I sit here wondering
will take me. Where
will it take you?
So we're back there again. The "loathesome O.J." as Mureen Dowd calls him in her New York Times column today. Such a dreadful, story, filled with so many ironies and complexities. Did he do it? That old question. I wanted, at first, all those years ago, to believe he didn't. He was, after all, a remarkable athlete in his time. He seemed, from everything one saw and read about him, to be a young man of charm and intelligence. Besides, I was, all those years ago, a professor at USC and, by virtual necessity, a USC fan. There was also, I confess, a kind of reverse racist part of me that did not want to think ill of him for nothing better than reverse racist reasons. I think, in this, that I shared a lot in common with those vocal parts of the African American community that sided with him.
Despite all of which, the evidence seemed indisputable: he did it. And his subsequent life--at least so far as it has come to our collective attention through the media--has done nothing to ameliorate his image or soften the gut feeling of hs guilt. He has seemed, as Ellie mildly put it, like a "very troubled man."
And now this further melodrama to distract us all from the war in Iraq, the health care problems that this nation faces--no, refuses to face--the widespread social injustices made worse by the inequality of educational opportunity, an administration beleagured in consequence of its own incompetence, cronyism and corruption, an ignorance and/or apathy that undermines the voting process in what we are pleased to call our "democracy"... despite these and other problems, we have this new melodrama to distract us.
Amidst it all, the word "karma" pops up, on the lips of no less a dignitary than NBC's Matt Lauer, who asks Kim Goldman, Ron's sister, if this is O.J.'s karma, as some, it seems, are saying. She says she thinks it might be karma giving that old Goldman family nemesis "a tap on the shoulder." (I'm with Thailandgal, by the way, on the subject of the Goldmans' publishing of that book. See her 9/14 entry.)
Well, I had a bit of a shudder hearing a word that's important to me used in this particular context. On the other hand, what's so precious about a word? I abuse them all the time, and they generously stick with me anyway. And who knows, maybe this latest episode in O. J. Simpson's ill-starred life is indeed a way of past actions catching up with him. I can't claim access to the secret inner truths of any other person's life. It's hard enough to hold myself accountable for mine.