Saturday, April 12, 2014
I have very little to offer you on the weekends, because typically the only places putting out news are the wire services and chickenshit websites like Business Insider. For example:
BI - the market is going to fall off a cliff.
BI - the market's been on borrowed time for years.
BI - the collapse of momentum stocks is ominous.
All BI ever publishes on the weekends is this stupid fucking idiotic childish doomer shit.
So fuck it, I'm not posting shit on weekends. Not reading the news either.
Wow. Who was the guy who said the internet age is an age of impermanence and the ephemeral?
Because here is the historic Dutch television debate "On human nature" between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. Here. For free. On the internet.
Um.. with captions. In English and Portuguese.
Now, I'd assume like most professors, they spend the whole hour completely talking past each other. Certainly I suspect Chomsky has no understanding of post-structuralism, so he's going to miss the points Foucault is trying to make. But if you're a fan of either, this is a fun watch.
Personally I like Chomsky just cos he's always been happy to throw down against imperialism, but I also appreciate Foucault for being a very good footnote to Nietzsche. Foucault is also notoriously much more comprehensible (and even existentialist) in interviews than he is in his books.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Bloomberg - the NSA has been using Heartbleed for two years to hack people. Why? Because fuck you, citizen.
Some more things:
BI - the selloff may be almost over, or not. Yup, the Vix front is inverted now, so that basically means people are paying a premium for spot and near-month downside protection:
Problem is, that's all it means. It can get much more inverted if OMG DOOOOOM. Things can always get worse. Still, if now is no different than 2011-2013, then yes now is the time you buy the US.
Ritholtz - people are making up reasons for the market going down, again. I guess, in a way, it's exactly like trying to explain why the supermarket's lines were short when you went in; but now that you've got your one tin of tuna and bag of Cheesy Poofs and are looking to check out, all of a sudden there's 10 people in each line. I mean, it could be Lizard People purposefully trying to hold you up at the store while their puppets at COINTELPRO copy your hard drive at home; or it could just be random noise.
Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - the low morale will continue until the beatings improve. Included for the funny article title, and for this:
On the bright side, I’m not being blamed for the biotech selloff anymore. The various 22 year-old hedge fund managers on Twitter who’ve been trading for 9 months are starting to realize that they weren’t genius investors, just guys riding a massive, all-inclusive bubble while thinking their read on clinical data was giving them an edge. Nope.
Mineweb - exploration spending at a 4-year low - IN COPPER. Good. Wake me in 10 years when the metals bull market comes back, m'kay?
Macro Exposure - Atlas Shrugged in one chart. For all you chartists out there, here is the chart to beat all charts:
BBC - doctors grow vagina in lab, install life-support system around it. I bet it will still demand all your money and make humiliating remarks to infuriate you.
Some more stuff for Friday:
Calculated Risk - consumer sentiment increases. So obviously you should puke your US stocks. Because potato.
New Deal Demoncrat - a long-term historical look at margin debt. He notes the "margin debt DOOOOM" story originated on the "Economic Collapse Blog", which he adds
also has published such gems as '12 signs that something big is happening to the earth’s crust under North and South America' a couple of weeks ago.Yup. Obviously that is a blog whose author is a significant and reliable authority on many topics.
Anyway, NDD does a good job of pointing out that when you see a chart, you should always ask what was going on before t=0. If you're not bothering to zoom out, you're missing out on important information.
FT beyond brics - China, the first global megatrader since the British Empire. The thesis being that no one country has dominated international trade to the extent of China since the golden age of Britannia. And this chart is neat:
The right side suggests that export growth is no longer contributing so much to world GDP. I guess you would expect this, if the Chinese have literally hit the wall in how much they can profit from further export growth. If "the end of the hyper-globalisation of the past two decades may be upon us", then that's it for the secular EM bull market. Buy US, buy domestic.
Macro Exposure - a theory on China. Again he puts forward the idea that China has more tools in the box to deal with a credit crisis - I guess it's because they have a closed financial system? Anyway, good blog, I might add it to my RSS.
