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Friday, November 18, 2011

Is Courtney Love Mentally Ill?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM


In case you missed it, last Saturday, while performing at Brazil's SWU festival, Courtney Love had a minor meltdown after an audience member repeatedly held up a photo of Kurt Cobain. "I don't need to see a picture of Kurt, asshole!" she yelled. "And I'm going to have you

fucking removed if you keep holding that up. I'm not Kurt, I have to

live with his shit and his ghost and his kid every day and throwing that

up is stupid and rude and I'm going to beat the fuck out of you if you

do it again."

On first seeing this, we thought, "You go, Courtney!" Just as Yoko Ono will always be remembered under the specter of breaking up the Beatles, Courtney will never get out from under the shadow of her deceased husband. It must be a heart-breaking, ultra-stressful, and, on some level, insulting thing to be faced with every day. 

But then, just as we're with her, she goes and does what she always does: veers right and heads straight on into crazy town. "You didn't get kicked out of a band by him like Dave did," Courtney yells at the audience member. "Go see the fuckin' Foo Fighters and do that shit." After that, it's all downhill. Observe:

Leaving the stage to make a point is one thing, but why on earth keep dragging Dave Grohl into this stuff? She is quite literally obsessed with him -- we know that from the sheer number of times she feels the need to bring him up and talk shit in interviews. It's something she's been doing for years. She clearly feels genuinely cheated by the Foos frontman and yet she never utters a word about Krist Novoselic, who also profits from the Nirvana back catalog. It is obsessive and a little disturbing.

Further, getting an entire audience to chant "The Foo Fighters are gay" is not only entirely out of left-field and bizarre, but also completely childish and not a little offensive. We understand that people who use the term "gay" negatively frequently don't literally mean homosexual, but using the term in this context, to such a large audience, is both irresponsible and offensive. Could she not have used "shit" or something instead? Language issues aside, the whole incident is an embarrassment. Is she really upset with Dave Grohl over financial issues? Or is she jealous that his band is bigger than hers? Why else get thousands of people to chant negative stuff about Grohl's entire band and not just him?

But let's take a step back and take a look -- a really, really close look -- at Courtney Love here. She is emaciated, seemingly intoxicated, and quite literally screaming for attention. She does not look well. These images of her -- breast implants barely contained, arms barely there, clinging to the limelight and the tiara she's been wearing since 1990 -- are incredibly sad once you get past all of the annoying acting out she's doing.

Love has been lost and alone for a long time -- titling her 2010 album Nobody's Daughter is no accident -- and has had to contend with two decades of hatred from a large portion of the public. Who could withstand that without going a little cuckoo? Certainly not someone who started out a little unstable in the first place.

When Vanity Fair interviewed her earlier this year, the grunge queen was trying to get along with English gentry and trying to find her place in a different community -- one as far away from her own as possible. She was also obsessed with "the fraud" -- Love's assertion that she and her daughter have been ripped off when it comes to Nirvana royalties and that this was going on even when Kurt was alive.

It's been standard practice for the world to refer to Love as a crazy bitch since her fame first blossomed. It's something she hasn't discouraged either -- her erratic and sometimes violent behavior has been evident from the mid-'90s (remember when she punched Kathleen Hanna in the face at Lollapalooza? That was all the way back in 1995) and she's never shied away from controversy.


But has anyone ever really considered the fact that Courtney might be really, truly mentally ill? That she might have post-traumatic stress disorder? That maybe all that paranoia requires some medical help? That maybe she has anger management and depression and persecution issues? It's easy to dismiss these very real problems she's suffering through as something somehow "deserved" or "self-inflicted," but maybe Courtney's critics need to take a step back and acknowledge that maybe her behavior is a medical problem and not merely a personality-based one.

Yes, Love is annoying. Yes, she's a brat. But she's also fiercely intelligent as well as musically talented (she needs more focus these days, sure, but Live Through This remains a classic -- and even when that came out, far too many people suggested she didn't write it herself). If it's socially unacceptable to subject mentally ill people to ridicule and abuse in our everyday lives, maybe the world needs to lay off Courtney for a while, on the grounds that she is probably one of them. Maybe if she didn't feel she was always fighting the world, she could get some help.


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