Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shame and shun, distance and denounce.


I had the oddest exchange with someone the other day. As an example he brought up OJ Simpson. As OJ Simpson is about as neutral as it's possible to get these days, I'll just stick with him.
The example was... Would you hire OJ Simpson to be your crime reporter? (Okay, he mentioned an actual news company, but that's not neutral, so I'm skipping it.)
My response was supposed to be "Oh dear GAWD, NO!"
And I've been trying to figure out why. So I asked why.
And the response was that clearly I did not believe that OJ was guilty, or I would react with horror. And I ought to read up about the murders.
I do think he's guilty. I also think that the idea, the concept, of a really awful criminal becoming a crime reporter is a profoundly interesting one. It's a *job* after all, and people do need to find jobs after they're done with prison. Provided someone has skill as a writer, why not? OJ might be too well known, but maybe some other felon.
Had the guy asked "Would you allow your friend to *date* OJ Simpson?" my response would still not be outrage, it would simply be "No." So I really did try to figure out why this person thought that this example would make his point. There are people I don't trust, that I know are thieves (arrested and convicted) and I'm not going to put them in charge of the books. People I know with morals I disapprove of, but we give understanding where we can, advice if it's requested. If something doesn't require a call to the police, then apart from topically appropriate caution, what do people expect, what did this guy expect?
I suppose that there is a social context where people of good virtue made a point of crossing the street to avoid the woman with the painted face, that a reputation required that one did not associate with sinners or even appear to notice that those without social approval existed on the edges of your world. Where allowing your children to play with the children of the wrong family (or race) or where some shame made you and yours untouchable socially. One out of wedlock birth and your whole family could be ostracized.
Because even speaking to the wrong person could destroy your social standing, and no one could risk it.

And I thought we were past that a long time ago.
But I'm seeing it now, more often, in more situations. This or that person has an unapproved lifestyle, a belief that Good People no longer believe, something in their past, an association with someone else unapproved. And you are supposed to shame, supposed to shun, supposed to distance, and supposed to denounce.
ALL decent human beings are horrified by OJ Simpson's horrifying murders. The expectation is, that of *course* you will gasp in horror, and insist that this monster should never be allowed any place, forever, in society. Matrons should raise their hems and cross the street and shake the dust from their skirts, making sure that everyone knows that they feel properly.
And I refuse. If OJ Simpson can write, hire him as a crime reporter.

27 comments:

chickelit said...

Isn't OJ up for parole later this year?

My wife recently watched an OJ-sympathetic treatment of the whole thing. I don't pay attention to names and channels. I listened to the whole thing.
____________

When that story broke, news-wise, I recall sitting in a bar in Ft. Collins, CO, and thinking during the white Bronco chase -- "please, yes, suicide." My wife was shocked that I held such an opinion.

Synova said...

What did he actually get in prison for? I was shocked that he wasn't convicted of the murders. The whole glove thing seemed so incredibly stupid. I've gotten leather gloves wet, and I don't think fancy expensive ones would take it much better than ones for farm chores.

But still... what do people think you're supposed to do if suddenly confronted by him in public? Spit and shriek? Faint?

edutcher said...

Sooner or later, character counts.

If we take a worse example than OJ, say Willie Whitewater or the Chap of Quiddick, we quickly find the a liar is a cheat is a thief, etc., all the way to a coward is a bully is a murderer.

Eventually, you have to draw the line.

And, if we're trying to be better than our ancestors pre-1965, or 1765, keep in mind society worked one whole Hell of a lot better than it does today.

Synova said...

But still... what do people think you're supposed to do if suddenly confronted by him in public? Spit and shriek? Faint?

There's always walk away.

AllenS said...

I was on my way to a military reunion in CA with a brief layover in Salt Lake City. While in SLC, I watched the white Bronco chase. About the only way I could describe it was -- weird.

AprilApple said...

OJ lacks credibility. He's a liar. We don't need anymore liars in the media.

ricpic said...

Aside from the fact that OJ is guilty as sin he's got an IQ of about 80. Other than those two issues he'd make a great crime reporter.

ndspinelli said...

