults against Chris Newman, I do not believe that Kurt Cobain wanted the assaults he suffered to be covered up. Why do I believe this? I believe this because he laced his entire catalog with flaming easter eggs. As did many other artists, including the following.

In all of these videos Chris’ (aka “sun”) blindness is indicated by missing, covered, rolled-back, or otherwise blanked-out eyes. The lack of truth is shown by missing and/or false teeth; and in Doll Parts, stasis is indicated by the empty fireplace (one needs fire to burn all the liars) and the muddy, dirty, “hanged” dolls.

1992 Babes in Toyland – “Won’t Tell”

False teeth and water imagery to suggest that truth has been compromised. A disembodied hand suggests a lack of power. There is old man/birth/blood and single-eye imagery. (I believe in this case, the old man is a Chris Newman/Mark Arm twin.) In one scene, the mouth is removed from Kat’s face, as she stands, and is baptized, holding a handful of (blood-sucking) leeches.

Her mouth is then shown speaking or singing from the palm of a hand. At the end of the video, the older man is wearing a pink feathered mask, spotted hide “tutu” and cowboy boots as the women come after him wearing vampire fangs, waggling tongues, and brandishing drumsticks, then knives. The very last image of the video is a stuffed squirrel crouched strangely over an animal-like piece of wood. It evokes the idea of a sexual assault, though perhaps vaugely.

1994 Hole’s “Doll Parts”

Doll Parts is a stunning song and video featuring a little boy representing Kurt Cobain crouched by a cold fireplace. Outdoor scenes show Courtney smashing a twisted Victorian tea party and its landscape of dirt-covered dolls hanging from sticks and trees.

The Doll Parts video was made shortly after Kurt’s suicide. A doll’s covered eye is shown at 0:38, and there is also an anal sex-like scene just one second long: 1:41-1:42, between the words “bad skin” and “doll heart.”

1995 Alice In Chains “Grind”

Grind also uses the hole imagery, the blinded eyes, and the missing teeth.

I believe the old man featured in this video is a “twin” character, but mostly a reference to Mark Arm, due to the man’s lack of teeth, affection for the stuffed goat, and his actions in the video. Clues to the assaults against Newman and Cobain are mostly found in the scene involving a stuffed animal menagerie, beginning around 2:53.

First the old man places his hand near the cymbal-playing ape (sun) from whom he receives a stigmata. The man then looks over to see the goat (devil) slowly backing away from the scene. Alice In Chains singer Layne Stayly then looks at a long-eared patchwork creature with a star on it. The creature is kicking out its back legs in anger or torment. I believe this creature represents Kurt Cobain.

At 3:06 the patchwork star creature is attacked and overpowered by a creepy looking hook-beaked creature wrapped in something knit (like a sweater) with pins and/or knitting needles stuck in, like some kind of voodoo doll creature. The knitting needle creature forcibly unzips a zipper on the patchwork star creature (3:08), removes something that looks like a piece of bloody gauze, and chews it up. The old man is then seen closing up the brown paper bag, walking up the stairway, and petting the three-legged dog that waits there. The chorus of the song is “In the darkest hole, you’d be well advised not to plan my funeral before the body dies.” It’s a clear reference to the sun who is buried and considered “dead.”

These artists all make a connection between what seems to have been an assault against Kurt Cobain and the burying of Chris Newman for a couple of reasons. The first reason, I believe, is because in both cases, the perpetrator was (and is) the same person. I believe it is Mark Arm.

The second reason for the connection has to do with predation and copying aspect of the crimes against Chris. All these artists were clearly aware that it was Chris who brought his 1970s heavy rock influenced sounds, and specifically the heavy fuzz Big Muff and the watery Small Clone, into northwest punk rock. All the musicians had to know that Mudhoney guitar players Mark Arm and Steve Turner co-opted the heavy fuzz & Fender twin sound, and either tricked or coerced Kurt Cobain into adapting the Small Clone and Big Muff into his music as well. (I believe this is why Kurt sang – and felt – “I’m a liar and a thief” in the 1993 song, Pennyroyal Tea.) Kurt used the Big Muff in the studio, but is rarely seen with one onstage. The Small Clone sound mixed with a more Wipers like distortion (DS-1) is however, very strongly associated with Kurt Cobain.

