Answering the Post's Diva

Categories: News

The Palm Beach Post's "Literary Diva" asks in her blog why it's OK for Newsweek magazine to summarize O.J. Simpson's account of his killing of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but it's not okay for Judith Regan/HarperCollins to print a book about it.

"I've got one question," asks diva Rhonda Swan, who specializes on the "African-American literary scene," "What's the difference between Newscorp subsidiary ReganBooks printing Simpson's words and Newsweek?"

Here's my answer: Newsweek isn't making Simpson a load of cash and putting him on a publicity tour.

Landing an interview with O.J. wherein he confesses to the murder would doubtless be a journalistic coup. Paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars to pretend like he's confessing for a schlock book is a literary shame.

After the jump: Newsweek's Mike Miller's Version

Here's the guts of the Newsweek article:

On June 12, 1994, Simpson attends his daughter Sydney's dance recital. He writes that he is in a foul mood after the performance, stewing over the behavior of his ex-wife. He is due to fly to Chicago late that night. But first he races to Nicole's Bundy Drive condominium in Brentwood. He parks in the dark alley behind her condo and dons the knit wool cap and gloves he keeps handy to ward off the chill on the golf course. He also has a knife in the Bronco, protection against L.A. "crazies." He intends to scare her. He enters through a broken back gate—he's told her a "million times" to get the buzzer and latch fixed—and encounters Goldman, who is returning the glasses of Nicole's mother, Juditha. She had left them at Mezzaluna, where the Brown family dined after Sydney's recital and where Goldman is a waiter. Simpson accuses Goldman of planning a sexual encounter with Nicole, which Goldman denies. Nicole tells Simpson to leave him alone. Goldman's fate is sealed when Kato, Nicole's Akita, emerges and gives him a friendly tail wag. "You've been here before," Simpson screams at Goldman.

At Simpson's criminal trial, to explain how one man could have killed two people, the Los Angeles County coroner theorized that Simpson knocked out Nicole, then quickly slit her throat before turning to Goldman. If the book's account is true, the coroner's hypothesis was correct—almost. Simpson writes that his ex-wife came at him like a "banshee." She loses her balance and falls hard, her head cracking against the ground. Goldman assumes a karate stance, further angering Simpson. He dares the younger man to fight. Then, in the book, Simpson pulls back. He writes, "Then something went horribly wrong, and I know what happened, but I can't tell you exactly how."

Simpson writes that when he regains control of himself, he realizes he is drenched in blood and holding a bloody knife. Both Nicole and Goldman are dead. Simpson heads back to the alley but before getting into the Bronco to flee, strips down to his socks. He rolls his bloody clothes and the knife into a small pile. (That's an important detail. The police never recovered those clothes or the murder weapon, but they did find Simpson's socks—with Nicole's blood on them—at the foot of his bed at his Rockingham estate.) As he nears his house, Simpson sees the limo that will take him to the airport for his Chicago trip. He steals onto his estate via a darkened, hidden path that takes him directly behind the guesthouse where Kato Kaelin is living. Simpson describes how he stumbles into an air conditioner for Kaelin's room, making a terrific racket—just as Kaelin told police he had heard.

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