International Writers Magazine: Comment:
O.J. SIMPSON CULTURAL MIRROR STRIKES AGAIN
How a Murderous Ex-Jock Exposes Our Ills
Sanctimonious, hypocritical, disingenuous media harping.
this juicy nugget could make me bag a perfectly serviceable plan
to send the demented correspondence I get from you lunatics to
press before whisking off into a long Thanksgiving weekend booze
haze in Key West. Instead, I send my own departing love note to
my pedantic brethren in the fourth estate. Then we get down to
shredding whatever passes for common decency on the Gulf of Mexico
So Harper Collins and Fox Television attempted to make
a buck on O.J. Simpson's desperate notoriety grab. It's not like the
man was skipping a double-murder charge. This already happened. Outrage
then was justified. Now it just seems like collective sore loser whining.
For those comfortable in their bubble existence, and I,
for one, do not blame you, O.J. Simpson has scribbled some kind of pamphlet
camouflaged as a book called "If I Did It", which postulates
his having committed a crime he actually committed -- the murder of
his ex-wife and a very unlucky waiter.
No matter how you view this confusing scenario: strange
Lewis Carroll jabberwocky or a nifty Abbott & Costello routine,
it is fascinating stuff and a guaranteed ratings bonanza for FOX Entertainment,
which happens to own the book's publishing concern, Harper Collins.
This is not unlike those interminable Simon and Schuster book plugs
masquerading as news on 60 Minutes, a product of CBS News, owned by
CBS Enterprises, which owns, you guessed it, Simon and Schuster.
But incestuous corporate shenanigans aside, making scratch
off of salacious, gruesome, sensationalistic tripe and the tasteless
picking of bones is the very aim and purpose of having publishing houses
and television production companies in the first place -- not to mention
the only reasons to endure a mainstream media. The real outrage is that
any of you "watchdogs for decency" believe otherwise.
Grow up. What is this Journalism 101 with Professor Tweed
Jacket & Elbow Patches waxing poetic about the code of reporter
ethics, serving the common good, and ridding the planet of evil? Join
us in the new century. It's the same as the old century, and all the
centuries' prior. Freak shows sell. Reality entertainment is a cheap
bilk and has excellent resale value. This stuff is business, not art.
It sure as hell isn't anything that needs a hearty debate on principles.
Exactly when did book publishing and TV nonsense need
a code of ethics? And what exactly is a code of ethics? Our ethics?
Please. I've worked for all levels of the Big Three, jack; television,
newspapers, and radio, and not one minute of it did I get the idea anyone
was in it for the exaltation of humankind.
All these soapbox soldiers railing against exploitation
while working for major newspapers and television concerns is the very
definition of irony. This lame pilfering of Rupert Murdock, CEO of Fox
Entertainment, and Judith Regan of Harper Collins is as stupid as getting
all worked up over another outrageous Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh
statement. Murdock and Regan are business buddies who've made millions
on "shocking" celebrity refuse. Hey, come to think of it,
Regan published both Stern's and Limbaughs's books, among other cash-grab
Still, the usual low-rent pundits have been checking in
all over the joint. I was going to print some of the outrage, but I
didn't want to waste any bitching space.
Suffice to say, you've likely read it or heard most of
it. And the worst has been coming from sports columnists, who rarely
get to play outside the toy department -- getting all self-righteous
and preachy again, like during the Senate hearings on steroids. It would
have been nice of them to get self-righteous and preachy in the late-nineties
when all these jock-sniffing assholes were getting rich off of human
But I cease and desist from excoriated sportswriters for
anything. It's like blaming your dog for property taxes. The real silliness
began at FOXEWS, where Bill O'Reilly, whom I assume cashes Rubert Murdock's
checks, went ballistic over this thing, threatening to boycott sponsors
of the scheduled O.J./FOX broadcast. If O'Reilly really wanted to impress
anyone he'd quit FOX altogether. But he didn't. You know why? Who would
hire this performing seal other than FOX? It's the perfect home for
his goofy antics. Unfortunately for O'Reilly, it was also the perfect
home for O.J. Simpson's antics. This makes pious phonies angry. They
want the whole pie. Sharing is anathema to media whores.
And this brings us to O.J. Simpson.
Until the events of 9/11, the O.J. Simpson trial was the
defining moment of a generation. It had all the elements of true cultural
drama and paraded the most important issues of our times in front of
the nation: lawspeak, race, and the abuse of 24-hour media coverage.
Thus, I believe anything to do with O.J. is news, even this farce. It's
either that or more mindless shit about Tom Cruise or the Royal Family
or some dumb-ass football creep like Terrell Owens.
C'mon, O.J. is our gremlin. He's the ghost in our machine,
like these trolls we have in the White House or Michael Jackson. Personally,
I have a need to see the fallout. More importantly, I have the right
to see it.
But, alas, as I write this it looks like FOX is caving
into sponsor pressure or bailout, which are how these things usually
get settled. Who is willing to pay for them? My guess is someone somewhere
will be willing to pay for this dung eventually. I might. Maybe I can
broker an Internet deal. Anything goes on the Internet. Call YOUTUBE!
I'll listen to offers now. Can't be worse than taking
money to pen this mess.
© James Campion November 21st 2006
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