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CHOCO
Nov 12th, 2002, 07:33 PM
Posted on Tue, Nov. 12, 2002

Fuhrman, O.J. symbols of our time
BY GLENN GARVIN
ggarvin@herald.com

O.J.: A Study In Black And White, 10-11 tonight. HBO.

Dominick Dunne Presents: Murder in Greenwich. 8-10 p.m. Friday. USA.

Seven years later, the Trial of the Century has turned into the Hangover of the Millennium. The O.J. Simpson case still hovers over us like a poisonous mist, a reminder that America's ancient racial hostilities are as toxic as ever.

Tabloid-TV loudmouths still shriek clueless tirades about the verdict. Lawyers and investigators keep flogging it for books, TV appearances, legal business. A Herald story on Simpson's children triggers a tidal wave of angry phone calls. No one, it seems, is ready to let go.

The reason, suggests O.J.: A Study In Black And White, is that the controversy over Simpson's 1995 murder trial, which ended in acquittal, had nothing to do with facts and everything to do with symbols.

''In that painful instant,'' the HBO documentary observes, ``the veil was lifted on the vast gulf that remains between blacks and whites. . . . The story of O.J. Simpson goes to the heart of the racial divide in America.''

This week, two shows -- O.J.: A Study In Black And White (which debuts tonight) and Dominick Dunne Presents: Murder in Greenwich (Friday on USA) -- revisit the Simpson trial from very different perspectives. Black And White uses the case as a springboard for an intelligent, if wrenching, examination of race relations. Murder in Greenwich, meanwhile, proves that infamous perjurer Mark Fuhrman is a bigger liar than ever.

Black And White makes no attempt at all to rehash the evidence from the trial or to argue Simpson's guilt or innocence.

''Most people, white and black, didn't actually know the evidence,'' notes Lawrence Grossberg, a University of North Carolina sociologist.

Instead, it explores Simpson's pioneering role as the first black athlete to achieve broad celebrity status in white society, with television roles and endorsement contracts from Hertz and other high-profile companies. But the hint of racial reconciliation promised by his cross-cultural appeal vanished instantly when Simpson was charged with the murder of his white wife and her friend.

Instead, the trial quickly devolved into a spectacle of mutual race baiting that brought out the worst on both sides. Whites, ignoring the many weaknesses in the case against Simpson (no witness, no murder weapon and no bloody clothing, except for that mysterious glove that didn't fit), claimed that he had won simply by playing the race card to a black jury. Blacks argued that if Simpson were guilty, it was nothing more than payback to a racist legal system -- as if the murder of two young white people in Los Angeles was somehow a fair response to a lynching in Mississippi 30 years before.

How could a quarrel like this have any winners?

Yet, implausibly, there was a winner: Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles cop whose perjury helped undercut the prosecution. He repeatedly swore he never used racial epithets, only to be confronted with his own swaggering bigotry on tape.

In the through-the-looking-glass logic of O.J. World, Fuhrman's lies catapulted him into media celebrity. He's the author of several best-selling books, has his own radio show and is a regular contributor to Fox News.

Murder in Greenwich is based on Fuhrman's book about the unsolved 1975 murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley, beaten to death with a golf club outside her family's Connecticut mansion. Her killer, Michael Skakel -- a nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy -- was finally tried and convicted this year.

Murder in Greenwich makes it appear that Fuhrman cracked a 25-year-old cold case that the local cops had long left for dead. In fact, his book was based mostly on a leaked copy of a private detective agency's investigation and had nothing to do with Skakel's indictment and conviction. The real break in the case came before Fuhrman arrived on the scene, when several drug-rehab buddies of Skakel saw a dramatization of the murder on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries and called a tip line to report that Skakel had bragged to them about killing the girl.

The Skakel investigation is only one focus of Murder in Greenwich. Fuhrman, who gets a producer's credit, also uses it to make himself look like the real victim of the Simpson case, which would almost be entertaining if it weren't so infuriating. My favorite moment was his explanation of why he lied on the witness stand about his frequent use of the N word. If he'd told the truth, Fuhrman says, ''the trial would have been all about me.'' Really dodged that bullet, didn't you, detective?

