I am something of a civil libertarian. Despite these philosophical leanings, as soon as I heard that OJ Simpson had written a book called "If I Did It" I confess to thinking how great it would be if both the 5th and 1st Amendments could be suspended for some people.
Some people just can't stay gone. Anna Nicole Smith, Boy George, Madonna, Britney. Insert your favorite completely useless recurring public figure here. You just can't get shed of some people. Just when you thought that it was safe to go back to Barnes and Nobel, "If I Did It" will appear on bookshelves everywhere on November 30th. In case you haven't heard, "If I Did It" is the "fictional" account by Simpson of how he "hypothetically" could have committed the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Judith Regan, who published this damn thing, will interview him on Fox November 27th and 28th. You can watch OJ in case you get bored with football.
That's the thing about living in America. Just when you think that you have seen everything, something pops up that you could have never made up. At least not sober. One would think that after getting acquitted of those same murders, the last thing on God's green Earth OJ would want to discuss is how he might have done it. Even in hypothetical terms.
Not that this hypothetical confession will come as any great shock to most of us. Most right thinking people believe that Simpson did it, regardless of what the jury said on that fateful day in Los Angeles. The federal court jury that later scorched him for violating the rights of Simpson and Goldman certainly did.
Granted, publishing this book and doing the interviews don't present much in the way of serious legal consequences. It's not like the State of California can try him again for the Goldman-Simpson murders. Unless he confesses to killing somebody else, he doesn't have further prosecution to consider. He is pretty much judgment-proof despite enjoying a pretty good income stream. After getting rung up in federal court, OJ moved from California to Florida which is a well-known haven for deadbeats. Indeed, because of Florida's generous exemptions, neither his house nor his NFL pension can be seized. Evidently, his judgment creditors-otherwise referred to as "the victims' families"-cannot reach the 3.5 million dollars allegedly paid to him by HarperCollins for writing "If I Did It" as same is being parked in an "educational trust" for the children he had with Nicole. They can't get it out of his hide and they can't get it out of his wallet. Not fair maybe. But that's the way it is.
But think about that for a moment. Assuming this is all on the up and up, his kids' education will be financed by money their Dad got paid for writing a book about how he killed their mother. Is this a great country or what?
But still, all of this begs the question of why he would come out now and make this "confession," fictional though it may supposedly be.
Some "experts" are saying that it is not unusual for criminals to make confessions after the fact in terms of hypotheticals about crimes they have committed. Could be. I've certainly never heard anything like that before but could be. Of course, some people just make stuff up. I give you the recent example of John Mark Karr's recent"confession"that he killed JonBenet Ramsey. Regan says she wanted to publish the book as a way to deal with the domestic abuse she suffered during one of her marriages and to commemorate other victims of domestic violence. Which sounds like complete bullshit to me. I think her reasons aren't nearly as noble as all of that. Here's what I think.
One of my old law professors used to say, "If there's a need for something, it probably exists." HarperCollins doesn't make zillions of dollars by being stupid. It may not have any shame but it isn't stupid. It wouldn't have published "If I Did It" if it didn't know that it wasn't going to make millions. I don't think its any more complicated than that. If Hitler returned to Earth, he would wind up on "Oprah." We are forced to settle for OJ "theoretically"describing the violent murder of his wife and a young man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. HarperCollins rolls it out just in time for Christmas and the cash registers start smoking. What do you want to bet OJ does a book signing tour? The mind reels.
Some people just can't stay gone. And you can't much blame them. Sometimes, in this great land of ours there's no money to be made by in giving in to shame.