The O.J. Simpson Trial: Race, Fame + the Spaces in Between - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The O.J. Simpson Trial: Race, Fame + the Spaces in Between

The O.J. Simpson Trial: Race, Fame + the Spaces in Between

By Eugene S. Robinson


Because outsized ambitions and egos can be dangerous.

By Eugene S. Robinson

It’s been 20 years this month since the brutal murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in front of a Brentwood, California condo. America, and much of the world, was held — nay, glued — to the spectacle that the court proceeding for O.J. Simpson’s trial for these crimes had become, from the first jury seating on November 2, 1994 to the delivery of a verdict on October 3, 1995.

Conceptual famous african american man being photographed by paparazzi

Race, Fame + the ‘Trial of the Century’

Source Corbis

Of course, first came the low-speed chase through the highways and byways of Los Angeles. Followed by lurid headlines painting a shadow world of alleged rogue cops straight out of central casting, speeches by crafty defense attorneys waving blood-soaked gloves and an endless, churning national conversation about the role of race in every aspect of the case. Can’t forget all of that. Nor the fact that after all of that hubbub, Simpson presently sits in prison for a totally unrelated crime right about now.

But since then, the rapid growth of tabloid television and the tawdry lifestyles of the sort-of-rich, semi-well-off and definitely somewhat-famous folks has made it possible to confuse up with down, black with white and right here with over there. And now, viewed from a remove of two decades, one thing is increasingly clear.

Everybody got it all wrong.

Everybody but us, that is.

Which is the lights-camera-action cue for our video take on the change in American celebrity power and pull since the last “trial of the century.”

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