About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Monday, November 20, 2006
OJ carnival, all over again
I am honestly having a hard time picking out the bad guy in this story, since there are so many of them. OJ himself, of course, who very likely did kill on that fateful night, who has been able to shield himself from having to pay civil court damages to the families of the victims, and who is now about to profit from his crime and bask in the limelight once again. A large segment of the American public, who first couldn't conceive of a black football star being a murderer, and who now will avidly buy his book and see the television special that Fox (who else) will be broadcasting on November 27 and 29. Judith Regan, the high power publisher of the book, who insists that she is doing it for the good of humanity. Several local affiliates of Fox, who decided to boycott the broadcast because the American public is a bit outraged that somebody could profit from other people's tragedies (don't laugh!).
But my favored villain of the moment is Bill O'Reilly. The insane host of Fox News is scandalized by the (Fox's) decision to broadcast the interview with OJ. With no sense of irony at all, Bill called that decision “a low point in American culture.” Funny, I thought his show had already taken that prize. O'Reilly said that he will not see the show or read the book, apparently seeing no contradiction at all in a self-styled “journalist” who refuses to see for himself before criticizing. Moreover, he stated that “if any company sponsors the TV program, I will not buy anything that company sells — ever.” Now, somebody pointed out to O'Reilly that the chief sponsor of the program is Fox Broadcasting, which owns both the publishing house that is putting out the book (ReganBooks) and Fox News, for which our hero actually works. In a typical, if astounding, denial of reality, O'Reilly claimed that (Fox) Broadcasting has nothing whatsoever to do with (Fox) News, so that he can blissfully continue to have his cake and eat it too. Hopefully, he will choke on it.
BREAKING NEWS! As I was about to post this, news broke that Rupert Murdoch, the Emperor of the Fox empire, has decided to cancel both the TV special and the release of the book! Murdoch, of course, is casting this as a matter of decency and sensitivity to the American public, dodging talk of an economic backlash against Fox should a large section of the public finally get sufficiently sickened by the whole OJ affair. Now, if only Mr. Murdoch would take the next step and spare the sensitive American public from the idiocies spouted daily by Bill O'Reilly...