BBC - the great 1980s Dungeons & Dragons panic. I remember this fondly, particularly because at around the same time we also had a Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in my town.
NDD - putting stock margin debt in a longer term historical context. That post will be in my next newsflash, but I want to quote the comment that he wrote below it:
For those of you who are long-term readers and remember us from our Daily Kos days, I wanted to add a note. One thing that makes my blood boil is when a person of modest means and very limited financial knowledge is panicked by a Doomer post, and asks them questions like, "I'm so scared. What should I do with my 401k? Should I cash it out?"This is why doomers are assholes.
Literally I have messages bookmarked where the Doomers were bearish on stock in June 2009. That's how bad the level of analysis has been. I recall a top ranked diary from someone called "Stranded Wind" who argued that the FDIC was about to go bankrupt in July 2008 and actually wrote
"Run, don’t walk, to your bank and get the funds you have clear of this mess before it gets any worse."
That diary got 610 comments and 345 recommends. People actually followed his advice. A full three years later he got banned after it was discovered that he apparently had a much darker side.
Well, the diaries in the last couple of weeks have given rise to some similarly panicked comments. Anything is possible, but the panic these people spread has some real world consequences among their less informed readers.
Some morning reading as you watch the market flow like blood down a slaughterhouse sluice:
Bespoke - stocks getting SLAMMED. If it was anyone else, I'd put it off as idle speculation, but the Bespoke guys have this tidbit:
Tax day next Tuesday is quickly approaching, and based on today's action, it looks like investors are selling everything they own to pay all those 2013 capital gains taxes they owe!Is that why the US market is getting puked right now?
Calculated Risk - oh god it's Marc Faber again. McBride must read my blog, cos he's a little more sarcastic than his old dispassionate self:
Today was no exception with Marc Faber on CNBC:Multiple takeaways from this. #1, did you know the story of Chicken Little supposedly goes back 25 centuries? #2, don't read my blog if you want to continue being a respectful person, because I'm a bad influence on everyone.
"This year, for sure—maybe from a higher diving board—the S&P will drop 20 percent," Faber said, adding: "I think, rather, 30 percent"
And Faber from August 8, 2013:
Faber expect to see stocks end the year "maybe 20 percent [lower], maybe more!"
And from October 24, 2012:
"I believe globally we are faced with slowing economies and disappointing corporate profits, and I will not be surprised to see the Dow Jones, the S&P, the major indices, down from the recent highs by say, 20 percent," Faber said...
Since the market is up 30% since his 2012 prediction, shouldn't he be expecting a 50% decline now?
Raw Story - oh god it's the Holy Father again. The newest RC policy statement puts him right up there with Ho Chi Minh. Get this:
“As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” the pope said in the 224-page document that essentially serves as his official platform.Ouch! In fact, here is a video of Pope Francis commenting and expanding on Evangelii Gadium:
Pope Francis said that inequality was the root of social ills, and prayed for world leaders with more empathy and sense of social justice.
“I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!” Pope Francis wrote. “It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”
In fact, let's just quote the whole rest of it:
“I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth,” the pope wrote.Well! To summarize,
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” Pope Francis wrote. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
“We have created new idols,” the pope wrote. “The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”
The pope decried the growing gap between rich and poor as a social and political problem.
“This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation,” Pope Francis wrote. “Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”
“The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits,” Pope Francis wrote. “In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”
Pope Francis said this political and economic system was inherently sinful because it violated the biblical prohibition against killing.
“Such an economy kills,” he wrote. “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”
1. capitalists have no dignity to their lives;
2. capitalists are in thrall to selfishness (which essentially means they are possessed by evil);
3. those wielding power should not be trusted to work for the benefit of others;
4. they are worshipping false gods, thus btw breaking a commandment;
5. capitalism is a new tyranny;
6. they are also sinners because they kill people;
7. and that's the bottom line cos Stone Cold said so!