Thoughtful piece. I watched some of the trial but mostly listened to it on my van radio as I did surveillance day in and day out. I know something about trials, having worked on them for 40 years. The first mistake was trying the case in downtown, not in Santa Monica, where the murders occurred. The jury pool in downtown was heavily tilted black. The second mistake was having a weak and easily manipulated Judge Ito handle the case. The third mistake was not having savvy prosecutors who had a deep understanding on DNA evidence. This was over 20 years ago and DNA evidence was fairly nascent at the time. The defense understood DNA much more than the prosecution. All that said, you could correct mistakes 2 and 3 and still lose. There is a deep mistrust of the LA Police and much if it is warranted. The defense hammered that, particularly w/ Fuhrman and an almost all black jury which was inevitable from the downtown jury pool.

ndspinelli said...

OJ has ballooned to over 300lbs in the joint. He his addicted to Oreo cookies. More than a bit of irony there.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I agree with many of Synova's sentiments. Everyone deserves a second chance.

The crime it determines how the second chance is given and how it is accepted. The severity or mildness of the infraction of the crime makes the difference. The illustration of the Scarlet Letter woman or a mass murderer. A one time breaking of the law or a person who repeatedly breaks the law. Someone who commits a property crime or who has physcially harmed others. There is a big difference. I would have a very hard time not avoiding someone who is a convicted child rapist, adult rapist, cold blooded murderer.

However I also agree with Ed Sooner or later, character counts.

Given enough time, repentance and showing of character...good or bad we can make a decision on whether to accept or shun.

I personally am close to someone who had, in their youth, a criminal record of some substance (not violent crime). However, after serving several years of federal time, that person has 'seen the light' and spent the last 40 years as a model citizen. Most people are not aware of the past transgressions. The past is past. If they were to know? Would it suddenly change their perception of that person that they have known and trusted for the last 4 decades? Would they shun that person for some things that were done 40 years ago despite the 40 years of being a good citizen and repentant? How unfair would that be.

I believe one of the points that Synova was making (I think) is that the current rush to judgement, ostracizing, shunning, ruining of a person's life because of some perceived infraction is a "knee jerk" reaction.

Not rushing to judgement, however, doesn't mean that we aren't entitled to make judgements or must accept.

AprilApple said...

OJ slit two throats, almost severing their heads.

He should be in jail for life.

AprilApple said...

OJ isn't serving time for murder, he's serving time for robbery. 33 years.

I remember hearing something about a sting operation. I hope so. The rat bastard deserves to rot.

I'd ask the Goldman and Brown families how they would react to OJ as a crime reporter.

Leland said...

The question is too abstract to me. I would ask the concept of the question another way:

What's your thought about Bill Ayers being a professor in the University of Chicago's College of Education?

He's retired now, but he also got away with a bit more serious crimes and never showed remorse for the crimes.

Lem said...

Food for thought. Thanks Synova.

Lem said...

I know Ron Goldmans dad would be all up in arms about it.

He did such a fantastic job advocating for his son I remember his dead son's name but I didn't remember his name until I looked it up.

AprilApple said...

There are probably some ex-felons who would make fantastic criminal reporters. Not OJ.

bagoh20 said...

If you have a job available, why not give it to Ronald Goldman or Nicole Brown, they have a special insight into crime too. Oh, wait ...

"If OJ Simpson can write, hire him as a crime reporter."

If he run a daycare, ...
If he can teach anger management, ...
If he can be a cop, ...

His victims are still dead. If he can bring them back, maybe we can talk, otherwise, hire him as a fireman in hell.

bagoh20 said...

A good crime reporter does not need to be a criminal. They need to be a good writer. In fact, of all groups of people, criminals probably have an extremely low probability of being a good crime reporter. The only thing O.J. should be writing is apologies and checks. It was a simple case of a bad man out of control with no compassion or character. Nothing special about him in either skill or insight into crime reporting. Besides, he's a liar. Why would anyone care what he has to say or write?

This is not about us as a society. It's about a single cruel, selfish man and his multiple victims serious hurt forever. There is nothing else there. Looking for it would be about us, and our cruelty.

AprilApple said...

Exactly, Bagoh. It's insane to forget what he did to those two families. To those two people. OJ was an out of control jealous psychopath. I'll listen if he admits he did it and apologizes. Until then, he can rot.