Barrie_Dude
Nov 12th, 2002, 07:34 PM
No wonder I have a headache!:rolleyes:

CHOCO
Nov 12th, 2002, 10:18 PM
:)

CHOCO
Nov 12th, 2002, 11:10 PM
I'm looking forward to the OJ special.

CHOCO
Nov 13th, 2002, 03:58 AM
Damn!!! What a great show! I just saw half of this special on O.J. Simpson, and I must say, HBO did an increidible job with this project. HBO doesn't take any sides, but it does a superb job with the footage and perspectives from both sides. Kudos HBO.

CHOCO
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:07 PM
:)

nasty nick#2
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:12 PM
O.J should have been testing the big chair already :rolleyes:

Barrie_Dude
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:15 PM
Yes, Nasty! The Big Chair! AKA: "Old Sparky";) :rolleyes:

CHOCO
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:20 PM
Why would you going to kill an innocent man? Two wrongs don't make it right.

nasty nick#2
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by CHOCO
Why would you going to kill an innocent man? Two wrongs don't make it right.

post of the year man :rolleyes: :D

Halardfan
Nov 13th, 2002, 03:55 PM
The trial for me, ignored the most obvious evidence, namely OJ's flight from justice/police pursuit...

CHOCO
Nov 13th, 2002, 05:38 PM
Too many innocent people already have been convicted on flimsy evidence. Obviously the jury examined the evidence and found him innocent. Wow...the lust for blood.

nasty nick#2
Nov 13th, 2002, 05:45 PM
There's something called reverse racism too. OJ was a celebrity, he was popular and he was black(and many black people have been sent to jail when they actually were innocent in the past). It was a fight between the jury and the media and the jury just didn't have the guts to send him to to jail, there was a black majority in the jury too. I'm quite sure he was guilty, but his celebrity status saved his life.

Helen Lawson
Nov 13th, 2002, 05:50 PM
Come on. O.J. did it. But loads of rich white people get away with murder, so, hey, why not O.J.?

CHOCO
Nov 13th, 2002, 05:52 PM
black jurys convict and send to prison black defendants EVERYDAY. That wasn't the problem. The problem, imo, was the prosecuting attorneys did a BAD job in prosecuting the case. Even the legal pundits admit it.

You can't convict someone because some portions of the public want it and have a lust for blood. You have to convict based on the evidence presented and without reasonable doubt.

Sorry, that's the legal system.

Volcana
Nov 13th, 2002, 05:55 PM
''Most people, white and black, didn't actually know the evidence,'' notes Lawrence Grossberg, a University of North Carolina sociologist.


The trial for me, ignored the most obvious evidence, namely OJ's flight from justice/police pursuit...

WHat other evidence do youhave available.

Down through the years, an awful lot of innocent Black men have been murdered by the police. Why should they stand there and let the police kill them? Why should any Black man let a criminal justice system as corrupt as the one in the UNited Staes get him woithout a fight? Any other country that locked up over half it's citizen's would be considered (justly) a police state. The US government locks up over half of the Black men in America at sometime in their lives. For a Black man to run from the police is RATIONAL. It demonstrates a perfectly reasonable fear of death, or wrongful incarceration. OJ's flight from the police is NOT evidence of guilt. It's evidence of sanity.

It makes a lot of white people comfortable to say, 'that's because Blacks are basically criminals.' I believe Blacks are no more crminal than whites, less so if the history of mass murder and genocide in the world is taken into account. So if ten times as many Black men as White are lock up by a histrically white supremacist government, it's BECAUSE it's a white supremacist government.

Yet this system was heavily defended as fair. Til a Black man actually beat a murder rap. Why are such a wildly disproportionate number of the people being freed by DNA evidence Black? Becasue a wildly disproportionate number of wrongful convictions ARE of Blacks.