All I have to say is, if 1.2 billion Roman Catholics actually bothered to take their marching orders from this Pope, then the world would be a much better place, no?
Both are -3SD today with RSI <35.
Frankly this is starting to get a little fucking silly. What, the ten-year at 2.6% destroys their business model of making money hand over fist on every single transaction?
And we don't expect yields to go up any time soon?
Holy shit, another surprise that I could find this video. All hail Server! Here's Bleach:
And yes, you really can get that guitar sound from one single guitar track. I was able to do something similar with a Washburn SX-12R backstage amp, overdrive to 10 and coil reverb to 10, then out thru something that compresses fat like a good 4-track deck. It helps to use humbuckers, with both turned on and mixed together, with the bridge pickup set to high tone and the fretboard pickup toned lower.
Y'know, I think my guitar might have had the pickups wired opposite each other? That would make the mix of the two sound a lot better. Or is that just how you would normally wire them?
Anyway, this guy probably had more gear than the above - I think someone told me he used something called an "expander" back then. Dunno what that was. And I'm pretty sure there's 2 guitar tracks on this song.
And yes, I'm the only person in the world who's looked up Salli Carson to see what she's up to nowadays. Total fanboi.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Bespoke - bullish sentiment lowest since February. Here's a chart to remind you what the market was doing in February:
So unless the market is planning to change its behaviour from what it's been before, this sentiment figure suggests it's a great time to buy. No?
Bespoke - jobless claims at lowest level in seven years. And the jobs recovery is complete.
Bloomberg - Wall Street expects a rate cut and QE from Draghi. The ECB should ensure that its unconventional policy actually benefits the peripheral ECZ, and doesn't simply blow an asset bubble in Germany. Unfortunately I don't think Draghi's enough of a nasty bastard to do the right thing.
IKN - Goldcorp should win with this one. I guess the demonstrated existence of a bidding war (or at least a bidding somewhat-emotional-exchange-of-words) for OSK should be bullish for juniors, no?
Mineweb - gold to da moon says Jay Taylor. The intro is such:
The Gold Report: Janet Yellen's about-face on quantitative easing (QE) makes two panicked pullbacks so far by the Federal Reserve from the end of QE. Is it fair to say we now have QE forever?My response, you ask?
Jay Taylor: I don't know about forever because nothing lasts forever. Your premise is largely correct, however, because the discontinuation of quantitative easing would be so painful it's a pretty good assumption that it will continue for a long time to come.
It will probably end only when the system breaks down, which is inevitable because it is becoming increasingly insolvent.
I'll go back to reading Gold Report interviews when they begin talking to people who have at least a slight, tenuous grasp on reality.
Here's two charts:
Gold is back above the Bollinger mean, EMA(16), and SMA(50), with MACD looking encouraging. What are the chances it stays above?
GDX is likewise above the Bollinger mean, EMA(16), and SMA(50), with MACD looking encouraging.
I saw some post somewhere saying the Fibonacci thingie is important here. So maybe that has something to say. I dunno.
But I'm not particularly excited with the small amount of volume in these charts this time, compared to the larger volume that it took to get this high before. Also silver and GDXJ aren't looking as positive.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - 361 Capital weekly research briefing. Read it all. Good summary of where the markets stand, as usual.
Calculated Risk - on stay-at-home dads. Bill McBride again on demographic changes and their effect on labour force participation. God, I just love it when someone actually looks under the hood to see what numbers really mean! And digs up sociological research too? My god, even better!
Bespoke - would you buy these charts? I guess this exercise legitimately illustrates that the market momos should be shorting the US right now. But the problem is that the US market charts are supposed to continue going u, if we're in a secular expansion; so all a short would be doing is playing a short-term correction in a longer trend.And we know how well that works out for the hedge fund capital pool.
Bonddad - some charts re Japan. I guess the takeaway is "the recovery will have to be slow because they're digging out of an extreme negative situation". Thus, the capital that pumped up the Nikkei on the Abe win has no clue about timing.
