Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Light My Fire"


From Paul

I received an e-mail yesterday asking me to join the campaign to secure a posthumous pardon for Jim Morrison of The Doors.

What do I have to do with Morrison's 1970 conviction for lewd conduct during a concert in Miami? Well, in those days, I was a wet-behind-the-ears criminal court reporter for The Miami Herald, a once-great newspaper. And the last case I covered before entering law school was the trial of The Doors' lead singer.

The e-mail came from Dave Diamond, a cable TV producer in Dayton, Ohio who at 34 years old, wasn't yet born when Jim Morrison either did or didn't drop his pants and expose himself during the Miami concert. There's more about the pardon effort in The Doors Collector Magazine.

Little Known Fact Number One. The reason our very own Jim Born attended Florida State was to follow in the footsteps of his idol, fellow Seminole, Jim Morrison.

Little Known Fact Number Two. Our Jim tried to start a band made up of fellow cops. He wanted to call it "The Sex Pistols," and was disappointed to learn that someone else was already using the name.

Little Known Fact Number Three. Jim Born formed a band anyway, but simply called it, "The Sex Shotguns."

The Miami Herald a/k/a "The Incredible Shrinking Newspaper" reported on Diamond's efforts last week:

[Florida Gov. Charlie] Crist can't pardon someone by himself. He needs two of the three other members of the Florida Cabinet, which acts as the clemency board. Plus there are no procedures to request a posthumous pardon.

Morrison was charged days after a chaotic concert at Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove in March 1969. The singer gave rambling monologues, cursed and exhorted concertgoers to have sex with each another. Morrison was also alleged to have pulled down his pants and feigned masturbation, which he denied doing. The trial featured contradictory accounts. He was eventually acquitted of a felony charge of lewd and lascivious behavior, but was convicted of indecent exposure and profanity. [Naked Authors are shitfaced with embarrassment to note that "profanity" was a crime back then, Florida coming late to the notion of the First Amendment.]

In his letter to Crist, Diamond noted that former New York Gov. George Pataki pardoned the late comedian Lenny Bruce on an obscenity conviction.

''It's not about Jim Morrison's image as the Lizard King or The Doors music,'' said Diamond. ``It's about a citizen of Florida who was convicted in a case where the law was not applied.''
My fading recollection is that the trial was a travesty, and that the evidence was conflicting and confused as to what Morrison did. The singer died of heart failure in a Paris bathtub before his appeal could be heard. I wonder if he would even want the pardon request pursued.

We got our first taste of the "new" Los Angeles Times Book Section Sunday...which is to say...the disappearing book section. It's being folded into the "Opinion" Section. First to be jettisoned, the "Book Calendar." So, if you want to know where Naomi Hirahara, Diana Wagman, and Denise Hamilton are discussing "Los Angeles Noir" tonight, you have to go to the Times' on-line book pages. (It's the Barnes & Noble on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica).

On the plus side, the website is being beefed up. Critic Sarah Weinman, who blogs at "Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind" is writing a monthly crime fiction column. (I wish it were weekly). On Sunday, she probed the phenomenon of ghostwriters in the mystery field. Also promised by Times Books Editor David Ulin are future columns by Ed Park (Science Fiction) and Sonja Bolle (children's books).


I am so out of it, so un-hip, so retro, that I never knew the term “Yo Cos” until reading yesterday’s Washington Post (“In the Dating Scene, the Attraction is a Beautiful Mind.”) The gist of the story is that single “Young Cosmopolitans” are now hooking up at library events, lectures, and museums.

Great. But whatever happened to discos?

By Paul


  1. You mention it, Paul, would Morrison have wanted a pardon?

    For the record, I attended FSU becuase of Burt Reynolds and Robert Urich.


  2. Well, that was like a quick trip through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame section where The Doors are featured. I was a big Jim Morrison fan - gosh, was it just the leather, or was it "Riders?" - I don't know, but I know I was fourteen and thought he was a god. And wasn't there a film a few years ago - The Last Days Of Disco? I know I used to go to discos, and I think it's a great word that could do with being resurrected, if only to see the young in-crowd (are there still in-crowds?) cringing "Oh ...my ... God ... I'm .... like ... yewwww," and especially seeing as the current fashion scene is a throwback to the Seventies, which means the dreadful, nondescript Eighties cannot be far behind (Yewwww).

    I finally found the LA Times book section last night, but only when I turned over the Opinion section. Didn't that upside-down printing idea go out with cotton-fabric children's books? Frankly, I've always thought the LA Times book section could do with an overhaul - it never seemed to have enough of a blend to meet the range of tastes represented by a broad readership - but not like this. The new format is downright silly - I bet there are still people out there looking for it, or who have chucked out (recycled, I hope) the paper by now.

    Great post, Our Polly.

  3. Dang, now I've got to go dig out my Doors cds! Hankerin' to hear 'Riders' again, and 'Light My Fire'...

    But I LIKED the 80s fashion! Not so fussed on some of the 70s stuff they're bringing back in now. I was flipping back through a current sewing catalogue the other week and thought: "Oh God! How could they possibly bring back bubble-skirts? It's awful!' And I wondered if all of those women wearing the empire waisted flowy skirt blouses realize that they look pregnant - even on the skinniest of women. Sigh. I really should trot out my sewing machine again and get creative - it's been too long.


