Please visit the new home of Majikthise at

« DHS and DOD can't pass basic audits | Main | Gaze »

September 14, 2007

MS town seeks posthumous pardon for Johnny Cash

A Mississippi town is trying to obtain a posthumous pardon for Johnny Cash. In May 1965, the legendary country singer spent the night in the Starkville drunk tank after getting caught picking flowers in someone's yard. [BBC]


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference MS town seeks posthumous pardon for Johnny Cash:


At least Huckabee pardoned Keith Richards while he's still alive.

Can Texas pardon Ozzie for pissing on the Alamo? What's fair is fair, after all.

Hmmm.... I thought he'd said once that he was always queried if he'd been in jail (on account of "Folsom Prison", "25 Minutes", etc.), but he hadn't. And now this comes out! How very like him, to try to whitewash his past like that.

I don't want JC to be pardoned. As Cass points out, it's one of Cash's few prison credentials.

Cass -

Maybe he said "prison" not "jail."

Jail is generally for misdemeanors and prison is generally for felonies.

Cash of course didn't whitewash anything, which is a lot of what made him so great. But you may be right about his word choice, Eric.

I'm trying to imagine what his cellmate(s) must have said to him.

What are ya in here for boy?

Haw haw! Ya picked some purdy flowers.

What's yer name boy?

Sue? Sue??!! How DO you do.

The idea of a pardon is silly, and I oppose it. Its a stupid attempt to whitewash history.

Mr. Cash never claimed to have been wronged by the Starkville police. And I think he invited the sheriff/police officer from this incident to come up on stage with him once.(*)When the cop came up on stage, June said "here he comes again"!

(*) could have been a cop from some other incident. But I think it was from this one. I can't find a web citation of this, but I think it was mentioned on the CMT bio of Johnny Cash.

I suppose next we should expect to see Ms. Beyerstein adorned in a t-shirt that says instead "FREE Cash"!

By the way, Ms. Beyerstein, were you aware that "Boy Named Sue" was penned by one Shel SilverSTEIN?! That's right, the beloved children's poet wrote about "the blood and the mud and the beer." They just don't make Jews like Jesus anymore (so says Kinky Friedman).

I don't know what the odd tone of the previous post was supposed to communicate, but yeah, Shel Silverstein was a complex and offbeat guy.

What the Wiki entry fails to address is that, reportedly, Shel was the party animal of party animals at the Playboy mansion in the mid-60s/early-70s era.

wiki also fails to mention that "the giving tree" is a disgusting call to slit your wrists for people who really don't appreciate you AT ALL. :P

back to cash -- how anyone could bother putting time into getting a posthumous pardon for anyone for picking flowers is beyond me. wtf? our fourth amendment has been basically deleted, the first amendment is now relegated to special "zones", and THIS is what people do? FREE JOHNNY CASH'S CORPSE FROM... NOTHING AT ALL! FREE JOHNNY CASH'S CORPSE FROM... NOTHING AT ALL!

It's been a while since I've seen such a shameless bid for attention. 40+ years after this infamous ball-busting incident and almost exactly four years after Cash passed on they decide to issue a pardon? Thanks but no thanks. For fuck sake June didn't even live to see this day.

Starkville is a town that for the vast majority of humanity is known only because The Man in Black put it on the map. The Starkville town fathers have revealed themselves to be exactly the swell bunch of forward-thinking fellas we would expect. What a bunch of rubes.


John never said he hadn't been to jail, he said he hadn't been to prison. Nor do I think he would accept the pardon if he were alive today. This is something I know a little something about.

rubes, indeed, AF. i agree with you mudkitty. i doubt he would accept the pardon. it would begin stemming from his belief in personal responsibility as a neccessary point on the road of redemption, but also he would not have been impressed at all by folks trying to "cash" in on his name.

Well, every small town has to have some gimmmicky "festival" now, and this is no more ridiculous than most. (The Llano Crawfish Festival, for instance, is a few hundred miles from the nearest swamp.) I do hope though that they're consulting with and respecting the wishes of the victims of this crime, or at least their descendants. That's so important, if any real healing is to take place.

Redemption was never really John's thing - but it sells well. The fact is, he never walked the line. Neither did June.

It's the music that matters, not the legend.

Actually, redemption">">redemption in the Christian sense of the word was very much Johnny Cash's thing. He credited Jesus Christ with saving his life.

He spoke and sang about it all the time

first link did not work, maybe it will now.

first link did not work, maybe it will now.

Next thing you know, Bakersfield will wanna pardon Merle Haggard for one of history's most drunken robbery attempts (the three burglars were so screwed up that they thought it was 3 AM when it was actually 10:30 PM and the restaurant was still open when they tried to break down the back door).

And I'd say the Christianity Today article is as much an exploitation of Johnny Cash as the Starkville move. I'm sure "Johnny Cash finger bones" will show up in 25-century churches. There's no question he was a sincere Xtian. But that was only part of an intricate picture. To make it the primary focus is as distorting as to claim he was mired in an obsession with crime and catastrophe.

I don't mind Starkville's stunt. It strikes me as a tongue-in-cheek excuse to have a JC-related celebration. How can that be bad?

I'd like to think the Man In Black would be bemused by the whole episode.

I agree with the Phantom, Cash's music deals with many different kinds of redemption--theological and otherwise. I think that's part of the reason I love his art so much.

>I don't mind Starkville's stunt. It strikes me as a tongue-in-cheek excuse to have a JC-related celebration. How can that be bad?

I'm of two minds about such things. After all, I come from a state where a town re-named itself "Joe" so that it could be Joe, Montana.

On the one hand, who indeed can object to any device to get a speck on the map some recognition?

On the other, there's something shallow and desperate about it. Has there been enough thought devoted to anything else that might lift the place up? Energy and resources are in short supply. Is this really the best use?

I like the experience of Butte, MT.

The story of Our Lady of the Rockies is poignant. But nobody really gives a shit. What about one of the earth's biggest festering sores right below her? Kinda offsets the message.

"On the other, there's something shallow and desperate about it."

Nothing against Missisippi; but Dock, it is a small town in Missisippi.

The comments to this entry are closed.