Trooper York said...

Why would a criminal degrade himself by becoming a reporter?

ampersand said...

Need a crime reporter? Robert Blake needs work.

chickelit said...

The Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel got a good zinger against OJ tonight, something about getting an extra slice of something tonight with his meal. The Hollywood people groaned.

News flash: OJ will be released this fall. He will be in our faces, taunting, reminding us that all lives don't matter.

rcocean said...

Ordinarily, I would agree that everyone deserves a 2nd Chance. But that assumes you've paid for crime. OJ hasn't paid enough for killing two people yet. IMO, 1st degree murder should get the death penalty or at the very least life without parole.

During the OJ trial, Larry king had a panel of commentators including a Jewish Judge from San Diego who kept saying from the very start that the majority black jury would never convict. I thought he was crazy. Short of a photo, there was so much evidence against OJ - it was unbelievable. Motive, Opportunity, the gloves, the shoes, the DNA, the hair in the hat, the shoe size, the blood type, the cuts on his hands, etc. etc. Basically, either the entire LA Police Department was trying to frame him - for no good reason - or he was guilty.

rcocean said...

OJ's been collecting his substantial NFL pension while in Prison. He'll have $millions$ when he gets out. Seems your pension can't be attached by creditors. Don't know if that applies to the Goldman judgment against him.

AprilApple said...

Still looking for the real killers....

Amartel said...

Haha, April. I was going to say ... OJ Crime Reporter: Quest for the Real Killers a/k/a Class C Golf Courses of America Tour.
No. Thanks.
I do not rule out criminals who have paid their debt carrying on as crime reporters or whatever other legal source of revenue they stumble upon once they are back in the world, but OJ? Liar, unrepentant murderer, undeserving identity politics media obsession? No. Thanks. How could anyone trust his reports. It's bad enough watching crime reporting as it is but with OJ commentating it would be like inmates commenting on the asylum. There wouldn't even be a reasonable filter through which to pass the information to render it relevant. Also, I'm not so sure that man is entirely stupid. To me it's clear he was smart enough to not believe his own (his attorneys') BS and had to put up quite an act (he's a crap actor) to convince himself and stay in character during the trial. Again, NO.

Synova said...

rcocean, There seems to be a belief in the "black community" that white people get away with crimes, that they don't get convicted and don't go to jail. White people don't get pulled over by cops and when they do they can mouth off and be horrible, shove the cop around, and not get arrested. All those black celebs talking about what they tell their sons about how to talk to cops sounded like they were all rural Scandinavians from Minnesota because it was almost the same advice every time.

But if you take that statement: White criminals get away with their crimes. A whole lot makes way more sense. Cheering because OJ didn't get convicted wasn't that anyone thought he was innocent but that *finally* a black guy was getting away with it, just like white people do. And BLM and other activists choosing criminals and thugs as their "hands up don't shoot" causes. And you just scratch your head because why pick a criminal? Well, if white criminals get away with it that makes way more sense.

Now I figure that all OJ proved is that *rich* people get away with it. And that might be true. Maybe.

MamaM said...

Liar, unrepentant murderer, undeserving identity politics media obsession? No. Thanks. How could anyone trust his reports.

There it is. No I wouldn't hire him to be a crime reporter.

"Two of the most fundamental types of fighting are overt and covert aggression When you are determined to have your way or gain advantage and you're open, direct, and obvious in your manner of fighting, your behavior is best labeled overtly aggressive. When you are out to "win", get your way, dominate, or control, but are subtle, underhanded, or deceptive enough to hide your true intentions, your behavior is most appropriately labeled covertly aggressive.
Concealing overt displays of aggression while simultaneously intimidating others into backing-off, backing down, or giving-in is a very powerful manipulative maneuver. That's why covert-aggression is most often the vehicle for interpersonal manipulation."
from In Sheep's Clothing, Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, by G.Simon Jr.

I regard OJ Simpson as a covert aggressor whose fame further emboldened him, which is where the stupid comes in.

Certain personalities can be ever so ruthless in their interpersonal conduct while concealing their aggressive character or perhaps even projecting a convincing, superficial charm...they can have their way with you and look good in the process.