I don't know if he killed Nicole and Ron. I think he did. But that's not exactly the point.
After all, his infamous acquittal was much more about how white police treat black men than it was about his purported innocence. A million writers, including me, have killed a zillion trees publishing screeds about the meaning of the O.J. trial, and I think we've said enough about the Trial of the Century.
But now he's back, this time as the heavy in the kind of pulp narrative you might find in a sodden discarded paperback half-submerged in a putrid gutter puddle in Times Square. It's got all you'd expect to find in a story after drying it on the fire escape and using latex gloves to flip through the stained pages: Allegedly stolen sports memorabilia, a big-time dealer hunkered down in a swanky Vegas hotel, an ex-jock's armed posse bursting into the room, a clandestinely-made audio tape of the ambush in which the wronged football kingpin is heard to declare, "Think you can steal my shit and sell it?"
I don't know any more about what O.J. did this time than I knew last time. But I am sure of this:
Orenthal James Simpson is the poster child for the impermissible rage of the black American male. By this I mean the you'd-better-behave-yourself-Mandingo rage of an ex-slave who is simultaneously erotically mythologized and publicly flogged for failing to grin with sufficient innocence and frequency in Caucasian company. The psychoanalyst and writer Franz Fanon named a book for this 40 years ago: Black Skin, White Masks, in which, writing from an anti-colonialist black perspective while living in mid-20th-century France, he managed to pretty well anticipate the torment of a 1970s All-American jokey-Negro football-star Hertz Rental Car spokesman who stowed his rage and violence in a crawl space like a gun.
It is a cautionary tale, this nice-black-man syndrome (<plug:> I devoted a chapter to it in my new book </plug>), and the story generally does not end well. The landscape is littered with corpses (walking and otherwise) of black males who took to heart the overseer's strict three-track training regimen for their rage: work it out on the cotton or playing field, or explode and self-destruct, or swallow it and either eat themselves alive from the inside or let it out at home. It looks as if O.J. picked each of these three dead-end doors at one time or another. To paraphrase what a (black male) friend of mine remarked yesterday, What this pissed-off ex-gridiron hero needs is some serious black male initiation. But that's another chapter in the story.
Meanwhile, the networks are again approaching O.J. mania, and the throngs at the gallows may get their second shot at this conspicuously bad nigger after having been cheated the first time, and the cries of "It's a set-up!" from parts of the black side of town (I've already heard some of this in recent days) may echo yet again.
Watch for that white Bronco.