Archive for November 27th, 2007

It’s a big dividing point between American expats as far as maintaining a capacity to take in and digest present day events in the country, the 12th of June 1994.

You are forgiven if the date doesn’t set bells clanging, as events of the day easily float to the bottom of the cesspool that started filling then and continues to this day. To put it simply, this was the day Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were brutally butchered in a Southern California condo.

What followed could now probably be traced as the headwaters of Reality TV, and it ended with OJ Simpson winning the “Got Away With Murder” award.

People living in the States through that process followed along, joined the discussion, watched the glove show-and-dance, knew what Johnnie Cochran drank, how F. Lee Bailey took his coffee and what Marcia Clark was going to do next with her hair. Who didn’t have an opinion on Lance Ito, was more than a bit uncomfortable with Mark Fuhrman or thought Kato Kaelin was a moron? Eating, drinking and sleeping the OJ trail was common behavior as a cult-like fixation drew in more and more media junkies.

The verdict brought whatever emotions it brought, and those who lived through it can still be brought to a froth over specifics.

Those who left the country BOJ (Before OJ) … me, for instance … certainly heard about the case, most likely a lot, but didn’t live and breathe it. We weren’t surrounded by the story, didn’t run into video of white Mustangs and blood-soaked walkways twice a day, and weren’t assailed by details, speculation and conjecture every time we turned on a radio or opened a newspaper. We didn’t live with OJ’s oversized smirk popping up on every corner, live coverage and endless footage of the same scenes and statements over and over and over again.

Because we missed all this, we never moved into the groove that grew accustomed to the frenzy, that began to see the hype as justifiable and the massive media as a citizen’s right to know, and we didn’t for a moment see the verdict coming. In other words, we found ourselves left out of the loop that found getting away with murder a logical consequence of celebrity.

Much that has happened since in America remains puzzling to BOJs like me. The 2000 presidential election is one example; the bullshit blind involvement in Iraq, another.

Today, it’s a CNN piece that has me scratching my head … the one about the University of Pennsylvania professor who beat his wife to death last year as she wrapped Christmas presents. He’s finally fessed up and is likely to do 4.5 to 7 years for his crime.

Excuse me, but WTF kind of sentence is that?

And what kind of sentences are these … ?

“What kept them there [in the marriage] was their undying love for their daughter Olivia,” said Art Gregory, who is now raising the girl. “Both of them put Olivia first, beyond anything else, unfortunately to a very tragic end.”

Rafael Robb apologized to Olivia, who was not in court, and said he was “very remorseful.”

“I know she liked her mother. … And now she doesn’t have a mother,” he said, stifling tears..

This is how cold-blooded murder is covered in the US today? With “stifling tears” and not one single mention of how appalling it is that a creep who bludgeoned his wife to death in the middle of her Christmas prep will probably be out by Christmas 2009 … having to do his own gift wrap, thankyouverymuch … seeing as how he’s unlikely to find a wife to kill while in prison, so should get time off for good behavior, and probably also for time served while hoping to slip the noose without having to admit that he bloody well did it?

Like coming into “Lost” in the second season, having missed the OJ show I just can’t get up to speed with so much in America these days and the point of the plot is lost on me completely.

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