The Day the Music Died
Two intelligent men, Roger Simon and Ed Morrissey, ponder the phenomenon that is OJ Simpson. Roger describes the OJ trial as a psychological pivot; the day he realized how things really were and how that knowledge changed his life. Captain Ed for his part sees in OJ a terrible looking-glass in which our notions of celebrity are reflected back with the grotesqueness of a funhouse mirror. "It's very likely that no American celebrity has managed to dissipate his life so totally and completely, legally, financially, and morally, as Simpson has done over the last thirteen years. And maybe that's the fascination."
Murder of course, sets OJ apart from comparison with Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. But I wonder if I would be wrong in thinking that OJ may be the least conscious of these ironies; that maybe right at this very moment, he is totally oblivious to the tragic figure that he cuts or the lives he has blighted and is simply thinking about how to get out of jail and recover the sports memorabilia that he thinks is his. One reason why people find it hard to understand apparently nonsensical crimes -- such as when we read about a man murdered for a slice of pizza -- is that we refuse to accept that some people can kill for pizza.
The quality that I have found most dangerous in other human beings -- and you don't even find it in all murderers -- is when they are in a complete state of nature; where sex is a just an itch to gratified, hunger just a craving, anger something to be fed. Such people are fundamentally no different from Great White Sharks prowling the oceans. They'll take off your leg without even hearing you scream, just as long as they have something to chew on.
I don't know whether OJ is like that: cruising around behind that smile with his fangs out. But I know that some people can just go on wrecking lives, incuding their own, without thinking anything of it. You can feel sorry for them, as long as you keep your distance or are ready to hit as hard as they hit you without the slightest hesitation yourself. That's your concession to nature; learning that you're an animal is unfortunately part of being a man. Nothing follows.