Today at school, the term “Grunge” came up in a text my 9th graders were reading. The girl who was reading at the time stumbled over the word and mispronounced it, which isn’t exactly uncommon. I had another student from that class pronounce “Tudor” as “Toad” last week.
I corrected the student’s pronunciation, but she just looked at me with a blank look that suggested she had never heard the word before. “Okay, so who can explain to S. what Grunge is?”, I asked.
Lots of blank looks all around, which really made me feel old. But then, those kids were born two years after Kurt Cobain died.
So I took it upon me to explain what Grunge was. “Okay, so Grunge was a music genre and also a fashion style that was popular about twenty years ago…” Since the mention in the text referred to Grunge wear, I explain what Grunge wear looked like. And while I was talking, I chanced to take a closer look at the girl who had mangled the word earlier. She was wearing a flannel shirt (now suddenly very fashionable again) and jeans and boots and had her hair dyed black and I thought, “Crap, she’s basically wearing Neo-Grunge wear and doesn’t even know it.”