From The New York Times:
WHEN did grunge become grunge? How did a five-letter word meaning dirt, filth, trash become synonymous with a musical genre, a fashion statement, a pop phenomenon?
From subculture to mass culture, the trend time line gets shorter and faster all the time. It was just over a year ago that MTV began barraging its viewers with the sounds of Seattle “grunge rock,” featuring the angst anthems and grinding guitars of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. By last summer, the glossy magazines began tracking grunge looks, the threadbare flannel shirts, knobby wool sweaters and cracked leatherette coats of the Pacific Northwest’s thrift-shop esthetic. Hollywood weighed in, too, with a grunge-scene movie, “Singles.” Then two weeks ago — all in the blink of a flashbulb — the fashion designer Marc Jacobs, who has never even been to Seattle, was hailed as “the guru of grunge.”
All this has happened before, with the mass-marketing of disco, punk and hip-hop. Now, with the grunging of America, it’s happening again. Pop will eat itself, the axiom goes. Here’s how it feeds:
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