July 24, 2008

You Ever Wonder What Happened To Someone?

Of course you have. Former lovers. Old friends from school. Maybe even enemies from the past.

But you probably haven't wondered what happened to that baby who was photographed on the cover of Nirvana's breakthrough album Nevermind -- you know, the naked boy chasing a dollar bill on a fish hook?

Well, that's why there's an NPR, so someone can get paid upwards of $22,000 a year to think about such things and follow up on them for your idle "news" amusement. Yesterday when I heard the story on the radio, I laughed out loud at the money quote: "Quite a few people in the world have seen my penis, so that's kind of cool."

RTFA and learn how much money Spencer Elden's dad got paid to throw his son in a pool near the Rose Bowl, for the photograph with no idea that the resulting picture would become so ubiquitous. (The family got sent a platinum album later, so that makes up for it a little bit.)

I won't call it "news." But I will call it interesting -- especially because this by-all-accounts typical Los Angeles teenager has "virtual memory" of the Nineties as a more innocent, worthwhile, and honest time. I say "virtual memory" because of course he has no conscious memories of that time, any more than I have memories of the Kennedy assassination or the moon landing. My "memories" of those events are gleaned from the media and popular culture and talking with people older than me about the events of those days. So too does Spencer Elden not have any real personal memories of the 1990's, just what he's been able to learn secondhand about them.

No comments: