I remember being 19. I was a newly minted freshman in college far, far away from home. My mother, who had not so secretly expressed her desire that I go to a school several thousand miles closer to home, and I fought a lot. We fought over the phone, and we fought in person when my parents came to campus for visitor’s weekend. Mothers and teenage daughters have been fighting for generations. But the strange and estranged relationship between perennial tabloid fodder Courtney Love and Frances Bean Cobain, the 19-year daughter of Ms. Love and the late Kurt Cobain, has set new standards in the absurdity department.
Ms. Cobain lives with her maternal grandmother after filing a restraining order against Love in 2009, an indication of the already strained relationship between the Hole grunge rocker queen and her only child. But the familial squabbling reached a new level of public low when Love took to Twitter to accuse Foo Fighters front man David Grohl, 43, of trying to seduce Ms. Cobain, the daughter of his former best friend and band mate, Mr. Cobain. The string of tweets from Love’s private account was then captured by gossip site Gawker.
While Mr. Grohl, who has two daughters and a wife of nine years, has yet to comment on the Twitter fracas, Ms. Cobain was furious, telling Lifeline Live, “'While I'm generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn.” She added that she thought Twitter should ban her mother. In return, an apologetic Love retuned to the Internet to offer an apology tweet to her apoplectic offspring, which read, according to Entertainment Weekly, “Bean, sorry I believed the gossip... Mommy loves you.”
My mother is not a rocker, although she does play a mean Irish fiddle, and has absolutely no interest in a personal Twitter account. But I can certainly sympathize with the frustrations of Ms. Cobain. And as I grew older, and up, I came to realize that our fights – over how to dress, and where to go to church, and how often to call home – were trivial in light of how much she loved me, and I her. The anger and resentment that tainted our relationship in those first years after I first left home dissipated with time, but more importantly, because we kept the lines of communication open. We certainly did not air accusations of a highly personal and controversial nature in a public forum. We did not engage in debates via bullhorn on the campus quad, for example.
Courtney Love is a mother struggling with many inner demons, this has been clear for some time. She does seem to love her daughter, but reaching out via Twitter is not the right way to start a conversation. I can’t really think of a more counterproductive, or inappropriate way, actually. For a family touched by tremendous fame and tremendous tragedy, and one that has lived so long in the spotlight, the path to reconciliation will not be found in 140 characters or less.