The American criminal justice system IS corrupted by racism, and by the wildly disproportionate resources availbale to the government. The governament spent twice as much money as OJ on that case. OJ was a millionaire. The average Black man in the USA is often poverty stricken. He's pitting one pro bono lawyer against a battery of govenrment attourneys and near limitless millins. The government effectively buys it convictions. The one thing the OJ trial taught was that, when they don't have a monetary advantage, the government can't railroad Black men so easily.

CHOCO
Nov 13th, 2002, 09:29 PM
Volcana - I couldn't say it better. Fantastic post! :)

I'm not a big fan of OJ outside of the world of football. Matter of fact, I do have some issues with OJ in other areas.

However, everyone who has a chance should see this documentary on HBO when he/she geys a chance. It is very objective with imput from both sides of the debate in general about race relations in the US and the OJ trial in particular

Iconoclast
Nov 14th, 2002, 01:08 AM
Originally posted by CHOCO
Matter of fact, I do have some issues with OJ in other areas.

Come on, ease up on him - he's had a hard time. O.J.'s a great all-round guy for a double murderer.

Iconoclast
Nov 14th, 2002, 01:28 AM
Originally posted by Volcana
I believe Blacks are no more crminal than whites, less so if the history of mass murder and genocide in the world is taken into account.
No, no, you have it all wrong. Forget about color, it's the bearded guys that are bad. Stalin, Hitler, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Haile Megistu, Idi Amin (often forgot to shave), Mao (wanted a beard).

Seriously, you are actually stating that whites are more criminal (than blacks) if the history of genocide and mass murder is taken into account. Notwithstanding the enormous complexity of world history which renders such a verdict meaningless, that's a pretty daring thing to say. And it only grants legitimacy to those who wish to make similar statements about general black character traits based on criminal statistics or black history.

That's an ugly path to take.

disposablehero
Nov 14th, 2002, 01:38 AM
Mark Fuhrman (something odd about that last name) having his own radio show is quite possibly as obscene as OJ being out on the street.

OJ is more despicable than Fuhrman, but at least nobody has the poor taste to give him a public forum.

CHOCO
Nov 14th, 2002, 01:54 AM
Chris Darden and Marcia Clark are the two worst prosecutors ever. No wonder we don't hear anything about them now.

To some, the case was a slam dunk. But why would they call a witness Mark Fuhrman who perjured himself on the stand? Also who admittedly said he wrongly planted evidence on black suspects many times in the past.

No doubt about it that the OJ trial pulled the scab off the sore of racial tensions in the US like no other. This documentary should win many awards for being well done and presenting both sides.

disposablehero
Nov 14th, 2002, 04:09 AM
White Lies: HBO gets it half right
By Ralph Wiley
Page 2 columnist


HBO's latest sports documentary says it's an examination of race relations throughout O.J. Simpson's life, a "Study in Black and White." Actually, it's a study in white. It toes a media party line that white is right and black is base. There are knowing lines within the documentary, but they are blunted by an overall naivete.


The documentary's most honest trait is its brevity -- some 49 minutes in length. Why? Because, when you get down to to it, at the center of O.J. Simpson, there was nothing there. Nada. If ever there was not only a colorless but soulless man, it was him.


O.J. has made a career out of fooling people.
Yet the documentary starts off with him saying, "I'm a black guy, always been a black guy, never been nothing but a black guy."


This is disingenuous. O.J. tried and almost succeeded at being everything but a black guy -- and, more important, his own guy.


He fooled himself. He fooled white people. But he didn't fool very many black people. Not the ones who knew him well, anyway.


O.J. Simpson could be and often was base. Jim Brown knew it. Harry Edwards knew it. His first wife Marguerite (whom he stole from his black "best friend," Al Cowlings) knew it. I learned it. To people like us, there was no arguing it.


But not to white people, especially the captains of industry Juice performed for. His off-screen antics made Stepin Fetchit look like Frederick Douglass.


No, we were all the difficult ones. We were the ones who didn't understand how to be, how to go along to get along. If a black man is grinning all the time, being obsequious, that is seen as some kind of righteousness; meanwhile, those seeing it that way never seem to understand that no person can live a life of mental duplicity for very long without something beginning to slip upstairs.


In the doc, former sociology professor at Cal-Berkeley Harry Edwards says Simpson, "bought the hype," because it brought him a rich lifestyle. Juice played long before the big multi-million dollar contracts. Yet he lived like a prince. Traits like self-respect, personal responsibility, personal excellence, not just on a playing field, and community responsibility and plain common sense have nothing to do with fooling people.


O.J. fooled a lot of people.


Few of them were black.


One of my writing colleagues -- and I mean no disrespect -- got juked by O.J. worse than any UCLA defender ever was. This colleague truly despises more reluctant superstars like Barry Bonds, because he isn't skinning and grinning and doing the Kirby Puckett dance all the time. But that macabre tarantella carries a price. O.J., man, what a guy!, thinks the author. O.J. even gave him the epigram of one of his books, talking about character, and how it was the only thing that really mattered. Well, the only reason O.J. said that was he knew it would impress some sucker.


Simpson's legal team represented his wealth.
How would O.J. know of personal character, except via lip service? He was good at recalling the names of executive's children, and that, along with recounting tales of his sexual exploits, took him a long way. I could tell you stories about him that would curl your hair ... or uncurl it, as the case may be. But who ever wanted to hear anything that questioned the authenticity of O.J.'s character? So my colleague was greviously disappointed and wounded after the double-murder charge, and angry after the verdict.


And who was he angry with? O.J.? No. Me! And people like me. He's the one who got fooled, but it was my fault.


But people -- mostly these were black people -- knew something was not right with O.J., for a long time before the gruesome double-murder on Bundy Drive in Brentwood in 1994.


White people were confused and let down (this seems to be the underlying theme of the doc), because white people had decided that O.J. Simpson was a "unifying symbol of all races." Black people didn't decide that. Black people didn't think that up. Black people didn't even believe that. Who was he unifying, and to what end?


Black people thought he was one hell of a running back, right up there with Jim Brown maybe. As a running back. No more. He never showed anything more. He never tried to. White people never noticed that, because the Juice did prove something to them. He proved he wanted to be like them, kind of, with them, tacitly felt the same way about black people as they did. Tacitly, he despised black people. He didn't want them around. He proved this all the way up until he committed a crime, a crime of privilege, and then got off for it. The getting-off part is pretty much beyond the experience of black people in America. But still, somehow, it's the black part that gets the blame. The doc seems unaware of this.


The documentary starts with a flawed premise: that O.J. Simpson was a "unifying symbol for all races." No, he wasn't. Sure, he went to USC, but outside of the football team, what did that have to do with black people? That soothed white people. And yes, he had no comment on the proposed boycott of the 1968 Olympics, but what did that have to do with black people? That soothed white people. Okay, he became a spokesman for Hertz, but, as the doc makes clear, what did that have to do with black people? Byron Lewis of Uniworld and former Hertz exec Jerry Burgdoerfer make it plain that Hertz was trying to reach, not black people, but white people, the business traveler. The director of the Hertz commercials makes it clear there was to be no interaction between Go, O.J., Go and black people in those commercials, whatsoever, for any reason.


Hertz wanted no "guilt" by association. But Juice had absolution.


Even after the double-murder, O.J. was treated not like a black person. I never heard of a black man being charged with a double murder having the handcuffs taken off him, and being set free, and being told he could turn himself in next Tuesday, or the Friday after Thanksgiving, or whatever. I never heard of a black man being in a 30-mph freeway "car chase." I never heard of a black man who could have and probably should have gone to trial in the wealthy, nearly all-white enclave where the crime happened, Brentwood -- or at least in Santa Monica -- suddenly having his trial venue changed to downtown Los Angeles, the homecourt of one of the best trial lawyers in the business, who happened to be black, and where the jury pool would have many more potential jurors of color (the better to be blamed for the Not Guilty verdict, which, on the face of the evidence presented in court, was totally inevitable).


