Saturday, December 11, 2010


Jim Morrison's pardon

Wednesday would have been Jim Morrison’s 67th birthday. In one of the most famous events in his life, he was arrested in 1969, charged with indecent exposure at a concert in Miami. A few days after the concert, it was claimed that he’d opened his pants on stage. He and his band, along with many concertgoers, said that wasn’t true. He was convicted, and he appealed the conviction, but he died before the appeal was ever heard.

Thursday, the day after Morrison’s 67th birthday, Florida’s current governor, Charlie Crist, issued a pardon for Jim Morrison, wiping the slate clean and returning him to a presumption of innocence of the 1969 charges.

This is probably a good thing, really... but it’s not a very important thing. In fact, it might have been just as well left alone, left to be part of Morrison’s eclectic mystique. Governor Crist has no doubt made some friends who are fans of The Doors... and angered others, such as those who would rather not think that the police officers who testified might have lied.

But note Florida’s attorney general, Bill McCollum, who, though he voted in favour of the pardon, was ‘disturbed’ by all the attention paid to a dead celebrity when the board spent hours hearing cases involving living people seeking forgiveness trying to repair their lives.

Indeed: the main point is that I have to wonder when I see officials spending their time — sometimes a little time, but often a great deal of it — dealing with things that don’t matter very much, or even at all. We designate state or national trees, birds, mammals, reptiles, and even insects. We designate official state and national activities, at the behest or some group or other that will benefit from the publicity of having its pet activity so recognized. Our legislators spend time debating and voting on non-binding declarations and resolutions about this thing and that, anywhere from repeating yet again that we honour those who died in one disaster or another, to repeating yet again that Christmas is important to us.

It’s just silly. Go have unpaid interns write that stuff up and present it to classrooms to use as exercises in mock government. And now spent your time with real government.

That said, well... thanks, Governor Crist, for reminding us that Jim Morrison was a great artist. Whether or not the audience in Miami saw in 1969 what the TSA would be seeing routinely today, if he were still with us.

1 comment:

Call me Paul said...

It's all about face time. Why do something good, or right, when you can do something attention getting?