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If I Did It:
Justifying the Morally Reprehensible

Janet Kuypers, 11/28/06

My grandmother died when I was 19... I was away at college, and I heard from my sister that she had been going to the doctor because she had abdomen pain, and the doctor told her that she had a yeast infection. My widowed grandmother in her eighties knew what a yeast infection was like, and knew this wasn’t it. So she tried to tell the doctor this, but he made his mind up and sent her home. A day or two later my grandmother was in the hospital, because of a stomach problem, and she died in the hospital two days later.
And after my grandmother passed away, people asked if we were going to sue the doctor for his negligence, which probably contributed in some way to her death. And we thought no, we don’t want to deal with that hassle... And a part of me was going to tell you the story about my grandmother’s passing through the eyes of the doctor, you know, to say that maybe he intended to do this to my grandmother, but even if we thought he did, he could write an account how he would have done my grandmother in, if that was something he’d actually do.
But then again, we assume that this doctor wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt a patient, but had the generic stereotype in his head that this was on old woman who didn’t know better, so he’d tell her something to satiate her.
Oh, you know, that’s a bad example of my point. Let me think of another story... Wait, I was an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator for years, and I ran seminars about stopping sexism and rape in our communities... I can think of a story where a woman went to one of our seminars asking about what she could do to report a rape, even if not to the police. We told her that she could report it to the school board before she calmly told us she was raped six days earlier. And I thought about how calm she was, in the public setting, talking about being raped and wanting to do something about it, not falling apart, and I wondered about the mentality of the man who did this to her — was he a friend? Or did he live in the dorm near her? Or was he in a fraternity and she went to a new semester party and everyone was drinking?
Wait... I can’t really imagine the rapist, so I can’t elaborate on his intentions. I could tell you about a woman I know who was raped on her second day of college, by a man whom she had once dated and was (not seriously) starting to date again. He raped her in her own college dorm, with her own roommate passed out asleep in the bed next to her. From what I know, the man came to their dorm room, and he brought alcohol to two girls who didn’t drink before. He seemed to be pushing more liquor on his old girlfriend’s roommate; the victim (or “survivor,” as we were trained to refer to women who have survived a rape) thought at the time it was strange that he was trying to get her roommate more drunk. Well, both of the roommates were drunk by the end of the night, and the girls’ roommate literally passed out on her twin-sized bed. The still-conscious ex-girlfriend was probably conscious enough to do something about him having sex with her; she even remembered telling her therapist that she even happened to have a condom as a gift from someone else, and she told him to put it on (that she thought that it should at least be protected sex, if he was going to have sex with her and she didn’t — or couldn’t — push him away). She wondered after the fact if her telling him to use a condom made the act a legal act of consenting sex, but then her therapist told her that his pushing alcohol — especially on her roommate so she would be passed out — made this an act he used foresight before attacking her, and she was not at fault.
Well, I can’t legally jump to conclusions about the act or rape in this case (though I can say as a facilitator that if she felt rape after these circumstances, then from her perspective it was rape), but since I know something a little more about the rapist, I can do my best to tell this story from his perspective. You know, if he were to write a book after saying he didn’t rape her, about how he would have raped her, if he raped her.

“You see, I was in college for a year, and when you get away for your parent’s house and their strict rules, you’re able to have sex with people and not have a problem. And my girlfriend, well, we broke up when I went away to college that first year, but when I came back for the summer I started dating her again, and thought we could be together more intimately once we both go to college together. So when my girl and her roommate got into town and college started, I brought the liquor for them (they wouldn’t know where to get it on their first day in town for college), and I gave them drinks. So I was able to be with my girl that first night she was in town, and that was cool. But it was funny, she didn’t spend much time with me after that, her and her roommate had people from high school over a few nights later, and she was talking with other people, and me and my roommate spent the night at their dorm (with two twin-sized beds), and my girl even stayed in one bed with her roommate and another guy. I mean, we were all dressed, trying to sleep, but I was in a chair, and my roommate came to the get-together with me and he was in a chair too, trying to sleep. So yeah, it was weird, and like a week or two later, my girl said she didn’t want to see me anymore, even though I tried to be there for her.”

Hey, that wasn’t a bad story. And it seems really reasonable. But what would he have said if the world thought he was a rapist for a long time, say, over ten or 15 years? Let’s see what we can come up with for him...

“You know, everyone’s listening to her side of the story, so everyone thinks I did it. And you know. I only wanted that girl to be happy. I did my best for her. But you know, if I were to rape her, this is how I would have done it. I would be nice to her all summer, because I can get any girl I want in college, but I wanted to be able to have her once she got to college. Well, I’d try to butter her up and make her happy to be with me (hopefully she wouldn’t realize that she could have any guy she wanted when she got to college, ‘cause she’s hot). So when they’d get to college, I’d offer to come over to welcome them in, with lots of liquor. It’ll be easier to get her if I got her really drunk, which should be easy since she doesn’t drink. And her roommate doesn’t drink either, so I’ll work on getter her roommate really drunk, so she’ll pass out and leave us alone. Then I’d be with my girl and we’d be able to have sex, no problem.
It’s not any harder than that. What more do I need to say?”

