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OJ

The Trial of Century? Bwraaaaaaaaaaaat!

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, June 22, 1994.

OJ Simpson’s fiasco might come to be famous for something far more insidious than a mere double murder. Rarely have so many politically correct hypocrisies been brought together in one case to burnish each other in the public eye, an eye that deserves immediate blackening.

To start with, we have racism. A handsome, brilliant and eminently likeable black athlete and a beautiful, stunning blonde. It was not so many years ago that such a couple would have resulted in a lynching, but OJ was beyond all that at one time. Yet, you cannot help but see the seethings of prejudice and envy boil to the surface as the media interviews the usually alcoholic public.

Then, we have sexism. On New Years’s Eve of 1989, a belligerent OJ beat his wife - lasciviously described as dressed only in sweat pants and bra - beat her so badly that she required hospital attention. There was a $750 fine and public service seemingly arranged by his publicist. And no press coverage. Police admit that this was not the first call about domestic violence at OJ’s house. And today it is revealed that his first wife was beaten as well. Now, the rigidly unhappy looking female spokesmen for activist groups can justifiably inquire why celebrities are treated less severely than a drunken construction worker. It is a good question. So we have racial prejudice warring with domestic abuse.

Then, there are his attorneys. A public now focussing in on the absurdities of the Menendez case might inquire whether all of this was a script prepared by legal minds repulsed by the death penalty. Let’s see, his original attorney and friend quits, too busy he says, and gets Shapiro. Two days later, surrounded by high powered forensics experts, doctors, attorneys and friends, Simpson makes what the press is today calling a break for it. But really, all the fugitive did was drive around before returning to his own home. The letter which, for a suicide note under pressure, was awfully coherent and beneficial to his case. He didn’t do it. He is terribly upset. He cannot stand the pressure. And nobody heard two large men, one supposedly screaming, get in a four wheel drive and go away? Did anyone notice that Attorney Shapiro, after a hangdog press conference, broke into a huge smile when he thought the cameras were off?

A job well done, perhaps. Leslie Abramson would be proud.

If Simpson did it, and it seems fairly sure he did, why would friends prevent his suicide, the best out of all? Now, after years in jail, a long public trial and appeals and execution, all at great public expense, OJ Simpson will become another late night joke. A murderer of passion has, at least, romantic dignity.

And the media itself. What a horror show that was, despite its self-congratulatory nonsense. OJ Simpson: the most famous American accused of murder? Gee, there was Aaron Burr, a former vice-President, who was accused of murder for his duel with Alexander Hamilton, another former Cabinet member, and went on the run. Of course, that was before steady cams and helicopters. Or Andrew Jackson, an actual President, who murdered several in duels. Or Dan Sickles, a man who killed his wife’s lover but got off with a passion of the moment defense. He was a General during the Civil War. And there are some deaths in Hollywood that never raised much of an eyebrow. While forgotten now, these were big deals at the time. But the media doesn’t even recall its own history, much less ours.

There is much hand wringing about Simpson being a role model and all of that. Nonsense. The media needed to make him into something to justify their coverage, and others needed to make him into a sales tool. The kids, now my age and Simpson’s, never looked to him as a role model, which is a construct of a social worker mentality. This tends to blow the lid off the whole idea of sports journalism as well. If there were a single journalist among the flunkies who seemingly have lived in Simpson’s lap for two decades, Nicole Simpson would not be dead. We’d have known he was a violent man, and they would have hounded him to jail. But they’re flunkies, flacks for networks or papers or wannabe flacks and flunkies. And they wouldn’t be calling him OJ as they offer news stories and headlines about a double murder.

It will not be pretty, but it is possible the corruption of our judicial system by attorneys and media may become so unavoidable during this that neither the murder nor the defendant will not be what is recalled in years to come. An ensorcelling prospect, surely.