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This Day In History, 1995: O.J. Simpson Acquitted

Today is the tenth anniversary of the O.J. Simpson acquittal.

It's not that hard for people to find more information about it, for anyone reading this who doesn't recall the events. The case contributed a lot of images to our popular culture, including the slow-speed chase on the California freeway, the "Dream Team" of lawyers Simpson hired, the pictures of Judge Ito presiding in his courtroom, etc.

On a personal note, I recall two things. The chase took place just around the time I was leaving for Clarion, so I barely knew what the fuss was about over the next few weeks. (Clarion existed in a sort of news blackout.) And when the acquittal took place, all the students at the school where I was teaching had gathered in the dining hall to watch it live on TV, so my Physics class started late.

That was a long trial process. I remember other criminal trials starting and ending within the time line of the Simpson trial.


My first name is Orenthal. Guess who I was named after? I caught heck during the beginnings of the case. Less so during the trial.
Wow. I've never run across the name Orenthal in any other context. I mean, I knew there must be other Orenthals out there, but it seems to be an extremely rare name.

It'll probably become even more so, I'd imagine.
The trial drove me to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, it being the only major paper that didn't seem to be all OJ all the time. I remember the day the jury returned I was completely out of the loop and had no idea it was happening. I was in the Boston fish district, buying netting for my sukkah, and the guy behind the desk made a comment about the verdict. He was stunned I hadn't heard, and that he even needed to specify what trial he was talking about.
The day the jury returned the verdict was Erev Yom Kippur, so a lot of us had other things on our mind, I imagine...
You know, I remembered that, and rejected it as a false memory. Funny the way the mind works.
I realized when I saw the verdict it was a very good thing I wasn't the judge for the case.

I mean, the reading of the verdict would've ended up going like this:

"I hold in my hand the verdict in this case. But, I've realized that for the only time in my life, I have a captive audience of 100 million or so people who will keep watching until I read the verdict. So, I'm going to start off with a rendition of "My Way", followed by my best jokes, then..."
That's when I dropped my Newsweek subscription. I got so disgusted with the fact that that was all anyone was talking about that I decided it wasn't worth trying to keep up with the "news."

December 2016

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