The International Writers Magazine: Comment:

How a Murderous Ex-Jock Exposes Our Ills
Sanctimonious, hypocritical, disingenuous media harping
James Campion

Only this juicy nugget could make me bag a perfectly serviceable plan to send the demented correspondence I get from you lunatics to press before whisking off into a long Thanksgiving weekend booze haze in Key West. Instead, I send my own departing love note to my pedantic brethren in the fourth estate. Then we get down to shredding whatever passes for common decency on the Gulf of Mexico these days.

Seriously people, calm down.
    So Harper Collins and Fox Television attempted to make a buck on O.J. Simpson's desperate notoriety grab. It's not like the man was skipping a double-murder charge. This already happened. Outrage then was justified. Now it just seems like collective sore loser whining.

    For those comfortable in their bubble existence, and I, for one, do not blame you, O.J. Simpson has scribbled some kind of pamphlet camouflaged as a book called "If I Did It", which postulates his having committed a crime he actually committed -- the murder of his ex-wife and a very unlucky waiter.

    No matter how you view this confusing scenario: strange Lewis Carroll jabberwocky or a nifty Abbott & Costello routine, it is fascinating stuff and a guaranteed ratings bonanza for FOX Entertainment, which happens to own the book's publishing concern, Harper Collins. This is not unlike those interminable Simon and Schuster book plugs masquerading as news on 60 Minutes, a product of CBS News, owned by CBS Enterprises, which owns, you guessed it, Simon and Schuster.

    But incestuous corporate shenanigans aside, making scratch off of salacious, gruesome, sensationalistic tripe and the tasteless picking of bones is the very aim and purpose of having publishing houses and television production companies in the first place -- not to mention the only reasons to endure a mainstream media. The real outrage is that any of you "watchdogs for decency" believe otherwise.

    Grow up. What is this Journalism 101 with Professor Tweed Jacket & Elbow Patches waxing poetic about the code of reporter ethics, serving the common good, and ridding the planet of evil? Join us in the new century. It's the same as the old century, and all the centuries' prior. Freak shows sell. Reality entertainment is a cheap bilk and has excellent resale value. This stuff is business, not art. It sure as hell isn't anything that needs a hearty debate on principles.

    Exactly when did book publishing and TV nonsense need a code of ethics? And what exactly is a code of ethics? Our ethics? Please. I've worked for all levels of the Big Three, jack; television, newspapers, and radio, and not one minute of it did I get the idea anyone was in it for the exaltation of humankind.

    All these soapbox soldiers railing against exploitation while working for major newspapers and television concerns is the very definition of irony. This lame pilfering of Rupert Murdock, CEO of Fox Entertainment, and Judith Regan of Harper Collins is as stupid as getting all worked up over another outrageous Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh statement. Murdock and Regan are business buddies who've made millions on "shocking" celebrity refuse. Hey, come to think of it, Regan published both Stern's and Limbaughs's books, among other cash-grab gems.

    Still, the usual low-rent pundits have been checking in all over the joint. I was going to print some of the outrage, but I didn't want to waste any bitching space.
    Suffice to say, you've likely read it or heard most of it. And the worst has been coming from sports columnists, who rarely get to play outside the toy department -- getting all self-righteous and preachy again, like during the Senate hearings on steroids. It would have been nice of them to get self-righteous and preachy in the late-nineties when all these jock-sniffing assholes were getting rich off of human chemical spills.

    But I cease and desist from excoriated sportswriters for anything. It's like blaming your dog for property taxes. The real silliness began at FOXEWS, where Bill O'Reilly, whom I assume cashes Rubert Murdock's checks, went ballistic over this thing, threatening to boycott sponsors of the scheduled O.J./FOX broadcast. If O'Reilly really wanted to impress anyone he'd quit FOX altogether. But he didn't. You know why? Who would hire this performing seal other than FOX? It's the perfect home for his goofy antics. Unfortunately for O'Reilly, it was also the perfect home for O.J. Simpson's antics. This makes pious phonies angry. They want the whole pie. Sharing is anathema to media whores.
    And this brings us to O.J. Simpson.
    Until the events of 9/11, the O.J. Simpson trial was the defining moment of a generation. It had all the elements of true cultural drama and paraded the most important issues of our times in front of the nation: lawspeak, race, and the abuse of 24-hour media coverage. Thus, I believe anything to do with O.J. is news, even this farce. It's either that or more mindless shit about Tom Cruise or the Royal Family or some dumb-ass football creep like Terrell Owens.

    C'mon, O.J. is our gremlin. He's the ghost in our machine, like these trolls we have in the White House or Michael Jackson. Personally, I have a need to see the fallout. More importantly, I have the right to see it.
    But, alas, as I write this it looks like FOX is caving into sponsor pressure or bailout, which are how these things usually get settled. Who is willing to pay for them? My guess is someone somewhere will be willing to pay for this dung eventually. I might. Maybe I can broker an Internet deal. Anything goes on the Internet. Call YOUTUBE!
    I'll listen to offers now. Can't be worse than taking money to pen this mess.
© James Campion November 21st 2006

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