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27 July 1943

27 July 1943

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Counterattack launched by Soviet Southwest Front on 17 July comes to a halt after taking bridgeheads over the Northern Donets.

The RAF carry out a second raid of Hamburg (night of 27/28 July), three days after their first visit. The second raid triggers a firestorm that devastates large parts of the city.

Inferno: The Devastation of Hamburg, 1943, Keith Lowe. Quite possibly the best book yet written on the Allied bombing campaign against Germany, Lowe examines the week-long attack on Hamburg in July 1943 from the point of view of the bomber pilots, the German night fighter pilots and the citizens of Hamburg. A brilliantly researched and written account of one of the more somber periods in European History. [see more]

File #997: "C-LP Circular No. 14 July 27, 1943.pdf"

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Attachiaent to C-LP Cii'cilar No. U [CONFlD£N t lAL


SUBJECT: Issue of Ordnance Equipment for Civil Air Patrol Unit,

TO * Commanding General, Arn^ Air ^'orces Eastern Defense Conimand and
First Air Force, Mitchel Field, New York.

1, For the purpose of equipping Civil Air Patrol Units under the jirisdiction of this Headquarters, it has become necessary to designate certain sta

tions under your Command to perfoiTii this function from available stocks on hand.
2, Attached are prepared lists of equipiient which is required by the
various Civil Air Patrol Units indicating location of unit and station designated

3, Weapons, motor vehicles, trailers, bomb and ammunition will be issued

on memorandum receipt and receipted for by Civil Air Patrol Unit Coramander. All

equipment together with any types of ammunition vhich has not been expended W3.ll

be returned to the base from which issued when no longer required by the Unit

U, In the event it is found that insufficient equipment is on hand at the

designated stations to fill requirements, it is requested that the shortages be
met by the rc-distribution of equipment from other stations within your Command.

5. It is requested that a detail of four (4) Ordnance enlisted men be fur

nished each Civil Air Patrol Unit requiring Ordnance service. This detail to be
furnished by a detachment of the Ordnance Section, Base Headquarters and Air Base

Squadron or Ordnance Company, Aviation (Servicc) by the Air Base located nearest
to the Civil Air Patrol Station concerned. At least one (1) of these existed

men should be a non-commissioned officer. This personnel should be qualifxea to
handle ammunition and bombs, repair small arms, and at least one (1) should be
qualified to perform 1st and 2nd echelon automotive maintenance.

For the Command(!!3>^General, Army Air Forces:
/s/ W,M, Tisdale
Colonel, Ord. Dept.

Chief, Supply Branch,

* Similar letters sent to: (a) CG, ASC, 21 July 43j (b) CG, FTC, 22 July

(c) CG, 2nd AF, 22 July 43 (d) Com, SAT, 22 July 43| (e) CG, aTC, 22 July 43|


1943–1961: Early years Edit

Morrison was born in late 1943 in Melbourne, Florida, to Clara Virginia (née Clarke) and Lt.(j.g.) George Stephen Morrison, a future rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. [10] His ancestors were Scottish, Irish, and English. [11] [12] Admiral Morrison commanded U.S. naval forces during the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964, which provided the pretext for the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1965. Morrison had a younger sister, Anne Robin (born 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico), and a younger brother, Andrew Lee Morrison (born 1948 in Los Altos, California). [13]

In 1947, when he was three to four years old, Morrison allegedly witnessed a car accident in the desert, during which a truck overturned and some Native Americans were lying injured at the side of the road. He referred to this incident in the Doors' song "Peace Frog" on their 1970 album Morrison Hotel, as well as in the spoken word performances "Dawn's Highway" and "Ghost Song" on the posthumous 1978 album An American Prayer. Morrison believed this incident to be the most formative event of his life, [14] and made repeated references to it in the imagery in his songs, poems, and interviews.

His family does not recall this traffic incident happening in the way he told it. According to the Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, Morrison's family did drive past a car accident on an Indian reservation when he was a child, and he was very upset by it. The book The Doors, written by the surviving members of the Doors, explains how different Morrison's account of the incident was from that of his father. This book quotes his father as saying, "We went by several Indians. It did make an impression on him [the young James]. He always thought about that crying Indian." This is contrasted sharply with Morrison's tale of "Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death." In the same book, his sister is quoted as saying, "He enjoyed telling that story and exaggerating it. [15] He said he saw a dead Indian by the side of the road, and I don't even know if that's true." [16]

Raised a military brat, Morrison spent part of his childhood in San Diego, completed third grade in northern Virginia at Fairfax County Elementary School, and attended Charles H. Flato Elementary School in Kingsville, Texas, while his father was stationed at NAS Kingsville in 1952. He continued at St. John's Methodist School in Albuquerque, and then Longfellow School Sixth Grade Graduation Program from San Diego. [17]

In 1957, Morrison attended Alameda High School in Alameda, California, for his freshman and first semester of his sophomore year. [18] The Morrison family moved back to northern Virginia in 1959, and he graduated from George Washington High School (now a middle school) in Alexandria in June 1961. [17]

1961–1963: Literary influences Edit

A voracious reader from an early age, Morrison was particularly inspired by the writings of several philosophers and poets. He was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian and Dionysian duality would appear in his conversation, poetry and songs. Some of his formative influences were Plutarch's Parallel Lives and the works of the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style would later influence the form of Morrison's short prose poems. He was also influenced by William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Baudelaire, Molière, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Honoré de Balzac and Jean Cocteau, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers. [16] [19]

His senior year English teacher said, "Jim read as much and probably more than any student in class, but everything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher (who was going to the Library of Congress) check to see if the books Jim was reporting on actually existed. I suspected he was making them up, as they were English books on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century demonology. I'd never heard of them, but they existed, and I'm convinced from the paper he wrote that he read them, and the Library of Congress would've been the only source." [15]

Morrison went to live with his paternal grandparents in Clearwater, Florida, and attended St. Petersburg Junior College. In 1962, he transferred to Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, and appeared in a school recruitment film. [20] While at FSU, Morrison was arrested for disturbing the peace while drunk at a home football game on September 28, 1963. [21]

1964–1965: College experience in Los Angeles Edit

In January 1964, Morrison moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Seven months later, his father commanded a carrier division of the U.S. fleet during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. At UCLA, Morrison enrolled in Jack Hirschman's class on Antonin Artaud in the Comparative Literature program within the UCLA English Department. Artaud's brand of surrealist theatre had a profound impact on Morrison's dark poetic sensibility of cinematic theatricality. [22]

Morrison completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA's film school within the Theater Arts department of the College of Fine Arts in 1965. [23] At the time of the graduation ceremony, he went to Venice Beach, and the university mailed his diploma to his mother in Coronado, California. [24] He made several short films while attending UCLA. First Love, the first of these films, made with Morrison's classmate and roommate Max Schwartz, was released to the public when it appeared in a documentary about the film Obscura.

