In this week's The New Yorker, there is heartbreakingly good commentary on Johnny Cash.
If you've been thinking about Johnny Cash since his death, two months ago, you might have been thinking of him as the guy who wrote and recorded dozens of hits that weren't rock and roll, country, rockabilly, or pop but all those things at the same time. You might be thinking of him as the singer who is said to have infuriated Richard Nixon by performing the anti-authority song What Is Truth at the White House.
You might think of him as one of the Highwaymen, with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings, or as the son of a cotton farmer from Arkansas who watched the women in his family weep over the damage that picking cotton did to their hands. You might think of him as a drunk and a drug addict who owned up to his problems and got clean.
You might not think of Johnny Cash as a historiographer, but he was one, in his way, as his autobiography, Cash, demonstrates. He discusses, at some length, differing versions not only of events in his own life (for example, dismissing the calumny that he was a hotel-room trasher) but of larger events, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition ...