Quote of the Day II: “Applies lipstick in the vicinity of her mouth”

Courtney in her “kinderwhore” phase

After a day of rather gloomy posts, an uplifting quote of the day might dilute the fug a little.

Jenna Sauers of Jezebel explains, and very well too, “Why Courtney Love Matters.”

Courtney Love has been the subject of vicious takedowns and spirited defenses for over twenty years. The vastly different interpretations served up, I would suggest, say more about the journalists who write them and the audiences who consume them than they do about Love herself. For Love presents a conundrum: even at her most drug-addled, she’s as cheerful and self-secure as she is self-destructive. We truly don’t have enough women capable of or willing to play the bad girl with a smile — and without a trace of victimhood.

So even though she is a bad singer (the point of Courtney Love is kind of that she’s a bad singer, just like it’s kind of the point of Dylan) and (probably) a bad mother, and even though her Twitter was like a harrowing download from her Id, and even though I do not really understand what she was doing wandering a hotel naked with Anselm Kiefer and I do not believe that “a combination of Zoloft and a cocktail” really explains it, I love Courtney Love. Because she’s not a role model — and, even more, because she has never aspired to be. Because she’s not passive. Because she’s a woman who takes issue with the view that she ought to be defined by who she used to fuck in the early 90s and who she gave birth to as a result. Because she auditioned for the bloody Mickey Mouse Club at age 12 by reciting Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy.” Because she is subjected (and subjects herself) to industrial-strength moral and legal scrutiny at every turn and still gets up in the afternoon, applies lipstick in the vicinity of her mouth, and faces the world. Are these achievements too small to cheer? In a world that still orders up sacrificial pop virgins — Britney, Lindsay, Demi — to swallow down whole, I’d argue they’re anything but.

After the jump, a video from Courtney’s heyday, “Celebrity Skin.”  She’s always been a consistently smart lyricist — that talent has never failed her — and the lyrics here are typically ingratiating and sardonic: “Oh make me over, I’m all I wanna be / A walking study in demonology.”


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