During these years, while living in Venice Beach, he befriended writers at the Los Angeles Free Press, for which he advocated until his death in 1971. He conducted a lengthy and in-depth interview with Bob Chorush and Andy Kent, both working for the Free Press at the time (approximately December 6–8, 1970), and was planning on visiting the headquarters of the busy newspaper shortly before leaving for Paris. [25]

1965–1971: The Doors Edit

In the middle of 1965, after graduating with a bachelor's degree from the UCLA film school, Morrison led a bohemian lifestyle in Venice Beach. Living on the rooftop of a building inhabited by his old UCLA cinematography friend, Dennis Jacobs, he wrote the lyrics of many of the early songs the Doors would later perform live and record on albums, such as "Moonlight Drive" and "Hello, I Love You". According to Manzarek, he lived on canned beans and LSD for several months. Morrison and fellow UCLA student Ray Manzarek were the first two members of the Doors, forming the group during that summer. [26] They had met months earlier as cinematography students. The story claims that Manzarek was lying on the beach at Venice one day, where he accidentally encountered Morrison. [27] He was impressed with Morrison's poetic lyrics, claiming that they were "rock group" material. Subsequently, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore joined. Krieger auditioned at Densmore's recommendation and was then added to the lineup. All three musicians shared a common interest in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's meditation practices at the time, attending scheduled classes, but Morrison was not involved in these series of classes. [28]

The Doors took their name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doors of Perception (a reference to the unlocking of doors of perception through psychedelic drug use). Huxley's own title was a quotation from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which Blake wrote: "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." [29] Although Morrison was known as the lyricist of the group, Krieger also made lyrical contributions, writing or co-writing some of the group's biggest hits, including "Light My Fire", "Love Me Two Times", "Love Her Madly" and "Touch Me". [30] On the other hand, Morrison, who did not write most songs using an instrument, would come up with vocal melodies for his own lyrics, with the other band members contributing chords and rhythm. [31] Morrison did not play an instrument live (except for maracas and tambourine for most shows, and harmonica on a few occasions) or in the studio (excluding maracas, tambourine, handclaps, and whistling). However, he did play the grand piano on "Orange County Suite" and a Moog synthesizer on "Strange Days". [32]

In June 1966, Morrison and the Doors were the opening act at the Whisky a Go Go in the last week of the residency of Van Morrison's band Them. [33] Van's influence on Jim's developing stage performance was later noted by Brian Hinton in his book Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison: "Jim Morrison learned quickly from his near namesake's stagecraft, his apparent recklessness, his air of subdued menace, the way he would improvise poetry to a rock beat, even his habit of crouching down by the bass drum during instrumental breaks." [34] On the final night, the two Morrisons and their two bands jammed together on "Gloria". [35] [36] [37] In November 1966, Morrison and the Doors produced a promotional film for "Break on Through (To the Other Side)", which was their first single release. The film featured the four members of the group playing the song on a darkened set with alternating views and close-ups of the performers while Morrison lip-synched the lyrics. Morrison and the Doors continued to make short music films, including "The Unknown Soldier", [38] "Moonlight Drive" and "People Are Strange".

The Doors achieved national recognition after signing with Elektra Records in 1967. [39] The single "Light My Fire" spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July/August 1967. This was a far cry from the Doors opening for Simon and Garfunkel or playing at a high school as they did in Connecticut that same year. [40] Later, the Doors appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular Sunday night variety series that had introduced the Beatles and Elvis Presley to the United States. Ed Sullivan requested two songs from the Doors for the show, "People Are Strange" and "Light My Fire". Sullivan's censors insisted that the Doors change the lyrics of the song "Light My Fire" from "Girl we couldn't get much higher" to "Girl we couldn't get much better" for the television viewers this was reportedly due to what was perceived as a reference to drugs in the original lyrics. After giving assurances of compliance to the producer in the dressing room, the band agreed and proceeded to sing the song with the original lyrics. Sullivan was not happy and he refused to shake hands with Morrison or any other band member after their performance. Sullivan had a show producer tell the band that they would never appear on The Ed Sullivan Show again. Morrison reportedly said to the producer, in a defiant tone, "Hey man. We just did the Sullivan Show!" [41] [42]

By the release of their second album, Strange Days, the Doors had become one of the most popular rock bands in the United States. Their blend of blues and dark psychedelic rock included a number of original songs and distinctive cover versions, such as their rendition of "Alabama Song", from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's opera, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The band also performed a number of extended concept works, including the songs "The End", "When the Music's Over", and "Celebration of the Lizard". In late Summer 1967, photographer Joel Brodsky took a series of black-and-white photos of Morrison, in a photo shoot known as "The Young Lion" photo session. These photographs are considered among the most iconic images of Jim Morrison and are frequently used as covers for compilation albums, books, and other memorabilia of the Doors and Morrison. [43] [44] In late 1967 at a concert in New Haven, Connecticut, he was arrested on stage, an incident that further added to his mystique and emphasized his rebellious image. [45] Morrison was the first rock artist to be arrested onstage during a live performance. [46]

In 1968, the Doors released their third studio album, Waiting for the Sun. The band performed on July 5 at the Hollywood Bowl this performance became famous with the DVD: Live at the Hollywood Bowl. It's also this year that the band played, for the first time, in Europe. Their fourth album, The Soft Parade, was released in 1969. It was the first album where the individual band members were given credit on the inner sleeve for the songs they had written. Previously, each song on their albums had been credited simply to "The Doors". [47] On September 6 and 7, 1968, the Doors played four performances at the Roundhouse, London, England with Jefferson Airplane which was filmed by Granada for a television documentary The Doors Are Open directed by John Sheppard. Around this time, Morrison—who had long been a heavy drinker—started showing up for recording sessions visibly inebriated. [48] He was also frequently late for live performances.

By early 1969, the formerly svelte singer had gained weight, grown a beard and mustache, and begun dressing more casually — abandoning the leather pants and concho belts for slacks, jeans, and T-shirts. During a concert on March 1 at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, Morrison attempted to spark a riot in the audience, in part by screaming "You wanna see my cock?" and other obscenities. He failed, but six warrants for his arrest were issued by the Dade County Police department three days later for indecent exposure, among other accuses. [49] [50] Consequently, many of the Doors' scheduled concerts were canceled. [51] [52] On September 20, 1970, Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and profanity by a six-person jury in Miami after a trial that had 16 days of testimony. [53] Morrison, who attended the October 30 sentencing "in a wool jacket adorned with Indian designs", silently listened as he was sentenced to six months in prison and had to pay a $500 fine. Morrison remained free on a $50,000 bond. [54] At the sentencing, Judge Murray Goodman told Morrison that he was a "person graced with a talent" admired by many of his peers Morrison remained free on $50,000 bond while the conviction was appealed. [54] Interviewed by Boc Chorush of the L.A. Free Press, Morrison expressed both bafflement and clarity about the Miami incident, clarifying:

I wasted a lot of time and energy with the Miami trial. About a year and a half. But I guess it was a valuable experience because before the trial I had a very unrealistic schoolboy attitude about the American judicial system. My eyes have been opened up a bit. There were guys down there, black guys, that would go each day before I went on. It took about five minutes and they would get twenty or twenty-five years in jail. If I hadn't had unlimited funds to continue fighting my case, I'd be in jail right now for three years. It's just if you have money you generally don't go to jail. [55]

On December 8, 2010—the 67th anniversary of Morrison's birth—Florida Governor Charlie Crist and the state clemency board unanimously signed a complete posthumous pardon for Morrison. [56] The other members of the band denied the notion that Morrison ever exposed himself on stage that night. [57] [58] [59]

Following The Soft Parade, the Doors released Morrison Hotel. After a lengthy break, the group reconvened in October 1970 to record their final album with Morrison, titled L.A. Woman. Shortly after the recording sessions for the album began, producer Paul A. Rothchild — who had overseen all of their previous recordings — left the project, and engineer Bruce Botnick took over as producer. [60]

July 3, 1971: Death Edit

– Robby Krieger recalling the period when the band learned about Morrison's death. [61]

After recording L.A. Woman with the Doors in Los Angeles, Morrison announced to the band his intentions to go to Paris. His bandmates generally felt it was a good idea. [62] [63] [64] In March 1971, he joined girlfriend Pamela Courson in Paris at an apartment she had rented for him at 17–19, Rue Beautreillis in Le Marais, 4th arrondissement. In letters to friends, he described going for long walks through the city, alone. [65] During this time, he shaved his beard and lost some of the weight he had gained in the previous months. [66]