Okay, that wasn’t too hard. Even if what he did could be considered rape, it’s pretty easy to some up with him telling a story like this. I mean, I’m an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator, and I was able to come up with that. Think of how easy it would be for the perpetrator of the crime to write the accounts down in a story, say they didn’t do it, and still be able to outline their crime in detail.
It’s easy.
It might seem like an insane thing to do, but it’s easy.

•••

Now think of that insanity, and place it not on someone who has raped someone, but on someone who has killed someone. Or better yet, place it on someone who has killed two people. The murderer might have had enough money to get an insanely good lawyer (insanity needs insanity to save itself, doesn’t it?), so that they wouldn’t be convicted of the murders. Even if a civil suit holds them liable, they can hire expensive lawyers to save them from having to pay money to the families of the two people they’ve killed (I mean, why should they have to pay money for the grief of the families of the people they’ve murdered? I mean, they weren’t convicted of committing the murders...).
But the thing is, I think I’ve sort of shown that even from an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator’s point of view, it’s not that hard to tell the story of “if I did it” from the perspective of someone who has actually committed the crime.
Although I’d have to say that I’d have to think that anyone who didn’t commit the crime (like, if someone didn’t kill their ex-wife and another man), they would never be able to tell a “hypothetical” story of what the crime would have been like if they actually did kill people. I mean, let the dead rest. Give some people some peace somehow (even if it’s not by paying the money that’s owed to the families of the victims).

•••

In the 11/27/06 issue of Newsweek, Mark Miller, Andrew Murr and Weston Kosova reported that Judith Regan’s imprint at HarperCollins was “set to publish a “fictional” account by O.J. that details how he would have killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman if he did kill them, which he still insists he did not.” The book is titled “If I Did It,” and was originally scheduled to appear with a two-part interview on the Fox network (it’s funny, Yahoo! news even reported that “Fox is a subsidiary of News Corp., which also owns Regan Books” — which means that the same company owns FOX broadcasting and the book publishing group, so it’s a double-whammy for the master company, to have its television stations advertise it’s book release during sweeps month...).
The Huffington Post even agreed with Newsweek by reporting in an AP article by Paul J. Gough that the interview that was supposed to air on Fox was “conducted by editor and book publisher Judith Regan.” No, that won’t be a slanted interview to sell more books...
(And when there was such a backlash against this book and televised interview, Regan continued to state that the reason she did this was to (A) try to get Simpson to confess, and (B) come to terms with the own sexual violence she had experienced in her own life. That and she swears left and right that she didn’t pay him for the book — but I’m sure she probably paid something like “O.J. Simpson Inc.” which would eventually get all of the money to him anyway...)
But to increase book size and sales, Simpson’s lawyer Yale Galanter (who claims to not have known about this book deal and would never endorse doing it) even told Newsweek that “Only one of the seven chapters deals with the murder, he says, and nowhere does O.J. admit to killing anyone.”
...And what I even found funny was that Newsweek reported that “as if to remind us that the burden of irony rests lighter on some than on others, Geraldo Rivera himself got on TV and railed against the evils of exploiting the victims.”
In doing this, Simpson doesn’t fear the law, because Simpson can’t be tried a second time for the crime. And Newsweek even reported that “But a Simpson family friend, who like many close to O.J. did not want to be named for fear of alienating him—says that money wasn’t his only motivation. “He’s long past caring at this point,” the friend says. “I think he’s saying, ‘You think I did it anyway, so let me make some money off of what you think.’ This is just one big f--- you from him.””.
Interesting, money isn’t his only motivation, they say... and it’s interesting that the murderer Simpson is trying to give the world a big fuck you to the rest of the world (those who saw past Johnnie Cochran’s “Chewbacca defense,” which got him off the hook by confusing people into believe anything — and sorry, if you won’t know the “Chewbacca defense,” you should watch South Park more often). On some moral levels, it’s a shame that he has the right to give it.
I even saw that Fox News reported (with AP contributing to their story) that “In a video clip on FOX’s Web site, an off-screen interviewer says to Simpson, “You wrote ‘I have never seen so much blood in my life.’” ... “I don’t think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood,” Simpson responds.”
Simpson now lives in Florida, which is probably because this way he doesn’t have to live in the same state as the people expecting $33.5 million from Simpson (you know, to make his money more unattainable). Because he hasn’t been able to get much work since the trial of the century (as it has been known to be called), Simpson now is forced to live on his $300,000 pension from the NFL (which is also money the Goldman and Brown families can’t touch to get their payment of what O. J. owes). Star Tribune in Minneapolis St. Paul even put it clearly: “Simpson has failed to pay the $33.5 million judgment against him in the civil case. His NFL pension and his Florida home cannot legally be seized. He and the families of the victims have wrangled over the money in court for years.” And Laurie Levenson, a Loyola University law school professor and former federal prosecutor who has followed the case closely, even said to the Star Tribune, “He can write pretty much whatever he wants. Unless he’s confessing to killing somebody else, he can probably do this with impunity.”
The New York Daily News’ Michelle Caruso (the Daily News’ West Coast Bureau Chief) even let us know some opinions from family members of the deceased on this... “Lou Brown, the father of murder victim Nicole Brown Simpson, said he wasn’t shocked to hear his ex-son-in-law was exploiting the tragedy. “I gave up on him many years ago,” Brown, 83” said to the New York Daily News. “As for Simpson’s book title, Brown said he has “absolutely no doubt” Simpson killed his daughter.” And the Goldman’s lawyer, Jonathan Polak “said he would explore legal action to get money from Simpson if he profits from the book and TV deal.”
Now, I know that Fox was the group that decided to take up this interview and book. And I know that after the outrage that the media broadcast about this project, Fox decided to stop the book and interview (I mean, they thought it was a good idea in sweeps month... and they forgot the American people might have a conscious after all...). But the Star Tribune even pointed out that “”This is not a project appropriate for our network,” said Rebecca Marks, a spokeswoman for the entertainment division of NBC, a network that once employed Simpson as a football analyst.” And granted, CBS said it was unaware of any pitch for the project, but it’s good to know (I think) that NBC, who had O.J. as a hot for football shows, wouldn’t touch this tiger with a ten-foot pole (want to know why I like NBC sometimes? Check out my article that was published at USA Today about NBC not succumbing to television guidelines and restrictions the way the government wanted them to do it...).
And you know, I have to quote a few other places here, because someone made the best comment known to mankind when they wrote about this whole fiasco... Tony Hicks, who is a Music Critic at the Contra Costa Times and also runs a show on A&E), who wrote that this book would “describe how, IF he killed his wife and her friend, he would’ve done it. Which of course, he did. I mean, he didn’t. Which we all know, since the legal system in the United States doesn’t make mistakes. ... So because he’s not getting much attention these days, and Leslie Nielsen still won’t return his phone calls, and he still can’t find the real killer, he” thinks that it would be a good idea to “hypothesize” about what the murder would have been like if he had killed them.
Tim Murphy of the Chicago Maroon even wrote in the aptly-titled “If I reviewed O.J.’s book, here is how it would go,” that “the consummate American renaissance man, Simpson has met success along every road that he has traveled in life. From the gridirons of his youth, to silver screen spoofs Airplane and Naked Gun, to double homicide and a Los Angeles courtroom, his record is impeccable.”
And if you can’t remember the heinousness of these two murders in 1994, Johnette Howard, a sports columnist for the News Day, reminded us of “how Nicole Brown was nearly decapitated by her killer in a single stroke or Goldman absorbed 47 stab wounds as he fought for his life.” You want spookiness in details and story telling? “Testimony indicated that Simpson had been stalking Nicole for weeks and had bought a long knife at the store shortly before the murders. The scores of highly stylized knives on display had exaggerated saw-toothed blades and names like The Raptor, Fury, First Blood, and Rambo II. This was no tony housewares place that peddled kitchen utensils. This was a gangbanger’s supply shop in a worn part of the city that also sold imitation Glock handguns, brass knuckles and martial arts weapons.” Hearing information like this makes it impossible to think that O.J. Simpson could have really gotten off on the charges — especially when supported by so much DNA evidence.