FT beyond brics - top 10 risks for EM investors. My own ignorant opinion?
2. Yeah maybe, but I don't expect contagion or anything. The Chinese government isn't stupid like the US government is.
3. The success of the 30% rollover this year is something interesting to think about. Risk is probably grossly overpriced and we might be at a tipping point. Then again, as above, the Chinese government knows this.
4. Disappointment? What about success? India and Indonesia are grossly overbought for what they are, and only because of election betting. A Modi win could see the market puke 20%. Capital has no clue about the proper timing of things.
5. Dafuq? Who cares about sub-Saharan Africa?
6. Yes, Russia's economy is fucked.
7. Venezuela and Argentina? Seriously? Again, who the fuck cares?
8. Yes. That's the elephant that everyone is ignoring.
9. If Mexico is simply a branch plant of the US, you shouldn't be worried about Mexico.
10. Yes, that's probably a secular thing that you'll have to deal with over the next decade as EMs have to pull out all the stops to keep their economies alive.
Mining.com - matchmaking miners with China's $7T in savings. The exciting bit for me was the "China has $7 trillion in savings". That means a lot for a country. However, Cecilia, you might want to consider how much of that money actually exists, and how much could vanish if there is a radical risk repricing in shadow finance.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Here's Billy Corgan, from Smashing Pumpkins, on Alex Jones.
Here's EEM weekly:
After about $42.50 people are going to start to say it's bust through a long-term downward trendline. After about $43 it will even be printing higher highs.
That'll basically mean that it no longer (necessarily) sucks to buy EMs.
Volume is increasing and impressive on this weekly chart, but RSI(14) is over 70 on the daily. So whatever thing of significance the EMs are going to do, it looks like they're going to do it soon.
Things are complicated by the individual countries:
Brazil is 11% of EEM, and it's been taking off like crazy for a month now for some crazy reason. Looks grossly overheated though, but it could stay that way. Anyone out there who can tell me why people are buying Brazil again? This a World Cup thing or something?
China is 18% of EEM, and it's broken above its SMA(50) on news that it's not actually collapsing right now KTHXBYE.
India is only 6.5% of EEM, so it doesn't really matter to EEM whether the Nifty 50 is getting grossly overbought on unrealistic expectations of the speed at which a possible Modi government could enact reforms and repair the Indian economy.
Monday, April 7, 2014
What do all these bands have in common?
(videos after the break)
Vix seems to have popped a bit...
Wait no OMG Vix is skyrocketing!!!1!
NDX-100 Vix is historically supposed have a higher spread than the broad Vix, and after years of it not being so it's finally gotten back to there. I guess if you'd been watching this for the past two months you'd have already seen this and realized that the tide is changing away from tech stocks, no?
So this is apparently just another artifact of the Great Rotation, as people figure out what next to buy now that the tech stocks are fully valued.
Josh Brown has noted banks still have a low P/E relative to the market, and are ripe for an upward correction... which funny 'nuff is what we saw in the mid-90s. Sounds good to me, Josh.
Though I guess if you're the type of person who "can't see why anyone would be an investor in these markets", you won't be putting your money into a banking ETF and walking away for the rest of the year.
Some China charts:
The China 25 got bid up on sector rotation or whatever; now they seem to have stalled.
Which way do they go next? Can we find any clues?
Well, China all-cap looks like it's rolling over. And that's bad.
And holy crap, China Tech has taken a big nosedive since early March. This is a H&S with heavy right-side volume, targeting $28. Jim O'Neill, I am ashamed of you.
So if China is an EM, why are people selling it? Aren't people supposed to be buying the EMs right now?
R2K is getting slaughtered, >2SD down. Notable the R1K chart looks a lot better than this.
QQQ is getting slaughtered, >2SD down on massive volume after a massive volume day on Friday. This is certainly a roll-over, though you have to wonder how much of the out-under-performance is biotech and earningsless momo barfage?
