Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Comfort Crime

Sort of like "comfort food", the latest O.J. Simpson saga is like an old friend, returning to the spotlight of national attention, just in time to take our minds off of other things. Eugene Robinson of the WaPo sums it up best:

"Welcome back, Juice. It's so nice to have you once again where you belong, at the center of a world-class, spare-no-expense, fuel-the-helicopters media frenzy. You may be a few years older and a few pounds heavier, but[...]at least no one was killed this time. The charges Simpson faces are serious enough to send him to prison for a long time -- and the circus surrounding his arrest is, for me, a brief respite from the real news: Iraq. Iran. Subprime. Darfur. Global warming." Or from a power-elite perspective, one might say "how convenient."

Several students have already asked me for my take, but I really don't have one at this point. Each semester I use the Simpson murder trial from the 90's in Criminology (and occasionally 1101) as an example of the deep divisions in our society over race, perceptions of crime, and the media. The Frontline documentary "The O.J. Verdict Ten Years Later" encapsulates so much of the drama from 1994-1995 and why, ten years later, O.J. remains a polarizing figure in our society.

But regarding Simpson's latest travails in Vegas, it's just too early to comment. While the charges are very serious (ten felony counts, all carrying up to 10-20 years in prison a piece), there are troubling aspects surrounding the events that just don't add up at this point (how many "armed robbery victims" just happen to be carrying tape recorders?).

Don't worry. As professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University put yesterday, "This promises to be the biggest fall series of the new season."

1 comment:

Educator-To-Be said...

Lots of interesting and intriguing and thought-provoking posts on this blog. Thanks. Amy