•••

So yeah, after all of this nonsense, and after every cable news station broadcasting anything lambasting the book publisher and broadcasting center that would release this (although people would watch the interview, even if it is just O.J.’s contrived fake answer to something that isn’t real, it would be fascinating to watch the free spectacle versus pay for a book...), a few people would publicly admit that if nothing else, they could turn it on and watch it for a few minutes before turning it off disgustedly. You know, just so they could stand around the water cooler the next morning and say, ‘Yeah, I did have it on for a few minutes, but then I had to turn it off...’
Well, after all of this nonsense, Fox News decided to cancel the book and interview they were broadcasting (since they owned both outlets, one was a broadcast medium for the other, what a great system...). In their formal statement in New York: “News Corp., the parent company of book publisher HarperCollins and the FOX network, has canceled publication of the O.J. Simpson book and television special “If I Did It.” ... “I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project,” News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said. “We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.””

•••

My brother-in-law was just online days after the decision was made to not publish the book and release the mock interview, and he saw that on ebay, a ‘black market’ copy of the O. J. Simpson book was available for bidding, and the highest bid (so far, with over eight days left to the bidding war and before ebay could pull the tasteless and illegal listing from their site) was over $20,000. Now, someone’s probably making a lot of money for a book they probably don’t have, but as long at the one hosting the bid is out of the country, ebay can’t do a thing other than pull the listing, otherwise someone will eventually be out of a lot of money.
You know, maybe I should write a book and sell it print-on-demand about all of this, and advertise it like mad on ebay. Because it is all about the money, so why not?
But more importantly, maybe I should send an email to O. J. Simpson (or O. J. Simpson, Inc., or whatever) and offer to release the book for him. I mean, I’d never buy the book, but if I had to design it and give it an ISBN number and release it for sale on the Internet, I’d get a copy for part of the design work. Think it’s an awful idea? Well, is some schmuck would by a black market copy for so much money, you can’t say everyone in this country is above the Simpson insanity. It’s like wanting to drive by an accident real slowly, you can’t help but stare. It’s in our nature.




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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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