It was a classic skirmish of the 1960s culture war, pitting a nonconformist rock star and his bohemian fans against clean-cut defenders of acceptable behavior, the counterculture against the mainstream, and Jim Morrison against Anita Bryant.Forty years later and it's still a "burning" issue? Ah, priorities, yes, that's it. Must remember the stoopid and forget the really important stuff.
Now the governor of Florida says he will seek to put an end to it by pursuing a posthumous pardon for two criminal convictions that Morrison, the frontman for the Doors, received after some very bad behavior at a 1969 concert in Miami.
But the possibility of forgiveness comes with memories of the socially polarized background that led to Morrison’s trial, as well as a lingering sense that the cultural flames ignited in that era have not been fully extinguished.
“The battle then was the battle that’s being fought today,” said Ray Manzarek, the longtime keyboardist for the Doors. “It’s the battle that America has been fighting.”
Time has not diminished the passions of Doors fans and sympathizers, who have pursued a four-decade crusade to reverse Morrison’s convictions, including for exposing himself onstage on that night in Miami. For them, it is a matter of justice as well as cultural grievance. The case lives on not only because they think the charges against Morrison were trumped up, but also because they believe it was used to discredit the counterculture they savored.
Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, a Republican turned independent who lost a November bid for the United States Senate and whose term expires in January, seemed to align himself with this view in explaining why he will submit Morrison’s name to a state clemency board next month.
“The more that I’ve read about the case and the more I get briefed on it,” Mr. Crist said in an interview on Tuesday, “the more convinced I am that maybe an injustice has been done here.”
For those on the other side, the passion has dimmed, but a sour taste lingers. The anger that once brought them to the barricades has dulled to an impatient pique at the notion that the fate of a dead rock star still commands attention 40 years later.
The fight began on March 1, 1969, when the Doors played a raucous concert at Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. An intoxicated Morrison stumbled through songs like “Light My Fire” and “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” taunted the crowd and threatened to expose himself before fans mobbed the stage. A newspaper review said the singer appeared to simulate masturbation during his performance, and the concert was investigated by a Miami crime commission as six arrest warrants were issued for Morrison, including one for a felony charge of lewd and lascivious behavior.
Gah! Drive me off this movie...
Here's the rest of the piece.
And so it goes.