On July 3, 1971, Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of the apartment at approximately 6:00 a.m., [67] by Courson. [68] [69] [70] He was 27 years old. [71] The official cause of death was listed as heart failure, [72] [73] although no autopsy was performed, as it was not required by French law. It has also been reported, by several individuals who say they were eyewitnesses, that his death was due to an accidental heroin overdose. [74]

His death came two years to the day after the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones and approximately nine months after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin — all of whom died at the age of 27. [75] Three years after Morrison's death, Courson also died, of a heroin overdose, at the age of 27. [76] There have been a number of conspiracy theories concerning Morrison's death. [77] [78]

Morrison's family Edit

Morrison's early life was the semi-nomadic existence typical of military families. [79] Jerry Hopkins recorded Morrison's brother, Andy, explaining that his parents had determined never to use physical corporal punishment such as spanking on their children. They instead instilled discipline and levied punishment by the military tradition known as "dressing down". This consisted of yelling at and berating the children until they were reduced to tears and acknowledged their failings. [15] Once Morrison graduated from UCLA, he broke off most contact with his family. By the time Morrison's music ascended to the top of the charts (in 1967) he had not been in communication with his family for more than a year and falsely claimed that his parents and siblings were dead (or claiming, as it has been widely misreported, that he was an only child). [80]

This misinformation was published as part of the materials distributed with the Doors' self-titled debut album. Admiral Morrison was not supportive of his son's career choice in music. One day, an acquaintance brought over a record thought to have Jim on the cover. The record was the Doors' self-titled debut. The young man played the record for Morrison's father and family. Upon hearing the record, Morrison's father wrote him a letter telling him "to give up any idea of singing or any connection with a music group because of what I consider to be a complete lack of talent in this direction." [81] In a letter to the Florida Probation and Parole Commission District Office dated October 2, 1970, Morrison's father acknowledged the breakdown in family communications as the result of an argument over his assessment of his son's musical talents. He said he could not blame his son for being reluctant to initiate contact and that he was proud of him. [82]

Morrison spoke fondly of his Irish and Scottish ancestry and was inspired by Celtic mythology in his poetry and songs. [83] [84] Celtic Family Magazine revealed in its 2016 Spring Issue that his Morrison clan was originally from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, while his Irish side, the Clelland clan who married into the Morrison line, were from County Down, Northern Ireland. [85]

Relationships Edit

Morrison was sought after by many as a photographer's model, confidante, romantic partner and sexual conquest. Throughout his life he had at least several serious, ongoing relationships, and many casual encounters. By many accounts, he could also be inconsistent with his partners, [86] displaying what some recall as "a dual personality". [87] Doors producer Paul Rothchild recalls, "Jim really was two very distinct and different people. A Jekyll and Hyde. When he was sober, he was Jekyll, the most erudite, balanced, friendly kind of guy . He was Mr. America. When he would start to drink, he'd be okay at first, then, suddenly, he would turn into a maniac. Turn into Hyde." [87]

One of Morrison's early significant relationships was with Mary Werbelow, whom he met on the beach in Florida, when they were teenagers in 1962. In a 2005 interview with the St. Petersburg Times, she said Morrison spoke to her before a photo shoot for the Doors' fourth album and told her the first three albums were about her. [88] [89] [90] [91]

Morrison spent the majority of his adult life in an open, [87] and at times very charged and intense, relationship with Pamela Courson. They met while both were attending college, [92] and she encouraged him to develop his poetry. Through to the end, Courson saw Morrison as more than a rock star, as "a great poet" she constantly encouraged him and pushed him to write. [93] Courson attended his concerts, and focused on supporting his career. [94] Like Morrison, she was described by many as fiery, determined and attractive, as someone who was tough despite appearing fragile. Manzarek called Pamela "Jim's other half" and said, "I never knew another person who could so complement his bizarreness." [95] Courson was buried by her family as Pamela Susan Morrison, after Jim Morrison's death, despite the two having never been married. After Courson's death in 1974 her parents petitioned the court for inheritance of Morrison's estate. The probate court in California decided that she and Morrison had once had what qualified as a common-law marriage, despite neither having applied for such status, and the common-law marriage not being recognized in California. Morrison's will at the time of his death named Courson as the sole heir. [96] Morrison dedicated his published poetry books The Lords and New Creatures and the lost writings Wilderness to her. A number of writers have speculated that songs like "Love Street", "Orange County Suite" and "Queen of the Highway", among other songs, may have been written about her. [97] [98] Though the relationship was "tumultuous" much of the time, and both also had relationships with others, they always maintained a unique and ongoing connection with one another, right up until the end. [87] [99]

Throughout his career, Morrison had regular sexual and romantic encounters with fans (including groupies) such as Pamela Des Barres, [100] [101] as well as ongoing affairs with other musicians, writers and photographers involved in the music business. These included Nico, an encounter with singer Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane while the two bands toured together, [102] an on-again, off-again relationship with 16 Magazine ' s Gloria Stavers, as well as an alleged alcohol-fueled encounter with Janis Joplin. [103]

David Crosby said many years later Morrison treated Joplin meanly at a party at the Calabasas, California, home of John Davidson while Davidson was out of town. [104] [105] [106] She reportedly hit him over the head with a bottle of whiskey in retaliation during a fight in front of witnesses. [104] [105] [106] [107] Thereafter, whenever Joplin had a conversation with someone who mentioned Morrison, Joplin referred to him as "that asshole", never by his first or last name. [108]

First written about in No One Here Gets Out Alive, Break On Through, and later in her own memoir, Strange Days: My Life with and without Jim Morrison, Morrison participated in a Celtic Pagan handfasting ceremony with rock critic Patricia Kennealy. [15] [109] [110] The couple signed a handwritten document, and were declared wed by a Celtic High Priestess and High Priest on Midsummer's Night in 1970, but none of the necessary paperwork for a legal marriage was filed with the state. [110] [111] The couple had been friends, and then in a long-distance relationship, since meeting at a private interview for Jazz & Pop magazine in January 1969. The handfasting ceremony is described in No One Here Gets Out Alive as a "blending of souls on a karmic and cosmic plane". Morrison was also still seeing Pamela Courson when he was in Los Angeles, and later moved to Paris for the summer where Courson had acquired an apartment. In an interview in the book Rock Wives, Kennealy says he turned "really cold" when she became pregnant, leading her to speculate that maybe he hadn't taken the wedding as seriously as he'd led her to believe. [86] [112] [113] [114] She also notes that his coldness and distance was during the trial in Miami, and that "he was scared to death. They were really out to put him away. Jim was devastated that he wasn't getting any public support." [115] As he did with so many people, Morrison could be cruel and cold and then turn warm and loving [86] he wrote in letters that he was planning on returning to her, to New York City, in the fall of '71. [116] [117] However, Kennealy was skeptical. Morrison seemed to be falling apart. He was back with Courson in Paris, he was severely alcoholic and in poor health, and like many, Kennealy feared he was dying. [116]

At the time of Morrison's death, there were multiple paternity actions pending against him, although no claims were made against his estate by any of the putative paternity claimants. [118]

