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Reflections on the Trial of the Century

by Bill Benzon

Let me begin with two general statements:

I tell you these things so you know where I'm coming from. On the first matter, lots of people think the trial is a disgrace, for lots of reasons. The biggest problem is that this event is suspended between Reality and Mythology and no one is trying to get straight on the two, certainly not the principal players in this exhibition. On the second matter, you need to know that my basic judgment on O.J. Simpson is a harsh one. The fact that this trial is a disgrace does not somehow wipe out Simpson's disgraceful private life.

Having made that preliminary statement, I confess that I have little hope of comprehending this trial. It cuts in so many directions that to comprehend it we have to look at the history and nature of our society, even at the meaning and nature of human life itself. I'm not particularly modest in my ambitions, but that's too much for me to handle. Instead I offer several perspectives on this trial of O.J. Simpson. I don't guarantee that these various perspectives are fully consistent with one another or that they add up to a coherent view of the trial. They are simply the best I can do at the moment.

  1. Loss: Sunday Morning, June 19, 1994 -- When I finally confronted the fact of O.J. Simpson's arrest I was near tears.
  2. He Has Known Perfection: Zen and the Athlete's Mind -- Athletic greatness is no mere game. It gives us a glimpse into our deepest nature.
  3. Meritocracy: How Good is The Best? -- Is this trial worthy of the best within O.J. Simpson?
  4. Reality: I'll Let You in My Dream if You Let Me in Yours -- Reality is a hard won achievement, not something which is handed to us.
  5. Racist Mythology: Beauty and the Beast -- O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, and William Kennedy Smith, how do they play in the mythic mind?
  6. Celebrity Land: The Little House of Horrors -- Celebrity Land destroys excellence and cares little for justice.
  7. Fight the Hype: "O.J." and "Mr. Simpson" -- We need to say "NO" to the seductions of the Celebrity System.

Continued . . .

Squeezin' the OJ Hype!

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