The life and tragic death of "Jeremy" from the classic Pearl Jam video

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Wow, that turned out to be a lot more interesting than I expected… and I’m really bummed out now.


How I hate the abuse of the word “tragic.” A grown man drowned. That’s not tragic - not even if he’s twelve in your imagination.

King Lear is tragic.


This song was trying to do a noble thing, but to me it ended up celebrating something that was just sad. The song plays it like this was some kind of hard-won triumph of the kid to “show them all”, when it was really tragedy.

Artists don’t think things through their art sometimes, and it’s not like they always should. But I think this piece would have benefited from more thinking.

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I don’t know why I am so easy to make cry about a few things in this world.

  1. large animals suffering.

  2. young humans suffering.

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As an aside, there are things that have bothered me about the song “Jeremy” … in particular, Mr. Vedder recalls “picking on the boy” and considered him a “little fuck”. I am just wondering if this continual bullying and abuse doled out by Mr. Vedder and his bully friends had in any way propelled Jeremy to that fateful day when he decided to “speak in class.”

I assume you’re joking, right?


Yes and no. Chronically bullied kid experiences depression and paranoia and later shoots himself in front of the class.

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Kind of hard to tell if this is a troll post or not…
But, benefit of a doubt that you’re being genuine…

The song isn’t a literal reading of history, in which “Mr. Vedder” actually bullied some kid, who later shot himself.


I disagree. Tragedy is not an absolute, but an expression of “this should not have happened and the world is worse for it.” There are small tragedies and large. Tragedy is comedy gone wrong, or comedy is tragedy averted.

I do not begrudge anyone the use of the word “tragic”; it just expresses their own feeling of what the incident is.

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I seem to be in a disagreeable mood today, as your interpretation of the song is different from mine. I still recall when I first saw the video, how the closing “oh shit” moment hit me. Each time I watch it, I feel despair at a gut level about what I know is going to happen.

I was the sort of kid who, if I’d had access to guns, quite possibly would’ve shot up my school. There were certainly a lot of people there that I would’ve happily seen dead. But I didn’t, so I just carried a hunting knife for a few years, and refrained from stabbing anyone with it.

I was exposed to all of this media during my school years; I don’t like Mondays, Jeremy, Rage/Getting it on, etc.

Although it’s not the sort of thing I can prove, my feeling is very much that the exposure to those stories helped me to avoid violence. Partly from a reduction in feelings of isolation, partly as a cathartic fantasy thing, partly because it is pretty obvious in those narratives that the violence doesn’t actually make anything better.

Jeremy may get a moment of relief, but that’s all. After that moment is done, all the shit comes back, worse than ever.


I know what you mean, man. I was there myself, though I grew up in the Eighties. I originally was going to include my personal experiences but erased them before posting. Why? Well, because I felt it was mildly selfish. After all, I was already in my twenties when this video came out, and it felt like the past. And I had friends that were even more outcasts than I was, so I don’t want to pity my younger self.

To me, the message of the video is in the final frozen faces of the classmates in the end. The whole “it went too far, and now it’s too late for him.” It still is a punch in the gut when I see it.


It’s poetic license.

By placing himself in the role of one of the bullies, the song attempts to drive home the point that it didn’t happen in a vacuum, and how any of us could be culpable. It tries to make the audience feel more uneasy.

Others have posted about the true story that inspired the song. I shan’t repeat it here.


Hey, it’s my prerogative to take the song at face value if I like. I realize all the “cool kids” think Eddie Vedder is a cad, a sketch, a pop culture hero, but I think he’s a dolt, a fool, just a big zero!

I’m sorry, why are we having this discussion? I guess my sense of humor is so subtle as to be unfunny to the Pearl Jam fanboy crowd? Or any other crowd for that matter… as per usual.

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