Sometime during the preliminary hearings I felt a vast and utter repugnance for the whole bloody shebang and its muddy aftermath; I found myself viscerally unable to read one more word of commentary.
A man with a planed and beautiful face had allegedly killed his ex-wife (a woman with a partygoing face and a spectacular body) and her friend (Ron Goldman, doomed, it would appear, to be an historical footnote; murdered, one might say, twice over)
I assumed Mr. Simpson’s guilt on the evidence available to me.
Mr. Simpson (you can’t think I will call him O.J.) had hitherto barbarically beaten and terrorized Nicole Brown Simpson – bodybuilding and apparent vacuity not being mitigating factors in her fearful alarm or exculpatory factors in his demented actions – and he had, as a consequence, left behind two innocent children.
(Innocent, as regards children, is a redundancy; but the offspring of murdered parents live all their lives in the weird light of ineffable sophistication and blamelessness, the only word for which we can find is innocence.)
My repugnance was indistinguishable from a kind of fever: It was nausea and revulsion; like any illness, it became itself the focus of intense interest to me, so that finally my questions were about myself and not – perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit – about Mr. Simpson or even about his victims, lying (in my forever-stained imagination) in a sludgy river of blood.
May I say, without incurring wrath, that I didn’t like her face?
May I also say: So what? Whether she had a “good” face is neither here nor there. I don’t care. I don’t care what she did or didn’t do to incur his deranged anger. Fuck him. He’s a man, isn’t he? Thus by definition, given to exercising control.
So why didn’t he exercise control over his bad self?
Don’t tell he couldn’t. It is the civilized imperative not to give in to acts of savagery – the strong must learn, if necessary to compensate for their strength, just as the weak have had to learn (pity us all) to compensate for their weaknesses.
I do also heterodoxically believe that women provoke men. We do it with words, and we do it with our bodies. So what?
Some women choose not to be weaponless in a world they perceive to be a battlefield in which they are, if not outnumbered, out- or overmanned. And some women have bad characters, just as others have bad tempers. So what?
If a woman were a slut and a spendthrift, a tease and a user (and I don’t mean to imply that Nicole Brown Simpson was any of those things), a man is still not allowed to hit her. Period. It is not permissible.
If a woman were to get down on all fours and beg for a beating, a man who was truly a man would not oblige. This may be unfair to men. So what. Life isn’t fair, ask any woman. In a folie à deux that involves a beating, a man is culpable. Always.
Isn’t it all odd. I’ve been waiting and waiting, but the words white and blonde have not been a featured part of the equation; racism seems not to be what all this is about. Celebrity is what this is about, no? Wouldn’t we treat Joe Namath (or whoever the new hot white football player is) in exactly the same way?
And yet, in a racist country, how could race – his blackness, her whiteness – not be on the agenda? Is it, sub rosa? What does it not infect, after all? Is the very fact that so little has been made of the interracial nature of their marriage proof – as someone told me – that racism is the primary issue? How is it?
… Unable to sleep, I watch an old Hitchcock TV mystery in the early hours of the morning. It has something, I dimly perceive to do with sports. At the end, Mr Hitchcock says: “I am quite the athlete, don’t you know? My favourite sports are chess, falconry, and wife beating.”
What is wrong with men?
Why is a man who carries a ball to fame a role model? What exactly is it people thought O.J. Simpson had to teach them? What role?
Does it matter anymore?
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison Mother Jones (October 1994)