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July 1994


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Mark Netter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 11 Jul 1994 01:52:48 EDT
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It seems to me that the racial aspects of the O.J. Simpson affair, and what
Allan Siegel rightly calls the network fetishization of the affair, are only
just now emerging, with whites and blacks polling very different numbers on
such questions as guilt/innocence, and whether one supports O.J. EVEN IF he
is guilty as charged.  The racial divisions, and often willful differences of
perception (see the "Tawana told the truth!" graffiti in Spike Lee's "Do the
Right Thing") that have grown out of three centuries of oppression and
Two other aspects: What did Nicole Simpson represent to O.J. as embodiment of
the American dream -- the nordic beauty our media usually validizes?  And the
side of that question which addresses media fetishism: To what extent are we
watching a hihg-tech lynching (the term much more applicable this round than
with Clarence Thomas, who coined it)?  The evidence received through the
media seems so damning to O.J., and it may very well convict him (remember,
innocent until proven guilty), and the crime he is accused of goes so deep
into the violent American psyche -- black man, white woman, sex, murder --
that the most disturbing feeling I've gotten from this extremely fetishistic
orgy of wall-to-wall hearings/wall-to-wall O.J. infotainment (did anyone see
Dan Rather shamelessly exploiting the case on 48 Hours this Friday?) is that
we're at some global village Klan rally and some atavistic scenario buried
deep in the U.S. collective unconscious is being played out, in all it's
--Mark Netter, Los Angeles