The last time I saw O.J. was in the depositions for the civil trial, and believe it or not, Greta, it was in the men’s room. And it was just us, and I was very uncomfortable. And all’s he said to me was just, ‘Answer everything honestly.’ And I took off. I washed my hands and then I took off.
— Kato Kaelin, speaking to Greta Van Susteren this past week.
As you surely have heard by now, O.J. Simpson is up to his old tricks again, this time barging into a Las Vegas hotel room with a bunch of armed dudes he met at a cocktail party and allegedly re-stealing memorabilia (the Juice claimed he was just reacquiring items stolen from him, but admitted he took other items, as well) from a pair of washed-up drifter–losers (one of whom, Alfred Beardsley, ended up being arrested some days later on a parole violation), potentially committing a full complement of felonies in the process. The case is already rife with beautiful ironies, including the hilarious fact that the suit O.J. wore at his murder acquittal was among the memorabilia the pair allegedly stole from Simpson.
The whole scene was deliciously captured on audiotape, with O.J. screaming, “Don’t let nobody out of here” and “You think you can steal my shit, motherfucker?” Which, of course, underscores the most amazing thing about this case: the mathematically inexpressible breadth of Simpson’s stupidity. How a guy who the whole world is just dying to catch in the commission of a serious crime could commit kidnapping, armed robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon on tape and in front of a half-dozen witnesses boggles the mind. After being caught in the act, O.J. then unveiled his legendary “sense of humor” for reporters, muttering something about “I thought what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Simply put, O.J. Simpson is the best thing that ever happened to television — he’s The Addams Family meets Jason from Friday the 13th meets COPS meets Monday Night Football. He’s crazy, he’s violent, he can’t afford lawyers who’ll keep him from saying dumb shit, and he used to run a 4.4 40. Is there a more marketable news protagonist in America than this guy?
On top of all this, we have O.J. Simpson to thank for the public resurfacing of Kato Kaelin, this generation’s original famous-for-being-famous pseudo-celebrity icon. Alas, there are no more Katos in this world, mainly because today’s talent-negative pseudo-celebrities tend to get their big break by sucking root on the Internet, not by squatting in the guest room of an alibi-seeking double murderer. So today’s afternoon broadcasts on E! are filled with illiterate midriff-baring tramps instead of half-literate 40-year-old ex-surfers with affective disorder. Which is a shame, because the Kato era was a noteworthy one in American history, a time when we lived fat and happy off the Internet bubble and the scariest thing on television wasn’t Osama bin Laden but Marcia Clark’s hairdo. We got to go back to that time again recently, which was nice. And again, we have O.J. to thank.
Most hilarious, to this writer, was the reaction to the O.J. story on the World Socialist Web Site. If you want to know why communism will never take hold in America, read this:
In a time when Washington is busy laying the groundwork for possible attacks against Iran, when a report by Britain’s polling agency ORB (Opinion Research Business) estimates that 1.2 million violent deaths have occurred in Iraq during the US occupation, when the US is facing a crisis in the housing market with alarming numbers of foreclosures, the top story on all the major news networks is the alleged botched robbery of some autographed footballs by a washed-up athlete.
I’m sorry, but even a socialist ought to be amused by O.J. Simpson. Even the proletariat needs to laugh occasionally, and we will have plenty of opportunities once O.J. lands in a Nevada prison carrying 48 years without possibility of parole. Can we start taking bets on the date of his inevitable religious conversion? Who among us wouldn’t enjoy the sight of a completely bald, tattooed O.J. in leg manacles praying at a plastic table with Chuck Colson?
At this writing O.J. is being hit with additional felony charges, all of which could put him away forever. Which is certainly enough to put him in our top 10 for this year.
When he’s not googling “a trip down memorabilia lane” and “squeezed Juice,” Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone. He can be reached atM_Taibbi@yahoo.com.