Now, one could make a convincing argument that like Plath, Courtney Love isn't a role model worth following, but in the early nineties, it seemed that the world might be ready to embrace a loud, smart, cranky, bitchy, flawed, contradictory, kickass feminist. Those were heady times! I loved (and still love) the riot grrrls with all my heart, but be honest: isn't Kathleen Hanna a little too perfect? She's the punk Anne Welles, while Courtney is Neely O'Hara, who, despite her many flaws, always says what she thinks and is the Doll you root for in the end. In the '90s, I finally learned to appreciate honesty over perfection. It doesn't make you popular--hell, it might not make you happy! But it's better than the alternative, to "fake it so real [you are] beyond fake," as Courtney warned. I remain flawed, but I'm no longer a liar, to myself or to anyone else.
I'm very excited that years of following Courtney's career have led to my first piece for what is probably the smartest magazine in the country, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. In "Nobody's Mother: Abandonment as Art in the Courtney Love Family Tree," I look at memoirs written by Courtney's mother, Linda Carroll, and grandmother, Paula Fox, to trace four generations of women who've been either unable or unwilling to care for their firstborns, all daughters. The article is not available online, so please support feminist media and yours truly by picking up the REVERB themed issue at your favorite local indie bookstore (True Colors here in south Minneapolis) or, failing that, your big box Barnes & Noble near Ms., Curve, and Bust. Your best bet? Getting a subscription for only $25. This feminist truth-teller thanks you.
Postscript: I've just learned that there are THREE different covers for the issue, featuring red, blue & black vinyl records. I got the black one in the mail, so I'm off to True Colors for the other two. My granddaughters, of the '30s, '40s, '50s and beyond, need to have them all!