Nietzsche once wrote that man is the unhappy animal. I say that man is the delusional animal. It’s horribly simple: during evolution we developed consciousness, and this heightened awareness told our ancestors that one day they would die. It also told us them lots of other things they wished were not true. (For a catalog of some of those harsh truths, listen to any Muddy Water’s CD). Today most people still believe in either a “just God” or some kind of cosmic karma; in other words, most still think that in the end the good guys will win and the really bad guys will go to hell. I’m not saying that both of those concepts are definitely delusions, but they just might be.
Even to the jaded and cynical among us, it was a shock to see OJ cleared of murder late in the 20th Century, despite the avalanche of evidence presented against him at his trial. We’d always harbored the suspicion, or for some of us, the near-certainty, that justice in this universe is as random as everything else seems to be. And of course, if justice is faithless or fickle, it’s not really justice. But here was the hard evidence that our belief in justice is a delusion: a jury, in the supposedly best criminal just-us system in the world, set OJ free, while the friends and family of his victims. along with most of us, looked on with horror.
As a kid I had a poster of OJ on my wall. I had nothing against him. But it seemed to me–and any other sane adult–that beyond a shadow of a doubt, he had committed double murder–not against some evil beings or cartoon villains, but against a woman who’d married him and her innocent young friend. To see OJ smiling, his supporters dancing and cheering in the streets, the hot blondes who continued to date him after his release, etc., was just more frosting on that cancerous cake. To know in the back of your mind that life is wildly unfair is one thing; to see proof on the magic TV that there is no justice, even for the most wicked, is another.
Well, you could argue that OJ did end up receiving some justice, even if it was for a ludicrous, Three Stooges-style robbery. And for a time there it seemed that at least OJ might rot and die in his luxury prison. It wouldn’t have been as satisfying as seeing him crushed to death and then tossed into a bog or fed to wild pigs, but at least it would have given the friends and family of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman some sense of inner peace to know that he’s off the streets. And it would have left the rest of us some room to hope that justice is real after all.
But instead, now we’ll have to watch as OJ dates hot blondes, smiles for the camera, makes money being a buffoon, etc. And we’ll at some point have to look at the pained expressions of at least some of the friends and family of Ron and Nicole, whose only crime was to be born in a world like this.