O.J. Simpson and Cultural Terrorism

In a more innocent time, television treated us to spectacles like alien autopsies, Geraldo blowing open Al Capone's vault, and David Copperfield making pyramids disappear.

Now, fittingly for an age when terrorists are strapping bombs on children and flying airplanes into office buildings, the most notorious sports figure in American history is ready to appear on television and tell how he might have murdered his ex-wife -- the mother of his children -- and her friend.

Not only that: he's putting out a how-to book on the whole thing, and pocketing over three million dollars for his efforts.

This is a kind of terrorism -- cultural terrorism -- that chills the blood and boggles the mind. It speaks to crassness. It reeks of ego. It drips cynicism, drop by drop, and it carries O.J.'s DNA. The man who led the country on a slow-speed chase through the freeways of California is continuing to lead people, mile by mile, exit by exit, through the darker avenues of media exploitation.

What kind of a man does this sort of thing? What sort of person replays a horrendous murder, as if he were there (which, one court ruled, he was) for titillation or shock or entertainment value? What sort of person seeks to profit from turning a bloodbath into a product, to be sold at Barnes & Noble or TiVo-ed in Topeka? What kind of a father treats his children to that kind of spectacle, evidently without shame?

What kind of editor, publisher or broadcaster traffics in this kind of merchandise?

And what kind of an audience will watch it, in between commercials for snow tires, cold medicine, Christmas cards and pills for erectile dysfunction?


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