Friday, November 17, 2006

An OJ-Free Zone

By and large, I avoid OJ Simpson. Skipping his trial and all the media and books surrounding it has probably added about two years of free time to my life. (Sure, I saw the chase and the verdict, but a LOT of the other stuff I avoided.) So when they announced his new book "If I Did It" and a TV special in which OJ discusses how IF he killed, this is how he would have done it, I just ignored it. But this press release by Judith Regan, the publisher of the book, is too vile to let pass without comment. Her press release is entitled "Why I Did It," because why pass up any chance to promote the book. Regan says several remarkable things.

1. Regan says she wanted to do the OJ book because she was a victim of domestic violence -- I'm sorry to hear that, but wouldn't being a victim of domestic violence mean she would want to stay as far away from the most notorious wife beater of the last 50 years?
2. Regan wanted to hear OJ confess -- except she admits OJ doesn't confess. The entire book is apparently a vile game of "what if" and wink-wink discussion of what happened. That is FAR from a confession. For a real confession, someone must admit what they did and feel sorry for it.
3. ''My son is now 25 years old, my daughter 15,'' said Regan's statement. ''I wanted them, and everyone else, to have a chance to see that there are consequences to grievous acts. ... And I wanted, as so many victims do, to hear him say, 'I did it and I am sorry.''' Again, the last thing OJ would do is say he's sorry because he doesn't admit to the killings in the first place. And exactly what consequences has OJ faced? Another million dollar+ book deal? That's the lesson she wants her kids to hear? And what about OJ's kids? Did she ever think, Gee, he may want to come back into the spotlight, but maybe rehashing the cruel murder of their mother won't be the best thing for his kids.
4. ''I didn't know if he would,'' she wrote. ''But I wanted to try. I wanted his confession.'' -- Is Regan a priest? Did OJ indicate he wanted to make a real confession? No, he came to her with a cutesy way of skirting the law and getting back in the spotlight and making money.
5. Regan said she did not pay Simpson for the book. ''I contracted through a third party who owns the rights, and I was told the money would go to his children. That much I could live with.'' -- In other words, Regan conspired with OJ to deny the families of the people he murdered any chance of receiving the monies owed to them through the sales of this book. OJ owes millions of dollars to the families of Nicole and Ron Goldman and he's done everything in his power to avoid doing so. Sales of this book could have gone directly to them. Not that they'd want blood money out of OJ seizing the spotlight, but surely that would have been more defensible than scheming to thwart justice and pay the money to a third party to make sure the families DIDN'T get any of it.
6. ''What I wanted was closure, not money,'' she wrote. Oh, so Regan is donating every single penny from the sales of this book and TV special to the families owed millions by OJ and domestic violence charities? She fails to mention that in her press release.
7. Finally, Regan compares publishing this book to keeping Mein Kampf in print. Yes, this game of "I'm not saying I killed her but if I had...." is comparable to a work by one of the most infamous and well-known historical figures of the 20th century. Nope. OJ isn't of even the slightest historical significance; he's a footnote and Regan just made more money off of peddling his story.

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