Friday, December 5, 2008

Justice delayed: O.J. on ice

So O.J.'s going to jail and nobody much cares. It's about time. We've come a long way since 1995.

I remember the first O.J. trial. Every white person in the room was stunned, not so much by the verdict as by the ensuing images of black people celebrating the acquittal. I was struck then by how clueless I'd been about race: A black man skates on a double-murder rap and people are dancing in the streets like he's just won the Super Bowl. I was thinking at the time: OK, I get it now.

It looks like O.J. will be on ice for about half as long as long as he's eluded responsibility for the two killings he so obviously performed. That's long enough to write another book. But maybe he won't want to. His last one, If I Did It, might have had something do with his last diehard defenders finally folding their tents. Before that, if you squinted just so and discarded all the evidence, it was possible to believe he'd been the victim of a racist conspiracy. But there he was confessing for cash, and any pretense of victimhood went right out the window.

O.J. was a lucky man, until just recently. He was a brutal, sloppy killer who got off by somehow becoming the poster child for every racial injustice committed in this country since the Civil War. But there's a saying: Luck never gives; it only lends. The day he rolled into a Vegas hotel room with a coterie of thugs, the bill came due.

I won't miss O.J. Simpson. I won't miss Fred Goldman, whose hair and outrage seemed more synthetic with each passing year. I sure won't miss the knee-jerk racial sensitivities of the '90s, which made a sociopathic millionaire a cause celebre.

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