With all the problems out there in the world today (international terrorism, the situation in Darfur, the possibility that Paris Hilton will put out a second CD), I'm more than a little perplexed by the recently-concluded controversy over O. J. Simpson's book If I Did It and the TV interview Fox was going to run to promote it. It's not just because I think Fox and Judith Regan, the publisher of the book, were wrong to try to resurrect the double murder Simpson is accused of.
It's because it's O. J. Freaking Simpson.
Seriously, who in their right minds would spend even two minutes listening to this guy right now? The problem is...far too many people would. We're a society that loves to see the famous screw up. Would we give two craps about Michael Richards these days if it hadn't been for his racist tirade on stage at a comedy club? For a while, I thought he was part of the Federal Witness Relocation Program after "The Michael Richards Show" stunk up the airwaves so badly.
And the O. J. book/interview is no different. We're so wrapped up in his celebrity (or alleged celebrity these days) that we fall prey to our baser instincts before our minds can slap us up-side the head and say, "Hey, you goober, there are more important things than this dirtbag out there." Ask yourself this question. If the roles were reversed and O. J. Simpson had a choice between watching your interview where you kinda-sorta confess to a double murder and a TiVo'ed episode of "Deal or No Deal," what do you think he'd watch?
That's right. "Deal or No Deal." Why? Because you simply aren't as interesting as Howie Mandell and those briefcase models.
Fortunately, Fox head honcho Rupert Murdoch pulled the plug on the whole interview and most of the copies of If I Did It have been recalled to be destroyed. But that doesn't change the fact that Americans spent far too much time thinking about O. J. Simpson and not enough time on the really important issues. Simpson is a shiny object that distracts us...and our society has ADD. So, the next time some celebrity does something that puts them in the news in a bad way, take a moment to think about whether it's worth your time to bother with it. If you don't think it is, ignore it and move on. If you think it is, go for it. Immerse yourself in the story. Just try not to get in front of me in the mall, okay?