3 thoughts on “How Pearl Jam Handled ‘Jeremy’ Poorly

  1. The supposedly nonfiction diary “Jay’s Journal” about a teen’s descent into Satanism and suicide was author Beatrice Sparks taking the diary of a kid who’d committed suicide, adding in Satanism (it was the early 1970s — Satanism sold) but leaving enough details people in the area could figure out who the kid was (all this according to the book “Unmask Alice”).

  2. I’ve done quite a bit of research into the background of this song, and I don’t think Eddie Vedder fictionalized anything. I think he got interested in Jeremy after he read the article about his death and then lifted the details of Jeremy’s life directly from the police report on his suicide.

    According to the police report, Jeremy told people that he felt like his father, who he lived with at the time, didn’t care about him, and one of Jeremy’s friends called his mother because she was concerned about the boy’s mental health, but she got the impression that the mom wasn’t interested. One of the officers himself also said Jeremy’s father seemed unaffected by his son’s death.

    On the other hand, the police report also said that Jeremy’s father participated in family counseling with him, had spent the evening prior to his death watching a movie with him, and had contact with him twice on the morning of his death to make sure he got to school. That doesn’t exactly sound like an uninvolved dad. The police report also said Jeremy’s mother was crying and very upset when she was informed of her son’s suicide.

    The truth is it can be very hard to judge people’s real feelings from limited interactions with them, and today we know that there is no single “right” way to react to trauma and grief. Also, Jeremy was a troubled teen, and he may not have had an accurate or stable view of his parents when he made remarks about them to other people. Apparently, he had a tendency to play fast and loose with the truth anyway. So, it’s debatable how much we can really know about Jeremy’s parents and their relationship with him from a police report.

    Ultimately, even though Vedder probably did his research before he wrote the song, it’s questionable whether he should have publicly identified his inspiration in the way he did. He could easily have left Jeremy’s real name out of it, which would have protected the privacy of a minor child, who deserved dignity in his untimely death, and his family, who deserved to grieve their loved one’s memory in peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *