Exploiting the Archives: O.J Simpson Edition
I’ve led such a curious existence that it’s probably not all that strange that O.J Simpson has played a weirdly central role in my career and personal life. As I wrote in my 2009 memoir The Big Rewind, when I was a college Freshman I found the sports card equivalent of Willie Wonka’s Golden Tickets: a voucher for a football card O.J Simpson was scheduled to autograph while in prison for all that unpleasantness involving his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman.
The mildly sketchy dude who ran the group home I grew up in offered to help me sell the voucher for a small fee, leading to him being fired. So O.J Simpson and greed cost me and my group home brothers a sometimes questionable but fundamentally okay father figure.
Many years later, I wrote up O.J’s prank pay-per-view special for the A.V Club and my now wife, who I hadn’t seen in eight years, commented on the piece to say she loved it and wanted to teach it to her students. That began a long-distance romance that led to real life love, and then marriage, and then a baby in a baby carriage.
It was a whole thing and thanks to an unlikely cupid and probable two-time murderer, I am now happily married and have a beautiful baby boy. Sometimes life works out funny that way..
Many years later, I launched a short-lived series on books from notorious figures called Literature of the Cursed, where I wrote about O.J Simpson’s bizarre, jaw-dropping quasi-confession If I Did It.
If I Did It was a source of extraordinary controversy upon its release. People understandably feared that Simpson was either profiting off his heinous (alleged) crimes or offering up a manual on how to get away with murder. Yet I found the book to be a morbidly fascinating glimpse into the mind and mindset of toxic, dangerous sociopath.
With O.J out of prison, there’s no better time to read my piece on If I Did It. Seldom has the phrase “I read it, so you don’t have to” been more apropos.
Support Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place’s search for the real killers and get neat bonuses like patron-exclusive content at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace