I know it feels like a bad case of déjà vu, but yes, OJ Simpson is in the news again.
This time around he’s made headlines for himself by being held without bail for allegedly robbing a man at gunpoint in Las Vegas. The victim, a collector of sports memorabilia, was accused by Simpson of hording some of the ex-NFL star’s collectables. Some of the goods OJ included were signed jerseys, footballs and the suit he wore the day he was acquitted of murder in 1995. Not included were tiny, black gloves. The entire confrontation was caught on tape and can be heard at TMZ.com.
Rather predictably, Simpson denies any wrongdoing. He claims instead that he was merely taking back his belongings. Whatever the case, the media is sure to be in a frenzy over the story. Meanwhile, those who believed OJ got off the hook for murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend, Ron Goldman, can revel in the news of his probable incarceration. The Goldman and Brown families have got to be feeling especially jubilant.
One thing is clear: If OJ does end up in the slammer, it would be a true pity, seeing as he has become such a promising writer. I am referencing, of course, Simpson’s hot-off-the-shelf, feel-good book of the year, If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer. OK, so the book says the author is the Killer, not Simpson, the “If” is barely legible, and apparently a ghostwriter was involved, but who are we kidding? Originally titled the less matter-of-fact, If I Did It, the story was re-edited and published under its new title by the Goldman family, who acquired the rights to the book through a court ruling. For those who need their memories refreshed, this is the same Goldman family that was awarded $33.5 million dollars with the Brown family in 1997, when a Santa Monica civil court found Simpson liable for Goldman’s wrongful death. If that last line seems confusing, it should. OJ was acquitted in a criminal trial in 1995, only to be found guilty two years later in a civil case. I implore any legal experts out there to explain the logic behind this. But, alas, I have digressed.
Ignoring an otherwise long and complex back-story, the Goldmans have agreed to release the grimly detailed book, with its proceeds going towards the $33.5 million Simpson never gave the families. The economics of this decision notwithstanding, it disturbs me on many levels to know that this book is being published, let alone by the Goldmans. I’m not the only one who feels this way either. The Brown family is furious over the matter, and refused to go on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” with the Goldmans to promote the book. I applaud them for showing some decency and not giving in to the ever-dangerous lure of monetary gain.
The way I see it is like this. Do the Goldmans deserve to make back their money? Yes, but not through the immoral promotion of such a degenerate form of literature. Not only is its concept vile and disgusting, it also reopens the wounds the victims’ families suffered after Brown’s and Goldman’s lives were taken. Simpson might not be making a cent off the book, but I still cannot help but get the feeling that it makes him happy knowing how many copies have sold. And that thought makes me sick.
At first I hoped that, regardless of where the proceeds went, people wouldn’t actually want to buy this book. Sadly, one quick look on Amazon.com was all I needed to see how naive I was. As of writing this, it’s sitting at #2 on the site’s best sellers list. The pathetic truth is that the masses want to get inside the head of a killer or, as Fred Goldman, Ron’s father, has been quoted, see the “monster that [OJ] is.” Even if you look at this book as a confession, which is how the Goldmans, Simpson’s ghostwriter and much of the public view it, I still can’t see any legitimate reason to read it. Fine, he confessed. I did not need 254 pages to convince me that this guy is a guilty bastard. To even imagine reading a book about how a man would hypothetically kill someone you loved is almost comical it’s so ludicrous. And yet here it is, at #2. I’d keep pinching myself, but it’s starting to hurt.