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

You may remember the big charade that was the O.J. Simpson trial back in 1994, from the “slow chase” of his white Bronco by the police on the California freeways to the infamous “if it doesn't fit you must acquit” parlor trick orchestrated by the defense, to the astounding ignorance of the jury about the overwhelming DNA evidence in the case. Well, the show ain't over yet. OJ is about to release a book on the case entitled “If I Did It,” in which he tells the story of how he might have killed his wife and her boyfriend, though of course the whole thing is entirely hypothetical, wink wink.

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...


  1. The title of his book was going to be "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened."
    Not even "here's how it *might* have happened" ...
    Ron Goldman's dad is taking quite a heroic stand in forcing cancellation of the book, as I'm pretty sure he hasn't recieved all the payment he is due after his successful lawsuit against OJ.

  2. Rupert Murdoch is, IMO, the s*** of the year. He's just bought an 18% stake in ITV, as his march to a monoply of the British media continues with nary a peep from the supine British government, who see approving headlines in Murdoch's tabloids as their primary goal.
    BTW, Max, did you read Daredevil comics as a child?

  3. Kimpatsu,

    yup, I did read Daredevil, but I preferred Spiderman and the Fantastic Four... :)

  4. Massimo,
    you know OJ was set up, right?
    just kidding!

  5. It's not surprising that jurors were ignorant of DNA evidence and how it should be interpreted. Lawyers actively prevent anyone who actually knows anything about relevant science from serving on juries. They want the jurors to only "know" what they have told them.

  6. If similar evidence as was used in the OJ trial was presented against me at trial, I would think I was guilty of a double murder. That's how strong it was, in my opinion. But reverse racism exists. "Kill whitey!", and all that.
    Take Michael "Kramer" Richard's remarks. On a radio talk show, I heard a caller state that "the few black characters on Seinfeld were used as props and always shown in a negative light". The problem with that is that most characters on Seinfeld were shown in a negative light. Everyone on that show was either a jerk or portrayed as an idiot. Cherry picking is so damn easy and misleading. Ask Fox News.

  7. The point I was (trying to make humourously), Max, was that Rupert Murdoch spells his name with an "h": MurdocH. Matt MurdocK, with a "k", is Daredevil's alter ego.
    Good thing I'm not a professional comedian...

  8. Kimpatsu,

    thanks for the note, where's my personal editor??? :)

  9. anon: "Ron Goldman's dad is taking quite a heroic stand in forcing cancellation of the book.."

    Good for him! Hope he suceeds. Unfortunately MONEY always talks louder than reason.

    My mother-in-law is a victim's advocate and has occasion to meet some of the Goldman family. Our family has likewise lost four family members (including three little girls) to a violent crime.

    I personally think that the whole thing from start to finish is such a disgrace, that it seems disgusting to even give any airtime WHATSOEVER to anything Oj does. Seriously.


  10. The lawyers really should make Simpson like breakfeast juice over this: freshly squeezed... ;)


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