Lenny Bruce, the potty-mouthed wit who turned stand-up comedy into social commentary, was posthumously pardoned yesterday by Gov. George E. Pataki, 39 years after being convicted of obscenity for using bad words in a Greenwich Village nightclub act. The governor said the posthumous pardon was “a declaration of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment.” –The New York Times
: So dig this: George Pataki pardons me thirty-seven years after I died. The schmuck has some gall. “Freedom of speech,” he says–I got the clip right here–“is one of the greatest American liberties, and I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve as we continue to wage the war on terror.” This is a politician who kvells over the USA Patriot Act! Now the putz drafts me in the war on terrorism! He wants comedians to be able to go on stage and yell “Fuck Osama!” Hey, I wonder if Georgie boy cleared this with John Ashcroft? That cat’s not too cool with the four-letter words. He shmeers Mazola oil on himself before praying. I can just see Pataki clearing it with Ashcroft…
“(Noo Yawk accent) Yo, John, George Pataki… God bless you too, John…. No I can’t get down on my knees right now. I’m sitting behind this big desk in Albany. Can I take a rain check on that prayer?… Great. Reason I called is I’m going to pardon Lenny Bruce and I thought I’d give you a heads up. A bunch of these liberal lawyers are after me, so I got to cover my New York City ass–you know what I’m sayin’?… Lenny Bruce is the comedian who was busted for using four-letter words in a nightclub act back in 1964…. No, John, I don’t think pardoning him will encourage children to use four-letter words and cause them to go to Hell…. The religious right?–the hell they care? He’s been dead for thirty-seven years. He’s not gonna resurrect anytime soon…. OK, tell you what I’ll do. You been takin’ a lot of flak about the Patriot Act, right? Trampling civil liberties and all that crap. So I’ll issue a proclamation that ties the pardon to support for the war on terrorism and support for free speech. So we have it both ways! I’m upholding the Patriot Act and also the precious freedoms our boys are fighting for in Baghdad, blah blah blah…. I knew you’d love it. Thanks, John, I’ll pray for you too…. God bless you too, John.”
You know this posthumous-pardon bit could catch on. Save the death penalty. You fry an innocent guy, then you pardon him!
“(Texas accent) The State of Texas regrets to announce that we executed an innocent man last week. A DNA test just in proves that the pubic hair found on the victim did not belong to Jermyn Johnson, the unfortunate executionee. Our investigation has determined that the pubic hair actually came from a Coke can belonging to Justice Clarence Thomas. The Great State of Texas apologizes to the family and friends of Jermyn Johnson and grants him a full pardon. Your Department of Corrections regrets the inconvenience.”