Pardon My Johnson

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Civilization / Justice /
2004 07 18

Pardon Jack Johnson

Ken Burns, PBS documentary film maker who always gets his nose into interesting business if not always in the very best way, is petitioning Congress or someone to request a pardon for Jack Johnson. Boxing champion Johnson you see was convicted under the Mann Act, judged guilty of transporting women across state line for immoral purposes. The woman in question was his wife. She lived with him anyway. The immoral purposes were their conjugal relations. She was, in the culture’s judgment you see, “white”; he was not.

Jack Johnson
thanx latimes

I’d prefer to see Jack Johnson petitioned to pardon white America!

I know some doosey stories about Champion Jack. As I find time, I’ll tell some here.

Johnson owned a bar in Chicago. White folks would come slumming. JJ would quote Chaucer at them: in the Middle English. Of course the slummers couldn’t quote back.

When JJ worked out in public, he’d wrap his dick with tape before putting his trunks on: give the ticket buyers (the illusion of) what they feared to see: a huge shlong on a mean mother fucker.

JJ liked to punish his opponents: not knock them out while he tortured them: carrying on witty trash talk with the front seats the while.

When he won the championship he had a train waiting for him on a special track: stocked with champagne and women. After he beat the former world champion in the ring, he had to fight the public to get to his train. Hell, and they had guys there — Jack London, for example — with rusty razor blades to castrate the uppity oob-a-jig. Of course he won that second fight too.

JJ kept a bedroom upstairs in one of his bars: big bed, mirrors on the ceiling. Women lined up at the bottom of the stairs, waited patiently. And apparently weren’t disappointed once their turn came.

JJ finally did do some of that jail time. But he did it on his terms. JJ made a deal from England: he’d come home, and go to jail, provided that … And the fuzz agreed to a long lis of provisions: his door was not locked: he could come and go. Anyone could visit him, spend the night, receive the same posh service from the guards that he expected. …

I have a JJ quote — I believe in the same file that supplies the random quotes just below. But I’ll fill in the context a bit here: Johnson was in England, much lionized. Some English peer, Lord Tweedmouth, if I heard it right and the story wasn’t just making a joke with the name, was showing Johnson around his estates: complaisantly listing inventory like a Swiss hotelier: so many acres, so many rooms to the castle, so much silverware, so many stables … “Tell you what, Tweedmouth,” Johnson interrupted, “I’ll flip you for them.”

Music Quotes

2013 05 22 I got my Jack Johnson lore from an old boxing magazine in the day room at Camp Drum my last couple of months as a draftee, 1963. It was 1971 that Miles’ A Tribute to Jack Johnson came out.

JJ pic evaporated

I first got it as a cassette for my PK FineArts-mobile, then got the album, then the first of several CDs. Replaying after a period of time always brings tears to my eyes. One of Miles’, one of the world’s, high points.

Of course the US has no business pardoning Jack Johnson: the US had no business ever interferring with him in any way: any more than it had any business interfering with me: arresting me, jailing me, censoring me: any more than it ever had of putting me in school, of seeing that I wasn’t published, that I was fired … that I was was a pariah …
And JJ shouldn’t pardon the US. I don’t think Miles did. And I certainly don’t.
But wisdom can’t apply in general until facts are knowable. That will come with God, and Judgment, or never.

Meantime, laugh at the morons presented to you as judges, teachers, journalists, scientists …
Truth always has a voice, nearly inaudible.

Provided That
I love that phrase. Shakespeare used it to the greatest effect, in Richard II! Bolingbroke (Henry IV to be) pretends to honor the king: then lists his conditions: a long list, not negotiable. “Provided That …”


Noble lords,
Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle;
Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parley
Into his ruin’d ears, and thus deliver:
Henry Bolingbroke
On both his knees doth kiss King Richard’s hand
And sends allegiance and true faith of heart
To his most royal person, hither come
Even at his feet to lay my arms and power,
Provided that my banishment repeal’d
And lands restored again be freely granted:
If not, I’ll use the advantage of my power
And lay the summer’s dust with showers of blood
Rain’d from the wounds of slaughter’d Englishmen:
The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke
It is, such crimson tempest should bedrench
The fresh green lap of fair King Richard’s land,
My stooping duty tenderly shall show.
Go, signify as much, while here we march
Upon the grassy carpet of this plain.
Let’s march without the noise of threatening drum,
That from this castle’s tatter’d battlements
Our fair appointments may be well perused.
Methinks King Richard and myself should meet
With no less terror than the elements
Of fire and water, when their thundering shock
At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven.
Be he the fire, I’ll be the yielding water:
The rage be his, whilst on the earth I rain
My waters; on the earth, and not on him.
March on, and mark King Richard how he looks.

R II, III, iii

2013 07 09 I just saw the slang word “jonson” spelled without the “h” of “Johnson.” That’s OK: if you’re listening, speaking, not reading, it’s the same.

2017 02 04 Today’s wikipedia features an article on the Alan Turing law: “Under the Alan Turing law (namesake pictured), more than 49,000 men in England and Wales are pardoned for breaching historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.” Once again, if the US was wrong to persecute Jack Johnson, what right does the US have to “pardon” anybody for anything. It’s the state that’s the wrong doer, not the individual. Ditto homosexuality, if homosexual acts are illegal, then kill the homosexuals. If the society murdering its members is wrong then kill the society. Or, everybody scoff at themsleves and thereafter mind their own business: if only we could know what our own business is!

2018 04 22 Now Trump gets in the act:



About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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One Response to Pardon My Johnson

  1. Pingback: The Pardon: Jack Johnson and 100 Years of Injustice | Get Real MMAGet Real MMA

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