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Friday, November 17

that depends on what the definition of "if" is

There should be a regular feature column on bad judgment. Social faux pas that reveal perhaps what we really intend to hide. Macaca. Trent Lott sent to hide in the attic for having the bad judgment to reveal the racism of Republicans. Forgetting in the confusion that was 9/11 that Rudy Gulliani, what a stand up guy, what a leader, announced on television to his wife and children what they already knew, that he had a girlfriend, yes that one he brought into the Mayor's house, and he was getting a divorce. What the hell did he do on 9/11? He was in town before Bush got there. Well, he is the mayor and he didn't hide in his office. So he should be our president?

We like murder. We like it a lot. Someone said, "Bad men do what good men dream." As a culture we really like violence against women. We really like to kill ourselves an uppity bitch.

So Judith Regan, who enjoyed trysting with New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik in an apartment overlooking the crime scene of the World Trade Center, publishes O.J. Simpson's roman a clef. Fox will televise the interview. If I Did It. That depends on what the definition of "if" is. Perhaps if Ms. Regan, Mr. Simpson, and Mr. Murdock would donate their profits to domestic violence victims and Mr. Simpson could pay the judgment against him for murdering two people, then I could see it. Simpson won't pay the families of his victims because to do so is, evidently, an admission or recognition of his guilt. But he will write about his prowess as an athletic murderer of two people under the guise of producing fiction.

Who is the sicker? The editor, the publisher, the author? Or the reader? Blaming Regan for publishing Simpson's return to his most stunning achievement is like blaming a woman for making her mad dog husband kill her. Is it that he killed two people or that he will now profit from it? Or that we want to be entertained by a description of the crime many wish to commit. We hate women so much that there is a culture that exists for media to produce and consumers to, well, consume. Regan isn't any more disturbed than we are. She is simply noting our own death wish, our own participation in our own misery.

The only thing he didn't do was consume their flesh after he nearly beheaded them. He certainly consumed Nicole Brown's life. Now he can enjoy her all over again and this time he invites us to watch. It would only be more thrilling if we could smell the coppery scent of their blood; if he offered us a knife so we can carry the ball with him. The invitation would not have been printed if they didn't know we would come. Am I not aware of the irony of complaining about that which repulses me? Compulsion-revulsion. Paging Dr. Freud.

Regan is profiting from the murder of two human beings. The next step on the ladder of degradation and depravity isn't that she is publishing a confession. The next step is asking him to do it again for the cameras. The next step is asking a killer can we go along, video recorder in hand, to the crime scene he is about to create.

Murdock knows how to package carnage as reportage. What is surprising is some people are surprised by this new true crime novel marketed as fiction.

The Passion of the Christ. Michael Jackson singing about how he wants to make a difference in people's lives. Simpson describes how he would, if he could, kill his wife and a young man. A snuff film reduced to type, to words on a page. Are there color photos of the crime scene? How does he explain his blood at the scene? And just as Bush can't find Osama, Simpson has yet to find the "real killers." How is he to explain himself to his children?

Indeed, how will the national father figure President George W. Bush explain to us how he killed our children by lying to us about the reasons for going to war in Iraq? How do we as a culture participate in hearing the lie. Do we feel burned for being lied to or for allowing him to lie to us? How do you feel about Simpson lying to you again? Are you upset that he lies to us or that you want to hear the lie?

Will Simpson describe Ron Goldman as merely an opponent keeping him from the goal line? Someone to run through to make a touchdown? Aren't we entertained by these murders which were committed in a terrible expression of agility and strength as much as we were entertained by Simpson's athletic ability? And of course the victims are once again merely rendered passive like sticky tackling dummies. Goldman and Brown's murders are more about Simpson's abilities than their own deaths.

And we like to watch from our morally superior reading chair.

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