Monday, June 27, 2016

The Aftermath of "Soaked in Bleach" - Part II

by Frank E.

The Ben Statler helmed docu-drama Soaked in Bleach presents the events surrounding Kurt Cobain’s missing days before and after he was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The film relies heavily on information provided by Tom Grant, the California based Private Investigator who was hired by Cobain’s wife Courtney Love to locate her husband who had walked out of an LA drug rehabilitation facility days earlier. 
The case has turned many into amateur detectives with the film adding fuel to the murder theory. However, information presented in the film may not be as it seems. Along with the heavily debunked claim that Cobain was injected with a 3x lethal dose of heroin it’s apparent that some of the experts interviewed for Soaked in Bleach may not be happy with how their opinion was used to influence the murder narrative. 
Screenshot from "Soaked in Bleach"
Carole Chaski is a renowned forensic linguist and Executive Director of the Institute for Linguistic Evidence, a non-profit research organization devoted to research and development in linguistic evidence. She was asked to analyse Cobain’s suicide note. Viewers watched her describe the ‘linguistically interesting’ aspects of the final lines of the note and how they appeared to be from a ‘stereotypical suicide note’ in comparison to the rest of the note. What the creators of Soaked in Bleach failed to mention however was that Chaski agreed with the official suicide verdict. When asked her opinion on the film and her involvement in it she stated,
What I did say is that the note had typical variation of real suicide notes with the top half being one kind of suicide note and the bottom one being another  (more stereotypically-conceived) kind, both real suicide notes. My results do not support the conspiracy theory that Courtney Love authored the bottom portion to make it look like a suicide note”
Screenshot from "Soaked in Bleach"
Another expert interviewed for the film was Heidi Harralson, a Forensic Document Examiner. Her interview is played out while animation of letters from the practice sheet appear to be placed perfectly over the letters at the bottom of the suicide note. Harralson watched a small part of Soaked in Bleach and stated Because I haven't seen the entire film, I can't critically evaluate it other than to say that I think what I said was mischaracterized through editing and taken out of context”
Watching the film it is clear to see that neither experts are actually on film agreeing with the suicide verdict or the murder verdict but it is implied that they question the authenticity of the Cobain suicide note. The animation featured during the interviews appears to manipualte the viewers. Having these experts featured in the film does add validity to the claims of the film but not providing the viewers a full picture of the experts claims makes their decision making somewhat cloudy. One fears that Statler's intention for viewers is to watch the film without questioning the information provided. Unfortunately, when researched the claims made by Grant and Statler, those seem empty and without merit.