The alleged planting of evidence was one of many debated variables in the Simpson trial.
It wasn't black people who hid bloody evidence (assuming there was any bloody evidence) for their old college chum. They would have stood out in Brentwood. It wasn't black people who retained attorney Robert Shapiro on Simpson's behalf. Black people don't run around with the president of King World. And it wasn't black people who recommended attorney Johnnie Cochran to Juice. It wasn't black people who assigned near-incompetent Chris Darden to be a prosecutor, when he couldn't mount a decently damning line of questioning ... like, "Mr. Simpson, have you ever stayed at that airport hotel in Chicago before. Why now, this night, after the murders? Aren't you the favored son of the head of a hotel chain, Mr. Simpson. Don't you always stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, Mr Simpson? Why are you sweating all of a sudden, Mr. Simpson?"


And it surely wasn't black people who hinged the prosecution case on the testimony of Mark Fuhrman, who diddled with evidence and could so easily and legitimately be portrayed as a racist cop. (Fuhrman was so smart, compared to the "******s" he so despises, that one day, he may go on and discover the antidote for penicillin).


Don't kid yourself. If white people, the big movers and shakers, had really wanted O.J. Simpson convicted, then he would have been. But he wasn't. So, his was a crime of privilege.


Don't be hauling him back over here with the unprivileged now, tacitly blaming black people in the country who didn't know if Juice did it or not, only that their uncle or brother or son was once railroaded and looked like him. Don't show a roomful of law students cheering a verdict and say they are not cheering Johnnie Cochran. Bernie Goldberg comes close here, when he says the cheering black people were cheering not O.J., but that the system took it right between the eyes. Close, but no cigar. Consciously or not, they were cheering Johnnie Cochran, for winning the legal exercise.


The documentary does slip in some points. You just need to be able to translate them. This doc needs a lot of social sub-titles.


Harry Edwards says, "His sentiments were, 'I'm not black, I'm O.J.' " (Those sentiments were echoed, not by blacks, but whites).


The doc quickly brings Juice up from Louisiana roots through his delinquent teenage years, through his junior college football exploits, to his arrival at conservative, private, bone-white (except for clean-shaven football players) USC.


Juice was always cunning. He saw what few black people were privileged to see at the time. He saw the Network, the Chamber, how USC grads could hook him up with Hertz, the movies, TV, the Ritz-Carlton, the willowy blonde women, anything he wanted.


Everyone admired Simpson's athletic prowess.
Black people followed his endeavors on the gridiron in '67 and '68. He was a nice diversion from all of the political assassinations. I was about to enter high school and our school colors were maroon and gold. We ran the I formation like USC and we were in Tennessee, for God's sake, where at the time the state university and all like them in that region had no black players. Zero. So Juice was admired as an athlete, for that 64-yard-run against UCLA. That run, and the run for the 2003-yard season at Shea Stadium six years later as a Buffalo Bill, were the high points of his life, as far as black people were concerned. When the high point of your life comes as a junior in college ... not good. While I admired him, in an off-handed way, I admired SC's Earl McCollough, the Wild Bunch, or QB Jimmy Jones as much.


HBO: "His success had special meaning for black Americans."


On the football field ... yes, it did. In the boardrooms ... no, it didn't.


The documentary should say that. But it seems difficult for it to admit, maybe because it really doesn't appear to know that.


In the later '70s, I worked with a young white man from Buffalo in the newspaper business out in Cali. He told me one day that in a bar in Buffalo he had heard Juice tell a willowy young blonde, "Hey baby, s--- my c---." I was nave then, and blew it off, saying, "We don't talk like that." I figured Juice had more game than that.


We? Little did I know, then.


I met Juice later. We worked on the same set of NBC's "NFL Live" in 1989. That's where I got to know him. You don't need all the gory details here. He played a little game for the bosses, involving stories of sexual exploits, titty bars and what-not. Part of his role was to belittle ... if not outright destroy ... any other so-called black person in the vicinity. Even back then, Jim Brown told me, "You better watch him, Wiley. That m-----f-----'s dangerous."


The HBO doc purports that O.J. opened all these doors in TV and cinema. No, he didn't. If it had been up to Juice, nobody would have gone through those doors except him. Jim Brown, Woody Strode, Michael Warren opened doors. Jim had already been a movie star. His filmography comes up short when compared to Denzel Washington's, but with "The Dirty Dozen," "Ice Station Zebra" and "100 Rifles" alone, he did way more than Juice.