2013 Alice In Chains “Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”

At least one other Alice In Chains video contains a symbolic (but more obvious) rape scene involving the disembodied head of a pink bunny rabbit. That is the 2013 Alice In Chains “Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”

The rape scene takes place between 2:40-2:43 (read more commentary on this video)

1993 Nirvana “Heart Shaped Box”

It’s been said that Kurt Cobain wanted William Burroughs to act out a specific type of rape scene with him (one that involves a transference of “power” from the rapist to the victim) in the video for Heart Shaped Box, but that Burroughs declined. The video that was finally made for Heart Shaped Box did not contain a “rape” scene, but it did include a scene where Kurt imitates the “poppies” scene from Wizard of Oz and/or represents his own death. The 300 pound transparent angel, an obvious reference the sun and specifically Chris Newman, sees Cobain’s prone body in the poppies, and then stops, places her hands on her hips, and appears to show disapproval (3:10-3:24). That particular scene is found only in the director’s cut which was not widely released until less than a year ago (August 2013).

Polly: matching rape songs by Mudhoney, Hole, and Nirvana

I met Kurt at a club in L.A. right before Nevermind came out. We took a picture and he said, “Come on, let’s give the finger!” So we did.
– Iggy Pop, Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Artists.

(Note: Run your pointer over the boldface words for more info if your browser is equipped to display definitions or additional information in “title” attributes.)

It’s difficult to start writing about rape, and all the time it shows up in grunge lyrics, and especially, videos. And by “grunge” I am talking about a specific community of musicians who got their start in the Pacific Northwest during the 1980s.

It’s difficult in part because everyone (even me – a little bit) wants to stay in denial, but more so because the rape imagery is so pervasive. It’s pervasive enough to make me think that a literal rape occurred. And that the victim was Kurt Cobain.

If this is true, Cobain’s 1994 suicide doesn’t make everything “ok.” Even if you don’t think the dead deserve justice, there are related crimes which continue to this day, including the continuing exploitation of Chris Newman (who is not, in fact, dead), the decade-plus smear campaign against Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, and the fact that Cobain’s daughter Francis has to live, without a father, under a cloud of lies. From my perspective, the truth is vital.

I already wrote a bit about two of Hole’s songs, Burn Black and Dicknail. Maybe the next logical thing to do is to go straight to the source and write about Nirvana’s rape songs, especially since Kurt Cobain went to such lengths to finger someone.

The key to Nirvana – and Mudhoney – rape songs is the song “Sweet Young Thing” by the Monkees.


In the TV performance of the song, the Monkees perform “Sweet Young Thing,” (1966) elderly people dance around, take turns in wheelchairs, etc. In the circus mirror, (uninitiated) innocence is represented by old age.

More notable are the lyrics:

And it’s love you bring,
No that I can’t deny,
With your wings,
I can learn to fly,
Sweet young thing.

People try to talk to me
Their words are ugly sounds
But I resist all their attempts
To try and bring me down.
Turned on to the sunset
Like I’ve never done before
And I listen for your footsteps
And your knock upon the door.

21 years later, in 1987, Mudhoney wrote a song with the same title (Sweet Young Thing), though this time the hook was “sweet young thing ain’t sweet no more.” It’s a snarly, sinister-sounding song about the end of innocence, shown by the lines “mommy’s little pills spilled all over the floor” and “mama can’t handle her on her own, she said ‘you just wait ’till your father gets home.'” It might be worth noting that the word “pills” sounds like “bills” on the Superfuzz Bigmuff version of the song. (Sweet Young thing full lyrics) Indeed – when you’ve got dogs, pigs, and ducks chasing you, you know there are big bills involved. (Ask Lady Gaga.)

Another contemporary Mudhoney song (also on the Superfuzz Bigmuff EP) which seems related is “Sliding In And Out Of Grace.”

Cry for mercy, relieve my hate
Sliding in ‘n’ out of grace
Spill my seed, suck my waste
Sliding in ‘n’ out of grace

Oh God, how I love to hate
Sliding in ‘n’ out of grace
Save me Lord, and fuck the race… etc (full lyrics)

Songs performed later, mainly by Courtney Love, suggest that “Sliding In And Out of Grace” was specifically about Kurt Cobain. The word “grace” comes up in a couple of her songs which I believe are about Kurt, most notably “Northern Star,” but also “Happy Ending Story” and in some of the live performances she’s done. In fact, I believe that “Northern Star” matches Courtney’s more recently penned “Honey.” I believe that both of those songs were written not about twins, but about triplets. Three other songwriters: Kurt Cobain, Chris Newman, and Mark Arm.