Even Transports are starting to nosedive now, though they still look a lot better than Q and R2K.
I guess the market has decided to manufacture another 10% correction for old times' sake. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all.
PS to NDD: there are 5 Os in "DOOOOOM". Not four.
Here's some stuff to read:
New Deal Democrat - weekly economic indicators. The spring rebound continues. Just buy the frickin' S&P and quit whining.
Bespoke - bears wide awake. Because the US economy is doing horrible, like NDD says in the article abov... oh, wait....
Calculated Risk - labour force participation rate update. Bill McBride is utterly fixated on hammering home the idea that demographic trends are important to understanding labour data in the US.
Bespoke - companies with no earnings are faring the worst. Companies that are actually making money weren't doing so bad last month. It's almost as if, once the doubters and doomers realized we were in a new secular bull, they just started trading the same stocks they were trading 15 years ago during the end of the last secular bull.
Reformed Borker (Bork Bork Bork!) - but it's a good company. An important point for the supposed "fundamental" investor:
What [Howard Marks'] career experience so far had told him was that with its Nifty 50 policy, Citibank had invested in “the best companies in America and lost a lot of money.” Then it invested in “the worst companies in America and made a lot of money,” Marks noted, adding that “it shouldn’t take you too long to figure out that success in investing is not a function of what you buy. It’s a function of what you pay.” An asset of high quality, Marks pointed out, can be overpriced and be a bad investment; an asset of low quality can be bought cheaply and be a good investment.Ritholtz - structure overhang and capex spending. This might be another factor in whether Rosie's capex call turns out right or not; the US will have to eat through a big inventory first. Rosie might, yet again, be falling for the fallacy that "this time is like the last time", when in fact it might be grossly different. Very long academic article, very worth reading.
FT beyond brics - EM fund flows. People (and funds) are pouring money back into EM ETFs, but it's only a bull correction in a secular bear:
“Is EM a good idea? As a trade, right now, it probably is.” So said Bob Baur, chief economist at Principal Global Investors, on a visit to beyondbrics this week. “But the long-term trend for EM is still structural headwinds, excess capacity and squeezed profits.”Reuters - Modi advisers dream of a Thatcherite revolution. Oh swell. Hey, India has a lot to fix; but union-busting and a regressive poll tax isn't what India needs.
In other words, EM assets are enjoying a correction.
Mineweb - Indian banks promoting gold-backed loans. This is very bad for gold; Indian farmers hold a big share of the world's gold, and you don't want that puked into the market every time there's a drought. Or even puked on the market as it's collected, to be replaced by IOUs backing loans. Which is what will happen, because what bank will take gold collateral on a loan and then hold it escrowed in a safe when they can sell the gold, leverage the cash, and earn a profit on the cash til the gold needs to be replaced, the way banks normally do things?
ESPN - Raiderette cheerleader sues for pay. Apparently, NFL cheerleaders aren't actually paid anything. That violates California labour law. Pretty open-and-shut case, no? Either labour law counts or it doesn't.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
So, Kurt Cobain killed himself 20 years ago, and I may as well become part of the wall of noise on the topic.
I've been doing a lot of historical reading these past few days, trying to piece together if he actually changed between Bleach and Nevermind; was he a nice guy who just turned into a fucking self-absorbed loser drug addict, or was he always a loser?
He probably did suffer from depression. The stomach problem probably made it worse; I had a nasty stomach problem for almost 20 years (literally so bad I'd get floored from the pain), and it does wear you the fuck down. But all sorts of depressed people don't kill themselves.
He was also apparently a problem child who liked getting into trouble. So his self-narrative was all fucked up from an early age. If you hate everybody all the time you're not going to turn out well. Acting out is not a sign of being cool and punk.
But was he already a goner in 1990, or could he have changed and stayed alive?