Although Morrison's early education was routinely disrupted as he moved from school to school, he was drawn to the study of literature, poetry, religion, philosophy and psychology, among other fields. [119] Biographers have consistently pointed to a number of writers and philosophers who influenced Morrison's thinking and, perhaps, his behavior. [16] [19] [120] [121] [122] While still in his adolescence, Morrison discovered the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. [6] He was also drawn to the poetry of William Blake, Charles Baudelaire, and Arthur Rimbaud. [121] Beat Generation writers such as Jack Kerouac and libertine writers such as the Marquis de Sade also had a strong influence on Morrison's outlook and manner of expression Morrison was eager to experience the life described in Kerouac's On the Road. [123] [124] He was similarly drawn to the work of French writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline. [122] Céline's book, Voyage Au Bout de la Nuit (Journey to the End of the Night) and Blake's Auguries of Innocence both echo through one of Morrison's early songs, "End of the Night". [121]

Morrison later met and befriended Michael McClure, a well-known Beat poet. McClure had enjoyed Morrison's lyrics but was even more impressed by his poetry and encouraged him to further develop his craft. [125] Morrison's vision of performance was colored by the works of 20th-century French playwright Antonin Artaud [126] (author of Theater and its Double) and by Judith Malina and Julian Beck's Living Theater. [127] [128]

Other works relating to religion, mysticism, ancient myth and symbolism were of lasting interest, particularly Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. James Frazer's The Golden Bough also became a source of inspiration and is reflected in the title and lyrics of the song "Not to Touch the Earth". [129] [130] Morrison was particularly attracted to the myths and religions of Native American cultures. [131]

While he was still at school, his family moved to New Mexico where he got to see some of the places and artifacts important to the American Southwest Indigenous cultures. These interests appear to be the source of many references to creatures and places such as lizards, snakes, deserts and "ancient lakes" that appear in his songs and poetry. His interpretation and imagination of Native American ceremonies and peoples (which, based on his readings, he referred to by the anthropological term "shamans") influenced his stage routine, notably in seeking trance states and vision through dancing to the point of exhaustion. [132] In particular, Morrison's poem "The Ghost Song" was inspired by his readings about the Native American Ghost Dance.

Morrison's vocal influences included Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, which is evident in his baritone crooning style on several of the Doors' songs. In the 1981 documentary The Doors: A Tribute to Jim Morrison, producer Paul Rothchild relates his first impression of Morrison as being a "Rock and Roll Bing Crosby". Sugerman states that Morrison, as a teenager, was such a fan of Presley that he demanded silence when Elvis was on the radio. He states that Sinatra was Morrison's favorite singer. [133] According to record producer David Anderle, Morrison considered Brian Wilson "his favorite musician" and the Beach Boys' 1967 LP Wild Honey "one of his favorite albums. . he really got into it." [134]

Wallace Fowlie, professor emeritus of French literature at Duke University, wrote Rimbaud and Jim Morrison, subtitled "The Rebel as Poet – A Memoir". In this, he recounts his surprise at receiving a fan letter from Morrison who, in 1968, thanked him for his latest translation of Arthur Rimbaud's verse into English. "I don't read French easily", he wrote, ". your book travels around with me." Fowlie went on to give lectures on numerous campuses comparing the lives, philosophies, and poetry of Morrison and Rimbaud. The book The Doors by the remaining Doors quotes Morrison's close friend Frank Lisciandro as saying that too many people took a remark of Morrison's that he was interested in revolt, disorder, and chaos "to mean that he was an anarchist, a revolutionary, or, worse yet, a nihilist. Hardly anyone noticed that Jim was paraphrasing Rimbaud and the Surrealist poets". [135]

Morrison began writing in earnest during his adolescence. At UCLA he studied the related fields of theater, film, and cinematography. [136] He self-published two volumes of his poetry in 1969, titled The Lords / Notes on Vision and The New Creatures. The Lords consists primarily of brief descriptions of places, people, events and Morrison's thoughts on cinema. The New Creatures verses are more poetic in structure, feel and appearance. These two books were later combined into a single volume titled The Lords and The New Creatures. These were the only writings published during Morrison's lifetime. Morrison befriended Beat poet Michael McClure, who wrote the afterword for Jerry Hopkins' biography of Morrison, No One Here Gets Out Alive. McClure and Morrison reportedly collaborated on a number of unmade film projects, including a film version of McClure's infamous play The Beard, in which Morrison would have played Billy the Kid. [137]

The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison Volume I is titled Wilderness, and, upon its release in 1988, became an instant New York Times Bestseller. Volume II, The American Night, released in 1990, was also a success. Morrison recorded his own poetry in a professional sound studio on two occasions. The first was in March 1969 in Los Angeles and the second was on December 8, 1970. The latter recording session was attended by Morrison's personal friends and included a variety of sketch pieces. Some of the segments from the 1969 session were issued on the bootleg album The Lost Paris Tapes and were later used as part of the Doors' An American Prayer album, [138] released in 1978. The album reached No. 54 on the music charts. Some poetry recorded from the December 1970 session remains unreleased to this day and is in the possession of the Courson family. Morrison's best-known but seldom seen cinematic endeavor is HWY: An American Pastoral, a project he started in 1969. Morrison financed the venture and formed his own production company in order to maintain complete control of the project. Paul Ferrara, Frank Lisciandro, and Babe Hill assisted with the project. Morrison played the main character, a hitchhiker turned killer/car thief. Morrison asked his friend, composer/pianist Fred Myrow, to select the soundtrack for the film. [139]

Paris Journal Edit

After his death, a notebook of poetry written by Morrison was recovered, titled Paris Journal [140] amongst other personal details, it contains the allegorical foretelling of a man who will be left grieving and having to abandon his belongings, due to a police investigation into a death connected to the Chinese opium trade. "Weeping, he left his pad on orders from police and furnishings hauled away, all records and mementos, and reporters calculating tears & curses for the press: 'I hope the Chinese junkies get you' and they will for the [opium] poppy rules the world". [140] [141] [142] [143]

The concluding stanzas of this poem convey disappointment for someone with whom he had had an intimate relationship and contain a further invocation of Billy the killer/Hitchhiker, a common character in Morrison's body of work. "This is my poem for you, Great flowing funky flower'd beast, Great perfumed wreck of hell. Someone new in your knickers & who would that be? You know, You know more, than you let on. Tell them you came & saw & look'd into my eyes & saw the shadow of the guard receding, Thoughts in time & out of season The Hitchhiker stood by the side of the road & levelled his thumb in the calm calculus of reason." [140] [141]

In 2013, another of Morrison's notebooks from Paris, found alongside the Paris Journal in the same box, known as the 127 Fascination box, [144] sold for $250,000 at auction. [140] [145] This box of personal belongings similarly contained a home movie of Pamela Courson dancing in an unspecified cemetery in Corsica, the only film so far recovered to have been filmed by Morrison. [146] [147] The box also housed a number of older notebooks and journals and may initially have included the "Steno Pad" and the falsely titled The Lost Paris Tapes bootleg, if they had not been separated from the primary collection and sold by Philippe Dalecky with this promotional title. Those familiar with the voices of Morrison's friends and colleagues later determined that, contrary to the story advanced by Dalecky that this was Morrison's final recording made with busking Parisian musicians, the Lost Paris Tapes are in fact of "Jomo & The Smoothies": Morrison, friend Michael McClure and producer Paul Rothchild loose jamming in Los Angeles, well before Paris 1971. [143]

Morrison was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, [148] one of the city's most visited tourist attractions, where Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, French cabaret singer Edith Piaf, and many other poets and artists are also buried. The grave had no official marker until French officials placed a shield over it, which was stolen in 1973. The grave was listed in the cemetery directory with Morrison's name incorrectly arranged as "Douglas James Morrison".

