Searching for the real killers

O.J. Simpson smiles creepily on his comeback TV tour, hoping to win back our hearts -- and pin a little guilt on his NBC hosts.

Topics:

I have $50.31 on me right now and I’m willing to put it up as a reward to find the “real killers” of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

O.J. Simpson went on the “Today” show Tuesday to hype his Internet appearance Thursday at AskOJ.com, where, for $9.95, he’ll answer any question from the public, as long as it’s not about his kids.

Simpson said he’s asked the sponsoring company to donate his profits to three charities. But “Today” host Katie Couric said those charities — including the Innocence Project (which uses DNA evidence to spring the wrongly convicted) and a summer camp for kids with cancer that Simpson helped found — were reluctant to accept the donations. That’s OK, Simpson shrugged, if they don’t want it, some charity will be happy to take it.

Simpson’s line is that the American people just haven’t heard his story, and that when we do, we’ll believe he’s innocent. But who doesn’t know O.J.’s version of events? That he was framed by the Los Angeles Police Department and various friends of Nicole, especially Faye Resnick, who lied at his trial, and that his wife and Goldman were killed by denizens of the shadowy, drug-infested nightlife world he says they inhabited.

Why anyone would pay $9.95 to hear him repeat this stuff is beyond me. They could contribute it to my reward fund instead.

Couric read from Simpson’s famous post-verdict statement: “When things have settled down a bit I will pursue as my primary goal in life the killer or killers who slaughtered Nicole and Mr. Goldman. They are out there somewhere. Whatever it takes to identify them and bring them in, I will provide somehow.” She asked him with a straight face but barely masked hostility how the search was going.

The years have gone by and not a single clue has turned up, despite Simpson’s no-doubt constant search for the — is that them over there?! — real killers. He told Couric that some new information came in just last week, but he couldn’t discuss it.

When Couric suggested that most Americans think his supposed search for the real killers is a joke, Simpson made a Freudian slip. That’s why we watch him now, isn’t it? We’re waiting for him to mess up, to accidentally admit that he did it, or just to break down, “Perry Mason” style, and tearfully shriek a confession.



“If you think I’m innoc … guilty,” he said, “why isn’t NBC, you, putting up a reward? You would like to find who did this if I didn’t do it, wouldn’t you? You have more money than I.” He delivered his response in that calm, sleepy-eyed, half-smiling manner he’s developed since his trial, which has turned him into a truly creepy guy, guilty or no. “Why wouldn’t you want to donate something to a reward to find these killers? And if you think I did it, you’ll never lose your money. You can’t lose a dime.”

Here’s what I think: I think O.J.’s canned answer is insultingly glib. NBC is not in the law enforcement business, and its unwillingness to put up reward money to find mythical “real killers” proves nothing. (Although its willingness to have him on the “Today” show proves the network is not above using Simpson’s shock value to juice its ratings.) I think a guy who didn’t do it wouldn’t say things like “You would like to find who did this if I didn’t do it, wouldn’t you?” I think NBC did find the real killer, when it booked O.J. Simpson to sit in that big armchair and talk to Katie Couric.

I also think O.J.’s a pretty smart guy, and I think he knows what he’s doing. He knows that television is the magic elixir, the great American “everything’s OK” machine. He knows there’s a reasonable chance that if he puts his face on television every once in a while — not too often — people will slowly but surely come to like him again, to feel like they know him and understand him, maybe even, eventually, love him. Maybe, little by little, he’ll go from being that guy who whacked his ex-wife and got away with it to being that serious, earnest, gracefully aging but still handsome fellow with the pained expression, the one who always has to defend himself against people who just won’t let the past die. He’s on TV. He seems so nice. Let’s get his autograph.

And somehow the real killers will escape capture. I just know it. Those bums.

At least my $50.31 is safe.

DO NOT USE. use king kaufman byline and bio.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>