The Michigan Daily discovered in November 2004 that several articles written by arts editor Alex Wolsky did not meet the newspaper’s standard of ethical journalism. Parts of these stories had been plagiarized from other news sources. The article below appears to contain plagiarism, and the Daily no longer stands by its content. For details, see the Daily’s editorial.

Let me preface this by stating that I never bought Jim Morrison, neither as the Lizard King nor the poet. Since the 30th anniversary of Morrison’s death, there has been a mid-level revival of The Doors. Morrison’s popularity has become glamorized and iconic, as a typical mode of operation for rock’n’roll stars. In an era bent on the guttural exhibitionist antics of reality television and the loss of culture and sophistication in art, Morrison’s resurgence is all but expected.

Morrison was always a jerk. At 10 years of age, he rubbed dog shit in his little brother’s face and later put cellophane over his brother’s mouth, nearly suffocating him. His brother had chronic tonsillitis at the time, and impeding his breathing for such a long period of time nearly killed him. Morrison pissed on himself, would threaten to throw his body out the car window to gain attention from his parents and constantly ridiculed paraplegics. Once, while tobogganing, Morrison even barricaded his two siblings in the front of the cart where they couldn’t move, got up to a good speed and aimed the shackles towards a cabin. Surely this man is a god.

In the fall of ’66, when the band went in to record its first album, Morrison covered the building in chemical fire extinguisher foam. Around the same time, he packed a taxi full of people and drove out to Elektra records president Jac Holzman’s apartment in the middle of the night, where Morrison ripped out carpet and vomited all over the lobby.

This is the type of behavior that was accepted, if not encouraged by people. Granted, reality TV stars aren’t always whipping out their genitalia in public (except Richard Hatch on “Survivor”), but we, as a society, are encouraging them to be as vile and inept as Morrison. If he cared so little about his life and was so willing to make it one big joke, why should anybody care, if not for shameless, trashy entertainment?

Morrison was a failure as a musician and one of the most overrated people in music. He couldn’t sing, he couldn’t write a single note of music, he never played on any of The Doors’ records and his lyrics were pretentious bullshit. Most reality TV stars today can’t act, they can’t write and they sure as hell aren’t winning any Emmys.

Morrison’s life and death should be written off as a blueprint to the pathetic “artist as a star” system. The very idea that stars, whether they be TV rubes or rock’n’roll dropouts, are somehow a race apart and thus able to piss on their wives, trash hotel rooms and commit unthinkable acts of societal taboo is beyond me.

One of the more ridiculous claims I’ve heard is that somehow curbing this exhibitionism would be detrimental to their art and their creativity. The ironic thing about this (despite the fact that it assumes that they have talent in the first place) is that the tolerance of such acts contributes to them eventually drying up as artists. How could you truly emote when you have absolutely zero input from the real world, because everyone around you is catering to and sheltering you? Morrison couldn’t, and the very thought that he would be alive today, singing about chaos and revolution is laughable, much like the idea that any reality star will be whoring themselves on the small screen a decade from now.

If he did indeed die in a bathtub in Paris, it was a suitable ending for a narcissistic parody of ’60s rock like Morrison. He belonged in a daycare center for counterculture casualties, another one of those children ruined by drugs and left scratching for some kind of authority as a significant artist.

Rock critic Lester Bangs branded this type of glamorized, moronic behavior, “Bozo Dionysius,” the amiable blend of divine grace and bozo idiocy. Morrison wasn’t a poet or a god. Instead, he was a drugged and drunken maniac, a propitious male prostitute who lives posthumously as an icon for the vapid and inane.

 

— While Jim Morrison may not appeal to Alex, Clay Aiken sure lights his fire. Send fan mail to wolsky@umich.edu

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