More obnoxious than Bart, more clueless than Marge, more self-righteous than Homer, the most insufferable Simpson of them all is universally acknowledged: Orrenthal James. There are few matters we can agree upon as a nation in this time of exaggerated partisanship, but this is one of them. The justice system never laid a glove on O.J., could not get the punishment to fit the crime, and acquitted itself poorly. Poor Ron Goldman’s father did not get justice, but at least he did get a judgment.
Since making an insipid vow to track his ex-wife’s real killers to the ends of the earth, O.J. has returned full-time to the rigorous lifestyle of maximum fun-having. This can wear down even the strongest constitutions, yet the unemployed, unemployable former running back keeps on keeping on with relentless aplomb. The entire nation has been engaged in a slow-speed car chase after this guy for a dozen years without succeeding in reeling him in.
As seems inevitable in the life of bad actors (and O.J. fulfilled both senses of that title), their years of evading retribution inspire a level of hubris to make you bristle even if you were once an admirer. Last year, the Juice signed a mutually insane deal with Judith Regan’s imprint, a division of Harper Collins, to produce a work entitled If I Did It. The premise — the delusion, more like — was that he would lay out the manner in which he might have gone about murdering his ex-wife had he been the sort of mean rotten scoundrel who might consider such a course of action.
When people caught wind, or miasma, of what was about to hit their local barns of noble literature, they freaked. When people freaked, Rupert Murdoch freaked. Murdoch owns HarperCollins and decided that Judith Regan had festooned the public face of the business with a black eye, a bloody nose and a cauliflower ear. So to round out the effect he added a wired jaw and tossed the project, along with the redoubtable Ms. Regan, into the nether world inhabited by such luminaries as Michael Jackson.
The book would have disappeared but for the industriousness, though arguably not the good taste, of Ron Goldman’s dad. O.J. owes him 33.5 million, give or take a stray zero (like Kato Kaelin?), and he has not collected much beyond a fancy cutlery set oddly missing one piece. So off to court he went and he got the judge to confiscate the manuscript, and its publishing rights, and award them to the Goldmans toward paying that long overdue invoice. The book is just coming out now, climbing instantly to #1 on Amazon this weekend.
In the midst of all this wackiness, O.J. felt a need to express himself somehow. In these moments our atavistic impulses tend to reign supreme, so he reverted to being a Buffalo Bill. He and some colleagues went to repossess some memorabilia taken unlawfully from his property by a former employee and now being offered for auction among the ghouls and ogres who relish such souvenirs. Apparently, O.J. and his friends augmented their powers of persuasion (waving their arms) by bringing various weapons along (waving their arms). All of this drama transpired — where else? — in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Well, the cops in that desert para-paradise are not too keen on folks practicing thuggery in the snuggery. But more importantly, there is not a cop on God’s Blue Earth who would not like to wear O.J.’s scalp on his or her belt. As Confucius famously said: “He who has fuzz on his tail should not try to scratch all his itches.” This man had to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, much less this sort of disappearance by impropriety.
He is now under arrest in Las Vegas, in a room without windows or clocks. Then again, so is everyone else in that city. The difference is there are no slots left for him, no more spins, no more deals, no more paydays. I don’t care where they peer to find this jury, I can assure you they will add some serious insult in jury. They will lock the door and throw away his keester. The long hand of the law has got him where they want him and he ain’t goin’ nowheres anytime soon. The prosecutor will hardly have to put up a case, even if Johnnie Cochran comes as an apparition to argue on his behalf.
What happened in Las Vegas — whatever it was, right, wrong or indifferent — will be staying in Las Vegas… for a long, long time.