Saturday, November 18, 2006

O,J.'s Book: If I Did It

Judith Regan, O.J.'s editor/publisher, has defended herself for publishing his book and I have to say, I understand her defense. She said, "To publish does not mean 'to endorse'; it means 'to make public," she says.

"If you doubt that, ask the mainstream publishers who keep Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' in print to this day. ... There is historical value in such work ... for anyone who wants to gain insight into the mind of a sociopath."

"If I Did It," published by ReganBooks — an imprint to HarperCollins, is scheduled for release Nov. 30.

I do find it fascinating that probably the most vocal and indignant about this books publication were probably also the most vocal in saying that public money--our tax money-- should be used to support artists and finance artwork such as crosses in urine and a picture of the Madonna (not the singer--the real one) spattered with elephant dung. (Freedom of expression, ya' know?)

At least with the publication of this book I have a choice about whether I'll help finance O.J.'s new career as a writer. Thank heavens I have the freedom of expression NOT to finance this abomination.

Don't get me wrong: I hope Harper Collins loses it's shirt publishing this book. I hope NOONE buys it. I hope the money they've already spent (rumored to be 3.5 mil) has already gone to 'the children,' as Ms. Regan said she was promised it would. (And that it's all in some very secure account that daddy couldn't touch if his life depended on it.)

Isn't the usual censorship argument that people should be able to choose whether or not they have access to "something", whatever it is? (You can turn your TV off; you can NOT let your children read/watch it; you can flip the radio station or not take them to that particular museum or movie; you can monitor where they go on the internet.) And yeah, any public library who buys this book ought to be hounded should by those of us who do not want our money used in that way until the person(s) responsible are fired.

But I'm telling you, we're angry at the wrong people. We shouldn't be mad at the editor or publisher. We ought to be mad at the jury. They, a jury of his 'peers' in our society which depends on a fair judicial system, were the ones who let him off.


Anonymous said...

I have a feeling the pundits are over reacting to this OJ story. Should we wait and see what book and Fox TV show is about before we get all upset?

Judith Regan has published some books by bottom feeders such as Lush Limpballs. She dated a married man Bernie Kerik Former NYC police commissioner and Bush Home Land Security failed nominee.

But Ron Goldman has made a living off his daughter’s death. Why didn’t Ron Goldman get control of his daughter before she was slaughtered? What kind of man raises a daughter to be the 2nd wife of OJ Simpson?


--- Prof. Leland Milton Goldblatt, Ph.D. ®

Anonymous said...

Professor Ron Goldman is the father of the man that was killed, not O.J.'s wife. Sorry its been too many years for me to remember everyone's name.

I have always thought that O.J. killed them. I thought the trial was a mockery of justice. The jurors were idiots. But I have to say I'm curious about what O.J. is going to say. Will I buy the book? Hell no. Will I watch Fox, probably. I might even rent the book at the libray, but no money will go to purchasing this book.

As much as I don't like the fact that O.J. will make money on this deal, this is what America is about. Freedom of speech. Just like the jury trial is what America is about. Do we get it right all the time? No way. But I would rather a "few" people took advantage of the system, than to forfeit the freedoms we have.

I hope that if his book proves he was the killer, then he will be ostrocized from society. That no one will have anything to do with this man. And I pray tht whatever money is made from this book it will go to his children. Think of the suffering this will cause them, which just confirms that O.J. is a sick psychopath. Who would do this to their children after everything they've gone through.

The best we can hope for is that this will bring closer and that O.J. will disappear and never be heard from again.

Anonymous said...

Interesting observations, Alfie. I'm not sure if I agree with all of your points, though. For example, much as I find the concept of the book distasteful, I would wholeheartedly support a librarian's decision to acquire it for her library, if she felt there was a demand for it. After all, libraries should carry all kinds of books - books that enlighten as well as books that enrage.


JoAnn Ross said...

While you do make some interesting points and echo what lot of others have said, in response to my blog post about this down below, I do agree with Faye about the libraries. Librarians already get hounded by various groups who don't what one or another "bad" book in their library. I certainly wouldn't want to see any librarian fired because he or she decides buying this one serves the need of their community.

