I Finally Saw “O.J.: Made In America,” And I Am Depressed

Inspired by the upcoming parole hearing, in which double knife-murderer O.J. Simpson is expected to be paroled (and should be), I decided to watch a much-praised documentary series that I had thus far avoided.

Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” (not to be confused with “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,”the dramatic TV mini-series starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. as the fallen football great, released the same year ) is a 2016 documentary produced for ESPN Films and their 30 for 30 series. I saw it a few days ago. I’m sorry I did.

Not that the film isn’t excellent, thorough, fair and though-provoking. It is. Nor was there too much in it that surprised me. Simpson defense attorney Carl Douglas gloating over how the defense team unethically and dishonestly altered Simpson’s home to deceive the jury made me want to punch him in his smug face, but I already knew about that outrageous tactic. Seeing Mark Furmin on the stand invoking the Fifth Amendment when he was asked whether he had ever planted evidence at a crime scene made me want to gag, but it made me want to gag when I saw it live. One more time, I was convinced that the prosecution had so botched the case that there was plenty of reasonable doubt for a jury to employ to acquit O.J., just as it was obvious from the trial that he was guilty as sin. All of this I expected.

I did not expect to be so emotionally troubled and ethically disoriented by the conclusion of the film, in which one African-American after another, most of them speaking in the present day, tells the camera with various levels of offensiveness that O.J.’s acquittal was a great moment for black America, a form of redemption, pay-back for centuries of abuse and decades of  discrimination by police and the justice system, proof that the system can work for African Americans and not merely against them, a well-earned poke in the eyes of white America, sweet vengeance and retribution, and a result to be honored and cherished as victory for blacks everywhere.

A prominent minister and civil rights leader actually compares Simpson’s acquittal to Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. I wonder what Robinson would have thought about that comparison. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “How Not To Promote Tolerance and Undersatnding of Muslim Culture

From Jeff, a.k.a. King Kool, discussing a Muslim TV executive’s murder and beheading of his wife, who with him founded a New York tlevision channel aimed at promoting better understanding and less fear of Muslims:

“…This will certainly not promote tolerance, but in its own horrible way, it might promote understanding. On the one hand, all variety of men are capable of producing the sort of person who would sooner slay their significant other to avoid the shame of divorce. In a strange way, this just says that they’re just like anyone else.

On the other hand, the misogyny that is integral to some people’s practice of the religion is something that should be held to higher scrutiny. Continue reading

How Not To Promote Tolerance and Understanding of Muslim Culture

Here is how it works: When a Muslim couple sets up television station specifically for the purpose of advancing understanding and tolerance of Muslims in America, the couple also creates a duty to further that goal by  their own personal behavior. It would be more damaging for the proprietors of a station with such an important goal to be implicated in a terror plot, for example.  Muslims doing so while claiming to be devoted to bridging the chasm of distrust between America and Islam would make the chasm deeper, perhaps deeper than the usual, garden variety Radical Islamic terrorist plot.

Another no-no for such a couple, I’d say: the husband stabbing the wife to death and cutting off her head. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week

“Based on what we’ve seen so far, this shouldn’t have happened. Even when we’re asked to make an arrest, common sense should prevail, and discretion used in deciding whether an arrest or handcuffs are really necessary.”—-New York Police spokesman Paul Browne, admitting that it was a mistake it was a mistake to arrest a 12-year-old junior high school student and taking her out of school in handcuffs for doodling her name on her desk in erasable marker. Alexa Gonzalez was scribbling on her desk Monday while waiting for her teacher to pass out homework, and the teacher summoned the police to report a 657…a doodle in progress.  The Men in Blue led Alexa out of school in cuffs  to a police station across the street, where she was detained for several hours. Continue reading