  4. Don't even get me started on the LA Times...

    I'm with Jim. Morrison wouldn't have cared a rip about a pardon.

  5. Not only would Morrison not have given a rip about a pardon, but he almost certainly would have been ripped when given a pardon.

    And for the record, Jim Morrison transferred to UCLA to get his B.A. He was a film major, and not, as legend has it, an English Lit major.

    The Doors were formed the following year in L.A. and named after a quote from 18th centiry poet and mystic William Blake (he of the "Tyger, tyger, burning bright" fame):

    "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite."

    It is often mentioned that this indicates how poetic and literate Morrison was. (See my comments on the effects of martinis on literacy.) On the other hand, The Doors of Perception was also the title of Aldous Huxley's book about his expreriences dropping mescaline. Coincidence? I've always suspected that Morrison came to the Blake quote via the Huxley book, since the Huxley book was very big on college capmuses in the 1960s and the Doors were the most Dionysiac of all the 60s rock bands.

    Finally, despite the fact I do have a CD of "Strange Days" in my CD shelf, it being a major cultural artifact, I have always bemoaned the fact that Jim couldn't carry a tune in a bucket and couldn't hit a note with a shotgun. I'm reminded of the late Kurt Vonnegut's famous fictional hack author Kilgore Trout, of whom an editor once said, "My God, if only you could write!"

    Finally, the saddest note of all is that Jim Morrison was played in an Oliver Stone movie by Val Kilmer, a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone.

  6. Hey, James. You deserve two finallys for such great research work. Kudos.

  7. In this case, it's just a hangover, if that's the word I want, from my days as a high school rocker and we were expected to know these things.

  8. James Lincoln Warren adds a touch of class to this blog, e.g., "the most Dionysiac of all the 60s rock bands." As far as I'm concerned, JLW can write "Finally" as many times as he wants.

    I'm sure he's also correct about the derivation of the name, i.e., Huxley's book, "The Doors of Perception." Quite a distinction from later bands with names that all sound like "Scum Sucking Puke Heads."

  9. Jim Morrison would not have wanted anyone to bother with the pardon. Life is too &%*$!! short for such .... (insert your favorite expletive)...
    James, by the way, how about a story where Jim has been hiding out in the Everglades and (like the famous "Elvis is alive in Kazoo") he truly is alive. Why and how he stayed alive is up to authors :)
    .. by the way, I truly love your writing and I first read Solomon vs Lord..then 9 Scorpions and Deep Blue Alibi.. I have to blame my brother in law for my finding you.

    and to Jim Born...I knew Robert Urich when he went to MSU (as in Penn State's Big Ten foe) He played pinball at my arcade.

    Dave in Morgantown, WV (formerly of East Lansing, MI)

  10. ok- Jim Morrison is a complex subject but that is because he was very well protected, regarding his father was an admiral in the American Navy. Not only was he protected here, he was protected by the propoganda media machine that serves the middle and upperclasses, providing them with employment and continued wealth. As well as this he is a 60's 'bluesman' who would refer to black people as 'niggers' in his poetry. I have researched the life of Morrison very vigorously and know that he did not have black 'friends' except the real bluemen he would visit to see in run-down dives performing their art as he would steal their vocal style and deliveries.
    Having been unallowed by the powers that still support Morrison and are fooled into thinking was some kind of revolutionary freedom fighter for truth and right from singing the blues myself for emulating in turn Jim's own methods of approach to the style and being of mixed race, let me say this, he was a thief and a liar.
    His support by workers of black magic and satanism are very unmentioned also. He married a witch that supported his cause and continues to do so today, ie: the continuation of whites to steal from blacks and to keep the people of lower classes unable to show their own strengths and virtues and good grace and beauty, the continuance of their having to work twice as hard as his own classes to access education.
    Jim Morrison was a fool and continues to be a fool in Heaven where he is grouped with the artists of the 60's who are held in awe and respect by the idiots of that era who still are living now and who are in the majority of the population age bracket and cannot bear to let go, even though the 60's were the era that the blues were made popular by 'pivotal' bands who advocated and sung about the effects of LSD. All of these old hippies who pretend that they understand contemporary music and that it is music that is speaking for their era are mistaken. Although 'influenced' by the 60's and Morrison's little gang, those days are long dead and time is at a different location and standpoint. Music is now universal and practised by all races and produced by all races and is not advocating the use of race theft of modes of expression and then mixing with the educational values put forth by the classes that feed upon the devouring of less priviliged lives which in turn leave out the races that have been stolen from, I find Jim Morrison's hold on contemporary culture to be a product of criminal values.
    One wonders why the story of USA Government testing of LSD and it's effects by the secret service as use as a weopan of the mind was advocated by the Morrison family and actually pushed onto Jim by them in order that he use his education and good reading to the practical use of continuing to fool the masses into believing that he was speaking for them while in fact he was keeping them locked in place.
    I think Jim Morrison was used as a tool of 'Abraxas'- heaven and hell as one, as a conspiracy to lie and cheat popular culture to be what it is.
    Morrison was well known to be a bully, and in terms of popular culture he remains just that. One must just ask the question, if music is available for free download and is so instantly accessible, then why are there so many millionaire lifestyle musicians playing their music in this, I believe heavily guarded industry.
    'The biggest threat to the state is new music'- Plato. The Replublic.