Lois Winston said...

Alfie, from the moment the network news broke into programming to follow the slow white Bronco, my gut told me OJ was guilty of "something." I say of "something" because I'm not sure at this late date whether I knew of the double murder prior to the chase or not. However, after viewing pictures of the crime scene, another part of me had a niggling of doubt. With all that blood at the crime scene, wouldn't OJ have tracked blood all over his car? Wouldn't there be bloody footprints tracked somewhere? A bloody handprint? Something? From what I remember, all that the forensics found were a few dried drops of blood in his car (which I believe were found to be his) and some evidence of minimal blood in his bathroom, which he claimed occurred from cutting his finger. No blood of either victim. So even thought I think he did it, I'm convinced he didn't act alone and maybe only orchestrated the murder, not committed it. Given that a jury must convict only when they believe the defendent is guilty beyond a resonable doubt, I can see how he got off. As much as I believe he was responsible for the deaths fo his wife and Ron Goldman, I think I would have had a very hard time sitting on that jury. Those 12 jurors probably voted based on similar thoughts.

Deborah Matthews said...

Two interesting things. Fox and Harper Collins are owned by the same company. Yet, apparently, Fox was not their first choice for the interview. Barbara Walters (ABC) and NBC both say they turned the interview down. Good for them!

Two, Wal-Mart, who has refused to carry certain music because of the lyrics and books (romance novels) because of the covers, is carrying this book.

I don't believe in censorship either, but I wish (I know it's futile) that people will stay away in droves so it bombs big time.

Aimless Writer said...

Someone should come out and ask OJ to donate the money to a shelter for battered women. Publishing is a business and from that stand point, this will sell. Too many are too curious for it not to.
I won't buy it and I hope his kids never read it but unfortunately I'm sure they will. I think we should pray for those kids.

gailbarrett said...

That jury was manipulated masterfully. The lawyers turned it into a racial issue and pushed all the "hot buttons" of the jury. The prosecution made tons of mistakes, such as having him try on the glove (come on, who doesn't know that a wet leather glove will shrink?). It was a battle of the lawyers and OJ's lawyers won. Justice was NOT served. OJ's actions from the start were suspicious -- what innocent man whose wife has just died becomes suicidal and flees the police in a slow speed chase? Once OJ dies, the truth will all come out, of course. The real victims were his kids and Ronald Goldman, the innocent man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and trying to be helpful. And Nicole Brown/Simpson's family did benefit from OJ for many years. It sounds like it was a strange relationship all around. But then, what in Hollywood isn't strange? Remember Kato Katlyn, or whatever his name was? Who would have him living at their estate? I still believe Michael Parks, the limo driver who saw OJ coming out from where the glove was found. He sounded like the only sane one in the bunch.

Sandra K. Moore said...

O.J. bores me.

He wrote a book; people are buying it. Maybe the money is going to his kids; maybe it's not. Maybe he did the deed; maybe he didn't.

What's most interesting is how his publication of this book acts as a flashpoint for our fear and anger. His action threatens our sense of propriety and sparks our moral outrage. We became emotionally invested in the outcome of his trial years ago and now we're emotionally invested in his book whether we actually plan on buying it or not.

That's a lot of emotional and mental effort for someone most of us agree isn't worth that kind of energy.

Nancy Morse said...

I believe the whole OJ thing was signed, sealed & delivered with the choosing of the jury. If ever a jury was guilty of hero-worship, it was the OJ jury. And of course, he had superb representation. And let's not forget that memorable mantra, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." Apparently, no one on that jury ever had a leather glove shrink. Was anyone really surprised by their verdict?

As for Judith Regan, if she wants to make a statement about spousal abuse, why doesn't she write her own book? She says wants to expose men like OJ? Give me a break.

Somebody mentioned principled publishing. Unfortunately, the bottom line is m-o-n-e-y. Too often profit trumps principles. Why else would so many American jobs be lost to overseas workers? Why else would corporate America have its grip firmly around the testicles of those we put into office? Corporate greed spawned the Jack Abramoffs of the world, and as long as the CEOs and shareholders are earning their bucks, you can bet profit will always be the bottom line. Let them publish OJ's book. I won't read it. I would, however, like to know who the sponsors of the TV interview will be so that I can write to them and tell them why I won't be buying their products.