In 1981, Croatian sculptor Mladen Mikulin [149] voluntarily – with the approval of the cemetery curators – placed a marble bust of his own design and a new gravestone with Morrison's name at the grave to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Morrison's death the bust was defaced through the years by vandals, and later stolen in 1988. [150] Mikulin made another bust of Morrison in 1989, [151] and a bronze portrait ("death mask") of him in 2001 [152] neither piece is at the gravesite.

In 1990, Morrison's father, George Stephen Morrison, after a consultation with E. Nicholas Genovese, Professor of Classics and Humanities, San Diego State University, placed a flat stone on the grave. The bronze plaque thereon bears the Greek inscription: ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, usually translated as "true to his own spirit" or "according to his own daemon". [153] [154] [155] [156]

Musical Edit

Morrison continues to be one of the most popular and influential singer-songwriters and iconic frontmen in rock history. [3] To this day, Morrison is widely regarded as the prototypical rock star: surly, sexy, scandalous, and mysterious. [157] The leather pants he was fond of wearing both onstage and off have since become stereotyped as rock-star apparel. [158] The lead singer of U2, Bono, portrayed an alter-ego called "Fly" which he had developed into a leather-clad egomaniac. He described the character's outfit as wearing Morrison's leather pants. [159]

In 2011, a Rolling Stone readers' pick placed Jim Morrison in fifth place of the magazine's "Best Lead Singers of All Time". [160] In another Rolling Stone list, entitled "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time", he was ranked 47th. [161] He was also ranked number 22 on Classic Rock magazine's "50 Greatest Singers in Rock". [162] In 1993, Morrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Doors. [9]

Morrison's recital of his poem "Bird of Prey" can be heard throughout the song "Sunset" by Fatboy Slim. In 2012 electronic music producer Skrillex released "Breakn' a Sweat" which contained vocals from an interview with Morrison. [163] Alice Cooper in the liner notes of the album Killer, said that his song "Desperado" was dedicated to Morrison. [164]

Influences Edit

Iggy and the Stooges are said to have formed after lead singer Iggy Pop was inspired by Morrison while attending a Doors concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan. [165] Pop later said about the concert:

That show was a big, big, big influence on me. They had just had their big hit, "Light My Fire" and the album had taken off . So, here's this guy, out of his head on acid, dressed in leather with his hair all oiled and curled. The stage was tiny and it was really low. It got confrontational. I found it really interesting. I loved the performance . Part of me was like, "Wow, this is great. He's really pissing people off and he's lurching around making these guys angry." [166]

One of Pop's most popular songs, "The Passenger", is said to be based on one of Morrison's poems. [167] Layne Staley, the vocalist of Alice in Chains Eddie Vedder, the vocalist of Pearl Jam Scott Weiland, [168] the vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver and Glenn Danzig, singer and founder of Danzig [169] have said that Morrison was their biggest influence. Critic Jim DeRogatis describes Vedder's vocals as a "Jim Morrison-like vocal growl". [170] Morrison's poetry and art, have also influenced artists such as Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. [171]

Biopic Edit

In 1991, Oliver Stone directed a biopic film about Morrison, with actor Val Kilmer portraying him. Kilmer learned over 20 of Doors' songs to achieve Morrison's role. [172] While the film was inspired by many real events and people, the film's depiction of Morrison was heavily criticized by many people who knew Morrison personally, including Patricia Kennealy and the other Doors members. [173] [174] Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek said about the film's portrayal, "It was ridiculous . It was not about Jim Morrison. It was about 'Jimbo Morrison', the drunk. God, where was the sensitive poet and the funny guy? The guy I knew was not on that screen." [175] Guitarist Robby Krieger was slightly more positive: "They left a lot of stuff out. Some of it was overblown, but a lot of the stuff was very well done, I thought." [176] Though John Densmore was polarised during the period of the film's release, he was more positive in subsequent years. [177]

David Crosby on an album by CPR wrote and recorded a song about the movie with the lyric: "And I have seen that movie – and it wasn't like that." [178] Despite the film's underwhelming reception for its narrative, Val Kilmer's performance was well praised. The band members reportedly didn't recognize if was either Kilmer or Morrison singing on some of the sequences. [179] Overall, the group members (Manzarek excluding) praised Kilmer's interpretation. [180] Regardless of the widespread acclaim surrounding Kilmer's performance, he did not claim any award. [177]

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Segregated From Its History, How 'Ghetto' Lost Its Meaning

The pushcart market in the East Side Ghetto of New York's Jewish Quarter was a hive of activity in the early 1900s.

Ewing Galloway/Getty Images

As you might have gathered from our blog's title, the Code Switch team is kind of obsessed with the ways we speak to each other. Each week in "Word Watch," we'll dig into language that tells us something about the way race is lived in America today. (Interested in contributing? Holler at this form.)

The word "ghetto" is an etymological mystery. Is it from the Hebrew get, or bill of divorce? From the Venetian ghèto, or foundry? From the Yiddish gehektes, "enclosed"? From Latin Giudaicetum, for "Jewish"? From the Italian borghetto, "little town"? From the Old French guect, "guard"?

In his etymology column for the Oxford University Press, Anatoly Liberman took a look at each of these possibilities. He considered ever more improbable origins — Latin for "ribbon"? German for "street"? Latin for "to throw"? — before declaring the word a stubborn mystery.

But whatever the root language, the word's original meaning was clear: "the quarter in a city, chiefly in Italy, to which the Jews were restricted," as the OED puts it. In the 16th and 17th centuries, cities like Venice, Frankfurt, Prague and Rome forcibly segregated their Jewish populations, often walling them off and submitting them to onerous restrictions.

By the late 19th century, these ghettos had been steadily dismantled. But instead of vanishing from history, ghettos reappeared — with a purpose more ominous than segregation — under Nazi Germany. German forces established ghettos in over a thousand cities across Europe. They were isolated, strictly controlled and resource-deprived — but unlike the ghettos of history, they weren't meant to last.

Maxwell Street, a teeming marketplace of Chicago's ghetto, on July 22, 1939. AP hide caption

Maxwell Street, a teeming marketplace of Chicago's ghetto, on July 22, 1939.

Reviving the Jewish ghetto made genocide a much simpler project. As the Holocaust proceeded, ghettos were emptied by the trainload. The prisoners of the enormous Warsaw ghetto, which at one point held 400,000 Jews, famously fought their deportation to death camps. They were outnumbered and undersupplied, but some managed to die on their own terms thousands of Jews were killed within the walls of the ghetto, rather than in the camps.

Jews line up in front of a well in a ghetto at Lublin, Poland, Feb. 1, 1941. AP hide caption

Jews line up in front of a well in a ghetto at Lublin, Poland, Feb. 1, 1941.

Jewish ghettos were finally abolished after the end of World War II. But the word lived on, redefined as a poor, urban black community.

From Anti-Semitism To Race And Poverty

As early as 1908, "ghetto" was sometimes used metaphorically to describe slum areas that weren't mandated by law but that were limited to a single group of people because of other constraints. That year, Jack London wrote of "the working-class ghetto." Immigrant groups and American Jews were also identified as living in these unofficial "ghettos."

Even as those areas were identified, they were already transforming. A 1928 study of American Jewish ghettos explained why such communities were being "invaded" by people of color: "the Negro, like the immigrant, is segregated in the city into a racial colony. Economic considerations, race prejudice and cultural differences combine to set him apart." "Race prejudice" included laws and lending practices, from redlining to restrictive covenants, explicitly design to separate white and nonwhite city dwellers.

After World War II, "white flight" from inner cities further exacerbated racial segregation. By the '60s and '70s, so-called "negro ghettos" in cities like Chicago, New York and Detroit were central to the cultural conversation about poverty. "Something must be done, and done soon, to build a strong and stable family structure among Negro ghetto dwellers," an Ebony editorial contended in 1966 countless academic articles argued about the causes of ghetto poverty.