Anyone who really pays attention to Courtney’s lyrics, videos, and live performances would have a hard time missing the subtext she’s been weaving in since day one. But the ringleaders work hard to re-direct your attention anywhere but where you should be looking. That is, I believe, the reason for the seemingly never-ending smear campaign against Courtney Love.

Around 1990 (same era as Hole’s songs “Dicknail” and “Burn Black”), Kurt Cobain wrote two very important songs dealing with rape and abuse. One was written from the perspective of a kidnapper and rapist experiencing what seems to be dissociated shreds of empathy, and appeared on the 1991 album Nevermind. It is called “Polly.” The other was written, sarcastically, from the perspective of a rape victim. It was called “Rape Me,” and though, like Polly, it was said to be written around 1990, it didn’t appear on an album until 1993’s In Utero. There is a third song that is connected, which I’ll just mention in passing, and it is “Negative Creep.” Negative Creep, with it’s chorus of “Daddy’s little girl ain’t a girl no more” is clearly a response to the Mudhoney song “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More.” The fact that every single rock critic has missed that most obvious point for the past quarter of a century ought to suggest that something is really fucking stinky in Denmark. And everywhere else, too.

In any case, I believe that in all of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s songs, “Daddy” is Mudhoney’s Mark Arm. (With or without a “twin.”)

The name “Polly” means “parrot,” going back to the 16th or 17th century (OED), and the classic phrase “Polly want a cracker” makes the parrot reference undeniable. The distinctive characteristics of parrots are imitation. (They also tend to be yellow and green – “sun” colors. – see lexicon) Because the “night club” reflects and imitates the sun, and because the grunge myth is tightly controlled (everyone has a script from which no one ever deviates) Cobain was forced to “parrot” the party line. “Speak at once while taking turns” is the way he described it in a later song, Radio Friendly Unit Shifter. The parrot reference is the reason I think that Polly is specifically about Kurt Cobain, written from a place of dissociation. Dissociation is what happens when you experience severe abuse. Though Polly is also a “mirror” song. I couldn’t call it a “twin” song because there are multiple images in this mirror. It’s a POLY-MIRROR. (See how Kurt does that? EVERY. WORD. MATTERS. and sometimes every letter.)

The poly subjects are all crime victims and/or perpetrators: Chris Newman (as usual); and the 14 year old girl (who’s name was not actually Polly); and Kurt Cobain. Also the perpetrator/s of the respective crimes. I believe there are 5 subjects in Polly. And by that I mean that I believe that the crimes against Kurt Cobain and Chris Newman had the same perpetrator.

I also believe that Kurt Cobain was using the news story upon which he based the song as a metaphor for something that had happened to him (very possibly an actual rape), and something that he wanted to happen: escape from an untenable situation, and ultimately, justice.

Friend had picked her up near the Tacoma Dome in his car after she had attended a rock concert. She was able to earn his trust and sympathy by convincing him she enjoyed it. She managed to escape when he stopped for gas. She got out of the vehicle and made a scene attracting attention from surrounding people. – from Wikipedia Polly_(song)

Polly was saved, I guess because the “surrounding people” had no investment in her continuing captivity and/or silence. Kurt Cobain was and Chris Newman is in a different situation.

The perpetrator of the incident that inspired the song “Polly,” Gerald Friend, was thought at the time to be the Green River killer. (Wikipedia: Gerald Arthur Friend)

Green River, of course, was name of the first band to sign with Sub Pop, fronted by Mark Arm. In 1988 Green River essentially split into two bands: Pearl Jam and Mudhoney.

In terms Kurt’s “other” rape song, Rape Me, there are lines like “my favorite inside source, I’ll kiss your open sores” (suggests someone with a hidden heroin or other syringe-drug habit), “you’ll always stink and burn” (recalls a Sylvia Plath line “turn and burn” which in turn recalls the position of the hanged man, which is the sun), and then there are some very notable lines, like “rape me – hate me – waste me – taste me.” “Hate me” reflects a line from Mudhoney’s aforementioned “Grace” song, “Oh God how I love to hate.”