JoAnn Ross said...

Sandra, I agree he isn't worth even thinking about. However, community discussions about ethics and right and wrong is how a society shapes itself. And isn't that partly what we address as popular fiction writers?

There have been, over time, many issues a lot of people didn't want to discuss -- slavery, wars, Civil Rights, the rights (including voting rights) of women, equality of various minority groups -- yet if people remained silent and didn't talk about them in public forums, nothing would have ever gotten changed. I'm certainly not putting O.J. in those categories, but the thing about public debates is that you never know exactly where they're going to end up.

Also, I figure if Bob Schieffer, a journalist whose intelligence and thoughtfulness I've always admired, thought the book was worth closing his Face The Nation program with today, it's probably a worthwhile enough topic for us to talk about here. :)

JoAnn Ross said...

From today's PW: Borders has announced they will donate the net proceeds to a national organization that assists domestic violence. Borders' Ann Binkley says in the statement that "the book will be available for sale" at all of their stores "because we believe it is the right of customers to decide what to read and what to buy, but we will not discount the title or promote it."

Meanwhile, in a survey conducted by AbeBooks of 979 booksellers, 96 percent of the respondents claimed they would not stock the book.

Shanna Swendson said...

I think the big blame for book deals like this one belongs to the public -- the people who lap up every scrap of celebrity gossip and rush to buy the various tell-alls laden with scandal or thinly veiled autobiographies published as "novels" "written" by the celebrity of the moment so that these books hit the bestseller list.

If there wasn't a demonstrated market for this kind of thing, nobody would bother publishing it.

Kalen Hughes said...

saying that public money--our tax money-- should be used to support artists and finance artwork such as crosses in urine

I assume that you're talking about Serrano's PISS CHRIST. I have to point out, since I see this piece misrepresented so frequently, that PISS CHRIST is a profoundly religious piece. It's about the artist's disgust with the very idea of a mass-produced pink plastic crucifix (or so he said very convincingly in an interview when the controversy hit).

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that the book is not going to be published. I believed this would be his confession and I wanted to read his side. I think a "confession" book would make him even more of an outsider to the world. Eventually someone will publish this book.

JoAnn, I agree with your thoughts about debating and talking about issues. Maybe if we discussed more issues, there would be more change in our country. Regardless of what political party you belong to, when people come together and talk, change happens.

I also admire Bob Schieffer and am continuely enlightened by him.
As for celebrity gossip, it pays well and there will always be a market. People are curious about the rich and famous.

Sandra K. Moore said...

Joann, I agree with you wholeheartedly about discussing the issues.

But I think we have to start from the beginning -- Why does the O.J. situation offend me? Because it was a miscarriage of justice? Because the rich and famous can buy their way out of trouble 80% of the time? Because the prosecution appeared incompetent and those are the people who were supposed to be protecting me?

No, I have to go back further than that. The O.J. situation offends me because I'm afraid. I'm afraid of a society where a jury can look at the same facts I'm looking at and decide the truth is the opposite of what I perceive to be true. What's more, I'm afraid that the jury's actions will impact me and my life.

Now, the reality is that I'm likely never to run across O.J. Simpson in person. But I can't control what that (or any) jury has decided, nor can I go to each jurist and explain why they're wrong. Even if I could do that, there's a 99.9% chance they won't hear what I have to say, because they're walking around with their own thoughts and ideas about what is true. And if they tell me their version of truth, will I open my ears and hear them? Or will I automatically assume they're wrong because they disagree with me?

If we started every political or cultural discussion with, "I'm afraid of this issue because..." we'd probably discover that we all have a lot of common ground between us. Then our open discussions in public forums would generate more light than heat. Then our conversation would have a chance at changing something. Otherwise, we just talk past each other, which happens a lot on public forums, in bars, and at the dinner table.

So if people started from their feelings of anxiety and fear, I'd have a lot more interest in the O.J. discussion (and political discussions in general).