And in 1969, Elvis — in his late-career comeback — took a turn for the mournful with "In the Ghetto."
Elvis (and many cover singers after him) sings about Chicago's crowded black ghettos with an outsider's concern: "People, don't you understand / the child needs a helping hand / or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day."

Almost half a century later, Busta Rhymes used the same song title to celebrate the ghetto as a source of identity.

Busta Rhymes doesn't ignore the painful effects of intergenerational poverty. The ghetto is where "crackhead chicks still smoke with babies in they belly." But he's not calling for help or claiming that all ghetto-dwellers are miserable. The ghetto is also "where you find beautiful women and rugrats / and some of the most powerful people, I love that!"

Ghetto Not-So-Fabulous?

Ghettos were always defined by lack of choice — they were places inhabitants were forced to live, whether by anti-Semitic governments, discriminating neighbors or racist practices like redlining. Sociologist Mario Small argues that these limits have largely been lifted, such that researchers should no longer consider "ghetto" a useful word for urban slums.

And indeed, use of the word "ghetto" in print has been declining since the early '70s. But slang variants have been rising in popularity since before the turn of the millennium. And a quick glance at social media suggests they're not going away on a recent weekday, twitter users referenced "ghetto" almost 20 times per minute.

Rebellious Youth 

Morrison moved frequently as a child due to his father&aposs naval service, first from Florida to California and then to Alexandria, Virginia, where he attended George Washington High School. As a teen, Morrison began to rebel against his father&aposs strict discipline, discovering alcohol and women and bristling at various forms of authority. "One time he told the teacher he was having a brain tumor removed and walked out of class," his sister Anne recalled. Nevertheless, Morrison remained a voracious reader, an avid diarist and a decent student. When he graduated from high school in 1961, he asked his parents for the complete works of Nietzsche as a graduation present𠅊 testament to both his bookishness and rebelliousness.

Upon graduating from high school, Morrison returned to his birth state to attend Florida State University in Tallahassee. After making the Dean&aposs List his freshman year, Morrison decided to transfer to the University of California at Los Angeles to study film. Because film was a relatively new academic discipline, there were no established authorities, something that greatly appealed to the freewheeling Morrison. "There are no experts, so, theoretically, any student knows almost as much as any professor," he explained about his interest in film. 

He also developed an increasing interest in poetry at UCLA, devouring the Romantic works of William Blake and the contemporary Beat verse of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac while composing his own. Nevertheless, Morrison quickly lost interest in his film studies and would have dropped out of school altogether if not for his fear of being drafted into the Vietnam War. He graduated from UCLA in 1965 only because, in his own words, "I didn&apost want to go into the army, and I didn&apost want to work𠅊nd that&aposs the damned truth."

27 July 1943 - History

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The Guillotine

Although the guillotine's fame dates from its extensive use during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, the first guillotine-like instrument was used as early as 1307. It may have been used earlier but the first solid evidence is its use in Ireland in 1307. It was not used much until it became the official instrument of execution for the French revolution. It was named for Dr. Louis Guillotin, who proposed that such a machine be used for official executions. It was actually constructed by others, though his name was forever associated with the machine.

It was adopted because it was an egalitarian and humanitarian form of capital punishment. Previously the form of execution depended in part on a person's class. A noble might merit a quick blow from the headsman's axe (the custom was to offer a tip to the executioner to ensure a swift death), but if you were a commoner, you might suffer the torture of a drawing and quartering or some equally painful death.

The official executioner of the French Revolution, Charles-Louis Sanson, said on April 25, 1792:

Today the machine invented for the purpose of decapitating criminals sentenced to death will be put to work for the first time. Relative to the methods of execution practised heretofore, this machine has several advantages. It is less repugnant: no man's hands will be tainted with the blood of his fellow being, and the worst of the ordeal for the condemned man will be his own fear of death, a fear more painful to him than the stroke which deprives him of life.

Some have speculated that these very virtues made it easier and more efficient to use it as an instrument to kill in large numbers. Would Maximilien Robespierre and his followers have been so quick to remove those citizens who failed to measure up in order to create his perfect "republic of virtue" if it were not so efficient and humane? It certainly would have been more difficult.

In spite of its efficiency, an execution by guillotine was still a sickening spectacle. When the head was severed, blood poured from the body as the heart continued to pump. When it was used frequently (as it was during the revolution), the stench from the place of execution was horrible. There is also some evidence to suggest that the head retained some life for a moment after the head was severed and so the death might not be as quick as has been supposed.

Although the guillotine is most closely associated with the French, the Nazis guillotined more people than were killed during the French Revolution. Hitler considered it a demeaning form of punishment and used it for political executions. 20,000 had a date with Madame la Guillotine in 1942 and 1943.

The last use of the guillotine was in 1977. Capital punishment has been abolished in France.

For an interesting look at the mechanism of the guillotine check out Guillotine Headquarters.

The practice of male genital mutilation is far older than recorded history. Certainly, it is far older than the Biblical account of Abraham (Genesis 17). It seems to have originated in eastern Africa long before this time. 8 21

Many theories have been advanced to explain the origin of genital mutilation. One theory postulates that circumcision began as a way of "purifying" individuals and society by reducing sexuality and sexual pleasure. Human sexuality was seen as dirty or impure in some societies hence cutting off the pleasure-producing parts was the obvious way to "purify" someone.

It is now known that the male foreskin, or prepuce, is the principal location of erogenous sensation in the human male (see Anatomy.) Removal of the prepuce substantially reduces erogenous sensation. 14,19 Therefore (in the appropriate cultural context), circumcision is revealed as a sacrifice of "sinful" human enjoyment (in this earthly life), for the sake of holiness in the afterlife. 14

The Jews adopted circumcision as a religious ritual 10,13,16,20 and preserved this prehistoric practice into modern times. 11,20 The circumcision of Abraham removed only the very tip that extended beyond the glans penis. 11,20,26,31 Moses and his sons were not circumcised. (Exodus 4:25) Although Moses apparently prohibited circumcision during the 40 years in the wilderness, 20,21,24 (Joshua 5:5) Joshua reinstituted circumcision at Gilgal after the death of Moses. 20,21,24 (Joshua 5:2-10) It is interesting to note that after the Israelites were circumcised, they immediately became soldiers in Joshua's army for the conquest of Palestine. (Joshua 6:1-3)

In contrast to the Jews, the Greeks and the Romans placed a high value on the prepuce.. 3 34 The Romans passed several laws to protect the prepuce by prohibiting circumcision. 3 34 The laws were applied to everyone and were not directed against the Jews. 3

Much later in the Hellenic period, about 140 C.E., the Jewish authorities modified circumcision procedure to make it impossible for a Jew to appear to be an uncircumcised Greek. 10,11,20,30 A radical new procedure called peri'ah was introduced by the priests and rabbis. In this procedure the foreskin was stripped away from the glans, with which it is fused in the infant (See Normal.) In a painful procedure known today as a synechotomy, more foreskin was removed than before and the injury was correspondingly greater. With the introduction of peri'ah, the glans could not easily be recovered, and so no Jewish male would easily be able to appear as an uncircumcised Greek. 10,11,20,31 This radical modified procedure eventually was adopted by the medical profession and is the circumcision operation used today.

Although Judaism mandated circumcision, not all Jews wanted to be circumcised. Several methods of foreskin restoration were devised and practiced. 10 11 25

It may have been at this time that the Pondus Judaeus (also known as Judaeum Pondum), a bronze weight worn by Jews on the residual foreskin to stretch it back into a foreskin, 10,11,25 gained popularity amongst Jewish males. This lessened the ugly appearance of the bare exposed circumcised penis. 10 25 This restorative procedure was known by the Greek word epispasm, 10 or "rolling inward."