Juice's great role was bamboozling white folks. And himself.


He began to "buy the hype," as Harry Edwards said, meaning he thought he had a divine right, divine privileges. Once, one of his producers told me he said he thought he was the son of God. I'd tried to throw Juice a rope. "Well, we're all children of God," I said. "No," said the producer. "He said the son of God."


Jim Brown knew how much clout Simpson carried.
Juice felt life was his, and by divine right, divining right down to taking the life of whoever made him feel ridiculous, like a cuckold.


The doc purports that Juice was the most famous man in America to be tried for murder. Well, architect Stanford White was pretty famous around the turn of the century. He supposedly killed his young female consort, and beat the case in court, an item that was historically mentioned in E.L. Doctorow's "Ragtime." Not to mention Dr. Sam Shepard, who beat his wife's murder case.


Oh, by the way, Lee Bailey, Shepard's lawyer, was referred to Simpson's case. And it wasn't a black person who referred him.


So you can see why it seems disingenuous to me to call the doc a "Study in Black and White," and then watch as it studies mostly how black people somehow are to blame or should carry guilt for this mess, that this evil is somehow inherent in them.


Like it or not, this is part -- and the worst part -- of the doc's inference. The doc states that 70 percent of black people thought O.J. was innocent, and 70 percent of white people thought he was guilty. All I know is, I didn't get polled. Amiri Baraka didn't get polled. You can't get any blacker than Baraka, and yet, he said, when asked (and not by white people), "I know the bastard did it." Didn't see that on "60 Minutes," did you. Mr. T must not have been polled. In his Clubber Lang persona, he told Juice he should 'fess up ... like he would, or something. Jim Brown wasn't polled. Neither were a great many others who weren't shown. The doc doesn't portray this ambiguity, preferring to take the easy percentile way out.


One hoped the documentary would be above the simple pandering of the national media, which ran with handhelds to know-nothings in places like the Bronx or D.C., thousands of miles from the trial and O.J., and asked, "Say, do you think O.J. did it?" What do you expect to hear from these people? They were not informed about the case. They had no clue, other than historical precedent.


In fact, only the people in the courtroom heard all the evidence. I just happened to hear it all, because I went out to assist Johnnie Cochran in the writing of a book immediately after the trial.


Was JC aware of my experiences with O.J.? Yes. I had detailed them in a book called "Dark Witness." Cochran still hired me.


He couldn't help it. Not after I pitched him. I told him, compared to him, old Atticus Finch had a day at the beach. It's one thing to uphold the nobility of your profession and its basic tenet that every person deserves the finest representation that can be mounted in his or her defense for a innocent black man in the Deep South of the 1950s who is wrongly accused of murder, while knowing he will never be judged innocent in a court of law, no matter what you do. It's quite another thing to uphold the basic tenet of your profession for a black man who is guilty of something, and then have the skill, facility and wherewithal to do your job and get him off in what had become the racial cauldron of mid-'90s -- Los Angeles.


A defense attorney's job is "not guilty." Period. Moral judgments are for editorialists, not lawyers. But apparently white Americans can't go there. They can't admit that the defense attorneys were better than the prosecution, kicked their royal butts and won the intellectual exercise on its face. No. So we're back to Square One.


We've socially retrenched, thanks to a so-called "unifying symbol."


O.J. still longs for the limelight.
The most trenchant observation (including a few wobbles) of the documentary -- despite my protests and opposing views, there are some trenchant observations within the doc -- is made by Lawrence Grossberg, professor of Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina. "... O.J. is a kind of symbolic moment in the history of race relations in America. I think a lot of white Americans didn't believe in affirmative action and they didn't believe in integration and they didn't believe in the welfare state ... they didn't believe that black people were equal to white people. But they couldn't say it. They couldn't say it without being accused of being a racist. And O.J. gave them the ability, the trial gave them the ability, to say it. So in that sense ... it fulfilled a moment in history that was already there."


