Will somebody please guide Kerry Lengel back to the real world?

While hundreds of University of Arizona students and faculty are attempting to deal with the prospect of their programs being gutted, Mr. Lengel devotes a long (April 12) opinion piece telling people not to waste their time mourning (a term he confuses with something he calls "immortalizing") for Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain, a suicide at the age of 27.

"Opinion" is a mighty shield in a newspaper. From behind it Mr. Lengel strays into an area germane to the arts editor and launches into his sloppy attack on the memory of a man he obviously never liked. Not bothering to loiter on any sort of intellectual plane, his anti-obituary shoots straight for the gut, desecrating the memory of someone who, believe it or not Mr. Lengel, connected on a very personal level with millions of fans.

"Opinion" also gives Mr. Lengel license to assert, with no supporting comments, that Mr. Cobain does not deserve to be "immortalized" and that Nirvana was never innovative. I personally know dozens of people who would like to debate him on these points, but then few would want to be drawn into this mire of insults he has chosen to wallow in.

I look forward to reading Mr. Lengel's column the next time a famous entertainer dies. Suddenly I need him to tell me how much grief I should feel. Perhaps Mr. Lengel hopes I will share his view and see the "poetry" in the murder of his hero, John Lennon.

Death is never something to be taken lightly and certainly the subject of a disturbing suicide does not belong on an editorial page. All of the important discussions pertaining to Mr. Cobain's death will take place in small, private gatherings of people who cared about him. If in fact he is "Kurt who?" 10 years from now, wouldn't then be the time to write about it?

Not in his wildest dreams could Mr. Lengel change the way people choose their heroes. It is nobody's job to do this. Clearly Mr. Lengel needs to be led back to reality, and the real issues affecting this campus, if he can't see them for himself.

Karen Lane

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