Twenty years after Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder, thoughts on Socrates, St. Augustine, If I Did It, and the nature of guilt

Morgan Meis in The Smart Set:

ID_IC_MEIS_OJ_AP_002If I Did It is an extremely confusing book written by an extremely confused man. That man is O. J. Simpson. He wrote the book as an act of confession. Or, maybe not, since the entire book is hypothetical. O. J. Simpson didn’t even write the book. He told his hypothetical account to a ghostwriter named Pablo F. Fenjves. In fact, the name O. J. Simpson is nowhere to be found on the cover of If I Did It. There is only the phrase “Confessions of The Killer.”

The book refers to that now-infamous night twenty years ago, June 12, 1994, when O.J.’s wife Nicole Brown Simpson was killed along with Ronald Goldman. Ron Goldman was, most likely, a man at the wrong place at the wrong time, a waiter returning a pair of glasses left at a restaurant by Nicole’s mother. Or maybe he was romantically involved with Nicole. Either way, it doesn’t matter anymore. Ron Goldman was caught up in the events of that night and was killed. After O. J. Simpson’s trial ended in a not-guilty verdict in 1995, there was another trial. This was a civil trial, brought by Ronald Goldman’s family. That trial reached verdict in 2007. O. J. Simpson was found liable for the wrongful death of Ronald Goldman. The Goldman family was awarded $33.5 million dollars in damages. They also received the publishing rights of If I Did It. The Goldmans were ordered by the judge of the civil trial to publish the book as a way to collect damages, (O. J. having nowhere near $33.5 million dollars readily to hand), and to prevent O. J. from profiting from the “wrongful death.” It was the members of the Goldman family who decided to call the author of If I Did It “The Killer.”

If I Did It includes an introduction by the Goldman family, a prologue by Pablo Fenjves explaining how the book was written, a history of the trial, an afterword by the journalist Dominick Dunne, and an epilogue by the Goldman’s lawyer Peter T. Haven. The sheer polyphony is enough to confuse anyone.

More here.