The night of the low-speed pursuit of OJ Simpson through the highways around Los Angeles was the night before my wife and I moved to her first appointment. We spent all day - fourteen hours - loading our possessions in to a rented moving van and her mother's car and our car. Our neighbor came to us and told us to watch what was going on. I found it quite surreal, to be honest - a car, moving slowly, followed by a whole phalanx of police vehicles, none of which made a move to intercept or stop the Bronco.
To this day, I count my disenchantment with the mainstream media not with the abysmal performance during the 2000 election, or the impeachment nonsense. I think the whole thing really began with OJ. Somehow, this single event, a murder of little significance other than to the immediate families of the victims, became the show trial for America at the end of the century. Simpson was not the first nor will he be the last celebrity caught up in accusations of violence. There was literally no reason, no rational explanation, for the insistence that this event was somehow seminal in America. Coming along with the rise of the House Republicans and the advent of Newt Gingrich, I cannot help but link them in my mind; both of these were tragedies for America. In the case of the Simpson murder trial, it was neither the trial itself nor the underlying crime that were national tragedies. Rather, it was the almost screeching obsession of the media with this otherwise trivial event (as trivial as the murder of two human beings by another human being can ever be) that made me question, first, my own sanity (I think this is nonsense, but no one seems to agree with me), then the sanity of the media (These people are just plain nuts; CNN has lost its collective mind, giving us ALL OJ ALL THE TIME). When they failed us during impeachment, during 2000, during the run-up to the war, during the '02 and '04 elections, I was not surprised; they had lost their ability to be the effective watchdogs of the commonweal when an otherwise unsensational murder became the focus of some kind of national psycho-drama.
Now, it seems, we have to go through it again. Or not. Unlike 13 years ago, we do not have cable or satellite, and I get my news from on-line sources, steering clear from the utter nonsense the mainstream feeds us. Perhaps I am cut off in some way from the life of the country by living this way, but I tend to think of it as saving my sanity.