I couldn't agree more. The murder itself was a common crime of passion. So The Trial of O.J. Simpson, the Schism in Black and White, was utterly convenient. Not for black people. It allowed white Americans to express emotions already held, to help make liberal or progressive politics into dirty, fearsome, obscene words.


Hitler would've been fascinated by the The Trial of O.J. Simpson, too. He would've had Leni Reinfenstahl make propaganda of it. To wit:


Mary Jo Kane, a sport sociologist at the University of Minnesota said, "Up until that point (Simpson) had been accepted in white American's homes like no other black athlete had ever been accepted. So one could make the argument that he was one of us, quote unquote ... the minute he gets into a jam of his own making, what does he do? He falls back on the race card. So you really aren't one of us when it gets down to it, you are one of them."


Them? What them? Why? Because of a heinous crime of passion murder he tried to beat? I think that makes him a Kennedy. I think it makes him a Skakel. I think it makes him one of us. All of us.


The crime itself had no racial component. During the months of the trial, I kept clippings of crimes similar to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and the unfortunate Ron Goldman, mostly committed by men, often spouses, against women, often their wives. I stopped after three months. Why? I was running out of storage space.


These crimes of passion happen every day. They know no color.


So who or what made it about color? Was it Simpson? Was it the fascination, then disappointment, whites had in him? Was it Mark Fuhrman? Lee Bailey? Johnnie Cochran? Media? Documentaries?


To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca": Of all the innocent black men who rotted in jails or swung from trees for "crimes" they didn't commit all over the landscape through this bloody century and the entire history of the country, out of all those doomed, forgotten people, this is the guy who gets off?


Surely this is the most terrible irony of my lifetime. And one day, maybe, someone will examine it all, thoroughly, clinically and clearly, in a documentary film.


Apparently, that day is not yet here.

CHOCO
Nov 14th, 2002, 06:24 AM
I'm very familiar with Mr. Riley's work. I think he's one of the best in the business, yet doesn't get enough credit for his work. Having said that, I think he's wrong on some points and right on others. Overall a very interesting take by him on the documentary. Some of my points on what he had to say:


"But people -- mostly these were black people -- knew something was not right with O.J., for a long time before the gruesome double-murder on Bundy Drive in Brentwood in 1994."

I definitely knew that.




"The alleged planting of evidence was one of many debated variables in the Simpson trial.
It wasn't black people who hid bloody evidence (assuming there was any bloody evidence) for their old college chum. They would have stood out in Brentwood. It wasn't black people who retained attorney Robert Shapiro on Simpson's behalf. Black people don't run around with the president of King World. And it wasn't black people who recommended attorney Johnnie Cochran to Juice. It wasn't black people who assigned near-incompetent Chris Darden to be a prosecutor, when he couldn't mount a decently damning line of questioning ... like, "Mr. Simpson, have you ever stayed at that airport hotel in Chicago before. Why now, this night, after the murders? Aren't you the favored son of the head of a hotel chain, Mr. Simpson. Don't you always stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, Mr Simpson? Why are you sweating all of a sudden, Mr. Simpson?"


I agree one hundred percent.


"And it surely wasn't black people who hinged the prosecution case on the testimony of Mark Fuhrman, who diddled with evidence and could so easily and legitimately be portrayed as a racist cop. (Fuhrman was so smart, compared to the "******s" he so despises, that one day, he may go on and discover the antidote for penicillin)."


My point exactly.


"HBO: "His success had special meaning for black Americans."


On the football field ... yes, it did. In the boardrooms ... no, it didn't."


I disagree. OJ was the FIRST black athlete to successfully endorse products on nationwide tv. He was the precursor to Dr. J, Magic Joghnson and Michael Jordan in terms of getting major endorsements and appearing in so many commercials.


"The HBO doc purports that O.J. opened all these doors in TV and cinema. No, he didn't."

In cinema no, but in commercials yes. See above.



"The doc purports that Juice was the most famous man in America to be tried for murder."

Yes he was. Not only that, the media universally labeled it: The trial of the century.



"So you can see why it seems disingenuous to me to call the doc a "Study in Black and White," and then watch as it studies mostly how black people somehow are to blame or should carry guilt for this mess, that this evil is somehow inherent in them."