Supposedly he wasn't a complete heroin addict til about 1990 or 1991. Did Courtney contribute to that? Pfft, I dunno, everyone was doing heroin back then: Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, all the rock stars were so fucking cool cos they were doing the hard drugs. Alan McGee was a total cokehead and I wouldn't be surprised if drugs were behind Rough Trade's collapse too.
In fact, I've learned not to blame Nirvana for the death of good indie music; the fucking druggie parasites who ran the indie scene were the ones who killed it. Did K Records ever go bankrupt? No? I assume that's because Calvin Johnson wasn't a fucking smackhead.
Anyway, apparently Kurt was already into dextromethorphan before he meet Courtney, so he was already fucked up by drugs. Some people can apparently handle drugs, but I doubt they were having a positive effect on him.
I don't think Courtney was a healthy partner for him. The things I've read suggest to me that the guy always wanted a strong female figure (Tobi Vail for god's sake) to tell him what to do; put someone like Courtney in that position and it's fucking dangerous for the guy.
Here's a pic of where they were living in 1992:
That's basically one step removed from a fucking crack den. There's leaving a mess when you move out, and then there's this. If Kurt was crippled by depression then I can see him living in a fucking pig-sty like some helpless welfare case; but if he's got someone with him, why does the place still go to shit?
Like I said above, I hung out in the deadhead scene. These were guys who would wake up at 4PM, do some jamming and get stoned, then go down to the bar and nurse a beer all night listening to bands, come home at 1AM and watch late-night TV til 6AM. Some people could handle this and had nice apartments; others lived in fucking pig-sties. My drummer's girlfriend never let their place go to shit; she was a responsible adult. But some people were just fucking kids who never saw the mess around them.
Anyway, apparently by 1992 Kurt was already being a total asshole to the band, forcing them to take a smaller cut of royalties. How punk is that, eh? So don't tell me he ever gave a shit about punk. The band was nearly broken up when he killed himself.
I've read a lot about Cobain hating homophobic and racist cock-rockers who appropriated Nirvana into their wardrobe. Funny thing is, Nirvana was metal. They were part of a metal scene (come on, Mudhoney? Tad? Melvins? either that's metal or you're deaf), and Nirvana's early music was also quite metal.
If he gave a shit about politics, why didn't he instead go into the K Records scene? You wouldn't find racists or homophobes at a Beat Happening concert. And hey, as it turns out, the K scene ended up maintaining a hell of a lot more DIY and punk integrity than the grunge scene.
So anyway, why did he kill himself?
Because he hated success? Oh bullshit. #1, don't believe the shit you read him saying in any interview after 1991; he's lying most of the time, just to be a dick. It seems he directly contradicts documented truth several times, usually to make himself look like a poor little victim. And journos from that period like Everett True were so in love with the stupid infantile druggie bullshit that their articles were nothing but fawning fucking blowjobs to begin with.
#2, what the fuck did he want? To make records for 20,000 people and live in a crack den? If he had wanted to do that he could have just kept the royalty split even. He certainly wanted the fucking money.
I really think he was just fucked up in the head, and the only question is how he got there. Probably the drugs contributed, probably Courtney contributed, but the question is whether he was a salvageable human being before the spiral went out of control.
Depression doesn't wreck you on its own; Stephen Fry turned out pretty good after he (apparently) got things under control. Hey, Fry also had problems with alcohol and cocaine; did his life spiral out of control ending with a shotgun blast to the head?
Maybe Fry just had better friends taking care of him than Kurt Cobain did?
So maybe it's not a case of blah blah depression or blah blah drugs or blah blah Courtney Love. Maybe he was in a completely dysfunctional crowd, and instead of giving him the support he needed to straighten out, they just let him spiral the fuck down? Maybe that was the deciding factor?
Then again, that still begs the question of whether or not he was a messed-up kid in 1990 who just turned into a drugged-out self-absorbed asshole later.
Anyway, here's a documentary about him if you're into that sort of thing. Seems to be one big interview with Kurt, probably in 1993; he was already in thick with Courtney and heroin, and so I'd take everything he says with a grain of salt.