The third stage of ritual circumcision, the Messisa or Metzitzah, was not introduced until the Talmudic period (500-625 C.E). 11,20,25 In Metzitzah, the mohel (ritual circumciser) sucks blood from the penis of the circumcised infant with his mouth. 34 This procedure has been responsible for the death of many Jewish babies due to infection. 16 In modern times, a glass tube is sometimes used instead. 19

The Reform movement within Judaism considered circumcision to be a cruel practice. 20 The Reform movement at Frankfort declared in 1843 that circumcision was not necessary. 20,24 Theodor Hertzl, the founder of Zionism, refused to have his son circumcised.

The Christians took a strong stand against circumcision in the first century. Christians rejected circumcision at the Council at Jerusalem. 16 (Acts 15) St. Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, taught parents that they should not circumcise their children. (Acts 21:25) In a reference to the old practices of genital mutilation, St. Paul warned Titus to beware of the "circumcision group." (Titus 1:10-16)

The modern use of Hebrew circumcision as a medicalized practice dates from about 1865 in England and about 1870 in the US. 12 The procedure accepted for medical use essentially was the Jewish peri'ah. Moscucci reports that circumcision was imposed in an attempt to prevent masturbation. 18 Gollaher further describes the history of medicalized circumcision. 13 No scientific studies were carried out to determine the efficacy and safety of circumcision prior to its introduction into medical practice, 13 nor were any studies conducted to determine the social effects of imposing genital alteration surgery on a large portion of the population.

South Koreans started to circumcise children during the American trusteeship following World War II. The American cultural practice of circumcision became nearly universal in South Korea after the Korean War of 1950-52. 27

In 1949, Gairdner wrote that circumcision was medically unnecessary and non-beneficial, and contraindicated because of complications and deaths. 5 The British National Health Service (NHS) deleted non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision from the schedule of covered procedures in 1950. The incidence of neonatal circumcision in the United Kingdom declined sharply to a very low level after publication of this article after the procedure was delisted by the NHS.

America waited another 20 years before addressing the problem of non-therapeutic circumcision. The Journal of the American Medical Association published an influential landmark article by Dr. E. Noel Preston, Captain, MC, USAF. 6 Dr. Preston established that there is no therapeutic or prophylactic benefit to circumcision. He also cited "undesirable psychologic, sexual, and medico-legal difficulties." 6

Influenced by Preston, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in 1971, issued a statement that "[t]here are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period." 12 This marked the beginning of the end of America's infatuation with male circumcision. The incidence of male neonatal circumcision in the U.S. peaked in 1971 and began a slow decline that continues to the present day.

Recent History

The AAP convened an "ad hoc Task Force" under the chair of Hugh C. Thompson, M.D., to review the issue of circumcision in 1975. The 1975 Task Force reaffirmed the 1971 AAP statement. 11 The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) also took a position in 1975 that circumcision is medically unnecessary.

The matter rested there until 1985, when retrospective data collected from U.S. Army medical records by Thomas Wiswell, M.D. seemed to show a somewhat higher rate of urinary tract infection (UTI) in non-circumcised boys. Careful examination of Wiswell's methods and data revealed many methodological flaws which rendered his conclusions questionable and unreliable. This created new controversy about the value of neonatal circumcision. The Canadian Paediatric Society examined Wiswell's data in 1989 and found it to be "insufficiently compelling" to cause it to change its 1975 policy statement, which is against circumcision.

The National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) was formed in 1986. The mandate of NOCIRC is to provide accurate information regarding male circumcision, to promote children's rights, and to shed light on the medical mistakes of the past. Professor George C. Denniston, M.D., M.P.H., founded Doctors Opposing Circumcision (DOC) in 1995 to promote the health advantages of genital integrity within the medical community.

The Circumcision Information and Resource Pages (CIRP) were created in 1995 to provide a source of accurate information about circumcision on the World Wide Web.

The development of new information in the medical literature since 1975 caused the AAP to revisit the matter of circumcision in 1989. A new Task Force under the chair of Edgar J. Schoen, M.D., examined new data about neonatal pain, behavior changes, and loss of sexual sensitivity secondary to neonatal circumcision. New data also conclusively established the role of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pathogenesis of genital cancers. This removed any lingering belief that the prepuce somehow caused cancer.

The Canadian Paediatric Society revisited the matter of neonatal circumcision in 1996. A new evidence-based policy statement was issued that strengthened its 1975 recommendation, stating that circumcision is medically unnecessary. The CPS recommended: "Circumcision should not be routinely performed."

The incidence of neonatal circumcision in the US has continued to decline, and stood at only 60% in 1996. In the same year, the Australian College of Paediatrics (ACP) reported that the incidence of neonatal circumcision in Australia has continued its decline to 10%. The ACP termed circumcision traumatic, a possible violation of human rights, and called for parents to be provided with full and complete information about circumcision before making a decision.

John R. Taylor and colleagues published a landmark article in 1996 that described original research into the anatomy and histology of the foreskin. The research showed that the foreskin is highly innervated tissue with the characteristics of a sensory organ designed to provide erogenous sensation. 19

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), in a joint statement, reclassified neonatal circumcision from "routine" to "elective" in 1997. 23 The change in policy was announced the year after the publication of Taylor's important article that describes in detail the injury inherent in every circumcision. This action removes any suggestion that circumcision is beneficial or that it is recommended by medical authorities. It may also be an attempt to shift legal liability for the injury that is inherent in every child circumcision from the doctor to the parents.

Persistent criticism of the obvious flaws of the supplemental 1989 Report of the Task Force on Circumcision has caused the AAP to distance itself from its own report. The AAP has removed its policy statement from its website. The AAP convened a new Task Force under the chair of Carole Marie Lannon, MD, in 1997 to develop a new evidence-based policy statement which was released in March 1999. After fully reviewing the medical evidence, the Task Force concluded that routine neonatal circumcision cannot be recommended because of lack of any proved benefit. It said that the benefits are "potential" (i.e. they are unproven).

The Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association issued a policy report in December 1999 that re-classified neonatal circumcision as a "non-therapeutic" procedure. 33 This may have a medico-legal impact.

The ratio of boys circumcised to boys preserved intact continues to decline in America. In 2001, it had further declined to a ratio of 55 percent circumcised, while the percentage of boys preserved intact had risen to 45 percent. 40


The Encyclopædia Britannica article from the 9th edition (1876) provides us with a Victorian view of circumcision. Interestingly, it does not mention any alleged medical purposes. 2

Gairdner's historic world famous landmark classic medical article (1949) is presented. 5

Preston's historic influential medical article (1970) is presented. 6

Paige (1978) provides us with a history of cirumcision in the US. She discusses the fear of masturbation that lead to the commencement of the circumcision of boys. 7

DeMeo (1989) says geographical patterns of global distributions of the male and female genital mutilations among native, non-Western peoples, along with history and archaeology, suggest their genesis in the deserts of Northeast Africa and the near East, with a subsequent diffusion outward into sub-Saharan, Oceania and possibly even into parts of the New World. 8

Montagu (1991) uses anthropological knowledge to give insight into the origins of genital mutilation. 9

Bigelow (1992) traces the development of various forms of circumcision within Judaism through the centuries and into modern times. 11

Voskuil (1994) suggests that the identical 28 day lunar month and the monthly menstruation cycle of the woman are linked to the origin of circumcision. 12

Gollaher (1994) describes the transformation of ritual circumcision into a medical procedure. 13