I agree.


"In fact, only the people in the courtroom heard all the evidence. I just happened to hear it all, because I went out to assist Johnnie Cochran in the writing of a book immediately after the trial."

My point exactly.


"A defense attorney's job is "not guilty." Period. Moral judgments are for editorialists, not lawyers. But apparently white Americans can't go there. They can't admit that the defense attorneys were better than the prosecution, kicked their royal butts and won the intellectual exercise on its face. No. So we're back to Square One."


No question about it.


"The most trenchant observation (including a few wobbles) of the documentary -- despite my protests and opposing views, there are some trenchant observations within the doc -- is made by Lawrence Grossberg, professor of Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina. "... O.J. is a kind of symbolic moment in the history of race relations in America. I think a lot of white Americans didn't believe in affirmative action and they didn't believe in integration and they didn't believe in the welfare state ... they didn't believe that black people were equal to white people. But they couldn't say it. They couldn't say it without being accused of being a racist. And O.J. gave them the ability, the trial gave them the ability, to say it. So in that sense ... it fulfilled a moment in history that was already there.""

Exactly.


"These crimes of passion happen every day. They know no color.

So who or what made it about color? Was it Simpson? Was it the fascination, then disappointment, whites had in him? Was it Mark Fuhrman? Lee Bailey? Johnnie Cochran? Media? Documentaries?"

I think we know if we are honest with ourselves.



Thanks for the post disposable.

CHOCO
Nov 14th, 2002, 12:02 PM
TV REVIEW | 'O. J.: A STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE'
The Simpson Factor in Race Relations
By RON WERTHEIMER


ou might think that, barring some revelation about the murders for which he was acquitted in 1995, there is no particular reason to rehash the story of O. J. Simpson. Well, you'll find nothing in tonight's HBO documentary about Mr. Simpson to change your mind.

You surely know that Mr. Simpson is black and was a celebrated football hero who became a genial celebrity until he was accused of killing his former wife and her friend, both white. And you also know that the murder investigation and subsequent trial nearly monopolized the attention of much of the public, thanks to the zealous pursuit of the matter by much of the media.




Still, it seems like a stretch to say as does tonight's program, "O. J.: A Study in Black and White" that "from the 1960's to the 1990's, as American race relations were transformed, O. J. Simpson stood as a unifying symbol to Americans of all races."

Many people, no doubt, were happy about Mr. Simpson's success. (A film clip from his days on the University of Southern California team proves how breathtaking a Simpson touchdown run could be.) But as tonight's program notes, he was not even a unifying symbol to black Americans, some of whom scorned him because he carefully avoided speaking out on social issues, including race relations.

The program sets up the straw man of that unifying symbolism so it can dramatize the impact of his acquittal: "In that painful instant, the veil was lifted on the vast gulf that remains between blacks and whites."

In its most effective moment, the program shows a crowd around a bank of televisions in a store in an unidentified city as the Simpson verdict is read. The whites react with horror, while the blacks exult. But with the explosion of Los Angeles after the beating of Rodney King still a raw memory, anyone who didn't see the gulf between the races just wasn't paying attention.

A number of people speak thoughtfully about Mr. Simpson during this hour. Lawrence Grossberg, a professor of cultural studies at the University of North Carolina, says that Mr. Simpson's success gave many people hope that "the American Dream was true." Jim Brown, another former football star, who remains outspoken on the subject of racism, says that Mr. Simpson's docile public image had been detrimental to those working for change.

Mr. Simpson, not surprisingly, was not interviewed. Apparently he has nothing to add to his story. Neither does this program.

CHOCO
Nov 14th, 2002, 07:19 PM
:)

JasonW
Nov 14th, 2002, 09:11 PM
Flimsy evidence? There was 178 pages of evidence presented by the prosecution. OJ's guilty....Thats what the evidence shows.

Drink Grape Juice, OJ kills.

CHOCO
Nov 14th, 2002, 10:06 PM
the jury wasn't convinced beyond a shadow of doubt by the flimsy evidence.