If you listen carefully to the song, Rape Me, Cobain is singing “I’m not the only one,” but he’s also slurring into “I want the only one.”



Dehumanize the victim/s

last days - sleeping and stag huntI can’t believe I have to say this, but apparently I do.

When you refer to a human being with words that indicate that that person is in fact an animal (monkey, bear, lizard, cat, etc.) or a food (chicken, apple, waffle, pizza, etc.) or an extinct and/or mythical creature (dinosaur, mermaid, big foot, etc.) or other non-human things (sun, stone, plant, tree) you are dehumanizing that person.

When you dehumanize a person, you make it easier – even acceptable – to use, abuse, and exploit that person.

I am not saying that animals deserve to be exploited – because they don’t. I am simply saying that human beings should not be exploited, and certainly not in the way that I have been, and MOST certainly not the way Chris has been. In Chris’ case, this kind of behavior, over a period of more than three decades, has ruined his career and I believe, severely affected his life and health. And we are financially ruined with no hope in sight, because this blacklisting is very, very real, and because I didn’t sell Chris out, it extends to me.

chim chim vs the butterflyThe reality is that Christopher Lynn Newman a true musical genius the likes of which I have never seen before. He still writes and records (on his 4-track, because what else can we afford?) every single day. And what does he have to show for it? And perhaps more importantly… what do YOU have to show for it? (let me gue$$…)

The fact that Chris grew up in a small Washington town and didn’t read Shakespeare or get an MBA is NO EXCUSE for what you all have done, and continue to do to my family.

Another thing that I should not have to say, but apparently I do, is that when you slip someone a ROOFie, and they pass out, and you throw them into a hole and rape them repeatedly… even if they wake up the next morning with no awareness of what happened. IT IS STILL RAPE.

Kurt Cobain sang: “I’m not the only one.” Do you think he was just pulling these lyrics out of his A$$?

Am I getting through to ANY of you yet?

Stop raping, stop exploiting, and tend to the wounded

I have a friend who had a girlfriend who had worked many years in the music industry, starting out as a fan and rock groupie, and ending up at Warner Brothers.

She had this story from her groupie days that disturbed me.

The reason I want to share it is because so many things have disturbed me since I got involved with the music business. And by music business I mean: playing shows, volunteering for community stuff, and making and selling recordings. Horrible stuff goes on, and no one says anything. If you try to speak out, they hush or ignore. “Keep quiet and share the spoils!” Human beings are hurt – lives are demolished – and deep and persistent stress spurs illnesses, addictions, and suicides. Next thing you know, you’re in a repeating cycle and you hear fatalistic stuff like “cunts rule the world” as an excuse to not only ignore unethical behavior, but revel in it.

But that’s a cop out. It is possible to break any behavior cycle.

Generally speaking, it’s as easy as choosing. Choosing to have integrity. Some behavior is acceptable, and some is not. There are cultural variations but it really comes down to respect for other human beings. I mean real respect, not politeness masquerading as respect. And it doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t like the same kind of music as you, or is of a different socioeconomic status, educational level, or ethnicity. Even if cruel or unethical behavior is common, any given individual chooses whether or not to participate in it, and whether to continue participating in it. Turning a blind eye to or reaping benefits from unethical actions is a form of participation.

Let’s talk about something exploitive and criminal that happened, that got swept under the rug. My friend – let’s call her “Pam” – went to a concert to see a well-respected God of Metal perform. She partied, she drank, she did coke, she ended up with a roadie who raped her violently and stabbed her vaginally. She was messed up and didn’t fully understand, at first, what had happened to her. But she recognized that she was in pain and bleeding The roadie ran off and the Rock God threw Pam into a cab, telling the driver to take her to her hotel. Pam instead directed the cab driver to the hospital where her life was saved with blood transfusions.

No one had stayed to help her. No one took responsibility. The Rock God was most concerned with detaching himself from the scene of the crime as quickly as possible. His cowardly behavior went unnoticed.

The rapist was not held accountable. He was free to rape again.

It seems weird that a violent rape wouldn’t be worth reporting – or that a bleeding victim wouldn’t be worth attending to. But I guess that any behavior can seem normal if you are around it enough.

Some would say that I don’t “get” the music business – but I think I get it well enough. I just want some things to change.