McLaren gives us a not very complimentary portrait of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg who promoted circumcision and corn flakes as a cure for masturbation. 14

Warren and Bigelow (1994) discuss the sacrificial origin of circumcision. 15

Moscucci reports the results of her research into the introduction of male circumcision to prevent masturbation in the late 19th century. 18

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion (1997) reviews the history of Jewish circumcision. 20

DeMeo (1996) revisits his earlier work and discusses several theories regarding the origin of male and female circumcision. DeMeo identifies anxiety about sexual pleasure as the underlying psychological reason for both male and female circumcision. 21

Schultheiss and others (1998) provide an account of the long history of man's attempts to restore the prepuce after unwanted circumcision. 25

Dunsmuir and Gordon (1999) provide a good general history of circumcision with particular attention paid to the history of the development of surgical technique. 26

Kim and colleagues provide a history of circumcision in South Korea. 27

Brandes and McAninch review the history of efforts to undo the effects of male circumcision. 28

Frederick Mansfield Hodges (1999) unveils the medical treatment of phimosis and paraphimosis in the classical medical literature. 29

James E. Peron illuminates the development of circumcision in Jewish history from a minor procedure into a major mutilation, and how this most mutilating and injurious form of circumcision was accepted into medical practice. 31

Frederick Mansfield Hodges, D. Phil., has researched the Greek and Roman attitudes toward the prepuce. He reports in this profusely illustrated document that the Greeks and Romans placed a high value on the prepuce, preferred long tapering prepuces, and later the Romans protected the prepuce by law. 34

John M. Ephron reports that German Jews used medical arguments to justify and promote the practice of male circumcision to Gentiles during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 35

John Evelyn observed a Jewish circumcision at Rome in 1645 and recorded it in his diary. 36

See also


    Anonymous. Clitoridectomy and Medical Ethics. Medical Times and Gazette (London) 1867:(1):391-2. Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th Ed. s.v. "Circumcision," by Rev. T. K. Cheyne. Offord J. Restrictions concerning circumcision under the Romans. Proc R Soc Med 19136(Sect Hist Med):102-7. (PDF) Pirie GR. The story of circumcision. Can Med Assoc J 192717(12):1540-2. (PDF) Gairdner DA. The fate of the foreskin: a study of circumcision.. BMJ 19492:1433-1437. Preston EN. Whither the foreskin? A consideration of routine neonatal circumcision. JAMA 1970213:1853-1858. Paige, Karen Eriksen. The ritual of circumcision. Human Nature, pp 40-48, May 1978. (Link to www.noharmm.org) James deMeo. The Geography of Genital Mutilations. The Truth Seeker, pp 9-13, July/August 1989. (Link to www.noharmm.org) Montagu, Ashley. Mutilated Humanity. Presented at the Second International Symposium on Circumcision. San Francisco, California. April 30-May 3, 1991. (Link to www.nocirc.org) Hall RG. Epispasm: circumcision in reverse. Bible Review 1992August:52-7. Bigelow J, Ph.D., The Development of Circumcision in Judaism. In: Bigelow J., The Joy of Uncircumcising! Hourglass Book Publishing, Aptos, California 95001, 1992, 1995. (ISBN 0-934061-22-X) (out of print) Voskuil, D, Ph.D. From Genetic Cosmology to Genital Cosmetics: Origin Theories of the Righting Rites of Male Circumcision. Presented at the Third International Symposium on Circumcision. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, May 22-25, 1994. (Link to www.nocirc.org) Gollaher, David L. From ritual to science: The medical transformation of circumcision in America. Journal of Social History Volume 28 Number 1, p. 5-36 (Fall 1994). McLaren, Carrie. Porn Flakes: Kellogg, Graham and the Crusade for Moral Fiber. (courtesy of STAYFREE! Homepage) Warren J, Bigelow J. The case against circumcision. British Journal of Sexual Medicine, September/October 1994:6-8. John J. Tierney. Circumcision. In: The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913, 1997. Frederick M. Hodges, Jerry W. Warner. The Right to Our Own Bodies: The History of Male Circumcision in the U.S. M.E.N. Magazine 1995 (November) Moscucci, Ornella. Clitordectomy, Circumcision, and the Politics of Sexual Pleasure in Mid-Victorian Britain. Sexualities in Victorian Britain. Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1996. Taylor JR, Lockwood AP, Taylor AJ. The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. Br J Urol 199677:291-295. Circumcision. In: The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, Oxford University Press, New York & Oxford 1997. DeMeo, James. The Geography of Genital Mutilations. (Presented at the Fourth Symposium on Sexual Mutilations, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland. August 9-11, 1996.) Published in: Sexual Mutilations, A Human Tragedy, Plenum Press, New York, 1997 (ISBN 0-306-45589-7). (link to www.nocirc.org) Hodges FM. A short history of the institutionalization of involuntary sexual mutilations in the United States. in: Denniston GC, Milos MF (eds.), Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy (New York: Plenum Publishing, 1997), pp. 17-40. (ISBN 0-306-45589-7) Oh W, Merenstein G. Fourth Edition of the Guidelines for Perinatal Care: Summary of Changes. Pediatrics 1997100(6)1021-1027. Goldman Ronald, Ph.D., Origins and Background. In: Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective. Vanguard Publications, Boston, 1998. (ISBN 0-9644895-6-2) Schultheiss D, Truss MC, Stief CG, Jonas U. Uncircumcision: a historical review of preputial restoration. Plast Reconstr Surg 1998101(7): 1990-1998. Dunsmuir WD, Gordon EM. The history of circumcision. BJU Int 1999 83, Suppl. 1: 1-12. Kim DS, Lee JY, Pang MG. Male circumcision: a Korean perspective. BJU Int 1999 83 Suppl. 1:28-33. Brandes SB, McAninch. Surgical methods of restoring the prepuce: a critical review. BJU Int 1999 83 Suppl. 1:109-113. Hodges FM. The history of phimosis from antiquity to the present. in: Denniston GC, Hodges MF, Milos MF (eds.), Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal, and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice (New York/London: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing, 1999), pp. 37-62. Hodges FM. Phimosis in antiquity. World Journal of Urology 1999 17(3):133-136. Peron, James E. Circumcision: Then and Now. Many Blessings 2000III:41-42. Gollaher, David A., Circumcision: A History of the World's Most Controversial Surgery. New York: Basic Books, 2000. 253 pages. (ISBN: 0-465-04397-6) Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association. Report 10: Neonatal circumcision. July 6, 2000. Hodges FM. The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos , Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme . Bull Hist Med 2001 Fall75(3):375-405. John M. Ephron. Medicine and the German Jews. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001: 222-233. (ISBN 0-300-08377-7) John Evelyn. Diary, January 15, 1645. In: The Times, London, 15 January 2003. Robert Darby. `Where doctors differ:' The debate on circumcision as a protection against syphilis, 1855-1914. Social History of Medicine 200316(1):57-78. Robert Darby. The masturbation taboo and the rise of routine male circumcision: a review of the historiography. J Soc Hist 200336:737-57. Robert J L Darby. Medical history and medical practice: persistent myths about the foreskin. Med J Aust 2003 178(4):178-9. Bollinger D. (2003) Intact Versus Circumcised: Normal versus Circumcised: U.S. Neonatal Male Genital Ratio. Circumcision Reference Library (an original online publication), 22 April 2003. Darby R. The riddle of the sands: circumcision, history, and myth. N Z Med J 2005118(1218):U1564. Androutsos G. The truth about Louis XVI's marital difficulties. Prog Urol 200212:132-7. (Translated from the French by Dennis Harrison.)

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