The Strange Case of Jussie Smollett is fresh in people's minds, but how many of you remember the even stranger and agonizingly drawn-out case of O.J. Simpson? (not to mention agonizingly drawn-out car chase which initiated the subsequent scandalous trial)
You remember O.J., right? Well, after being a sports hero for black and white youth (especially black), he then murdered his wife and her lover. He got off, so I guess that means it's libel to say he did it. So, let's just say... if he did it.
The reasoning for the acquittal that was never expressed to the masses because it was politically incorrect was that the black riots that would have ensued if O.J. was convicted would have led to more deaths and destruction than just letting the poor bastard off.
The government was not confident that blacks would act rationally and instead it was feared that they would lash out like wild animals, rioting in the streets because THE MAN had unjustly taken down one of their great heroes and inspirations.
And so O.J. got off.
But, the humiliated LAPD that played the fool in the kangaroo court trial never forgot how it felt to let a brutal murderer walk (oh sorry, "if" the LAPD had felt that way). So, law enforcement decided to do something about O.J.. He was going to do time one way or the other (probably under threat of vigilante death and all through vigilante channels). These police now acting as unsanctioned vigilantes drugged O.J. up and sent him in with a gang of patsies for a robbery that could never have gone right.
That's my narrative and it is unofficial. It is what makes sense to a rational mind, but admittedly sometimes people and groups (and weather even) can be unpredictable or irrational, so I will submit that my narrative could be subject to the whims of luck and fortune, and that perhaps what seems self-effacing logically is just my aberrant decoding of the events based on a lifetime of understanding what happens regularly in the real world. Maybe O.J.'s "real" story is actually an uncanny "what if" tale, where the events were more like a fantasy, and to be honest what rational person would have expected this? Yet amazingly...
Well here is a fact - O.J. served 9 years for the robbery and this is likely the time (give or take a few years) that he would have actually served for the double homicide (given it would have been argued as a "crime of passion" and that it was tried in liberal California).
I sense that the court officials in the Smollett case used the same rationale as the courts in the O.J. trial. It was rationalized irrationally that Smollett's conviction would lead to civic unrest such that greater destruction would be wrought by the public as a reaction to what they felt was government coercion and corruption.
Why do I feel this way? The police are irate about Smollett's acquittal. From my experiences and knowledge of police it is against their culture to speak out as outraged victims, and they wouldn't do so unless the circumstances really mattered to them. In the last decade, American police have been effectively smeared from state-to-state and under incredible scrutiny by the public, so I can't see why they would pick this battle if it wasn't a worthy cause. That's my reasoning without having read the disclosure or witnessed the trial.
But what if I'm not just some soothsaying kook? And what if I am correct and what if what I have written is true, namely that courts "weigh" the potential community backlash against meting out justice according to jurisprudence and ethics?
We need to expose this rationale and interrogate it to be sure that it isn't a factor in criminal trials. We proactively test adults to make sure they don't have cancer. We proactively test children to make sure they don't have learning disabilities. These are progressive wise moves. So perhaps under that guidance we can proactively test society to make sure that its justice system (in effect an immune system) isn't riddled with some kind of immunodeficiency virus. What's the harm? It's good to get regularly checked for problems of the body, so why not also the civic body and its vital organs?
Would anyone have rioted in Smollett's case? Would anyone care about Smollett being convicted? Did the court officials reason that Smollett's acquittal was the ethical thing to do because they irrationally concluded that his conviction would lead to public disorder?
How many celebrities (from A-lister down to the reality show star) experience this kind of rationale from officials when they commit crimes and are caught and tried? We know that they get away with murder the way regular citizens do not. Venus Williams, Bruce Jenner, Rebecca Gayheart are just the characters I remember and individuals who caused fatalities while driving recklessly and who subsequently received slaps on the wrist for the lives they destroyed. But there is one character that makes all of my speculation not so circumstantial.
For me, Michael Jackson was an obvious pedophile long before it became mainstream headline news. When media keyed-in on his budding friendship with child actor, Macauley Culkin, it was difficult to not feel wary and uncomfortable. I grew up loving Jackson and his musical history became my personal history because of moments like when my older sister covered my eyes at the end of the Thriller music video to buying a VHS tape of Moonwalker to adulation about the release of the Dangerous album, not to mention going back and enjoying the Wiz as well as Jackson 5 pop-soul anthems. It was music I shared with friends and music that society shared around the world. It was devastating to have to admit that he was a bad guy (similarly to older generations than me wrestling with the idea of O.J. as a villain).
But then, quietly police released reports a few years ago about what they found in their search of Neverland Ranch. It was frightening and yet most people still willingly turned away in order to preserve their image of Jackson as a music icon (just like Bill Cosby as a TV icon, or Simpson as a sports icon). The police found evidence in Jackson's home that revealed Jackson was a pedophile. He had collections of bizarre and grotesque pornography where child heads had been cut out of images from magazines and then attached to adult bodies engaged in sex acts. It means he was a pedophile but didn't necessarily imply he was a molester or rapist.
The police had sat on their findings and then even after releasing their reports, the public then sat on their condemnation. It took a documentary movie with detailed testimony by Jackson's victims to then have the public finally accept the reality and with the long trial period (like Simpson) strong feelings had quelled to the point that many people acted as if the news was a moot point - Jackson had already been elevated to the music heavens as a pop god regardless of who he had been as a human being. Barbra Streisand let her yellow and red Pizzagate colors show by making unconscionable public statements insinuating that Jackson carefully picked out kids who were obviously weird, gay, queer, whatever... and who were "interested" in being sexual with a sick grown man. I'm sure Streisand's fans will run to her defense... I hope they all trip and fall on sharp objects.
The story of Bill Cosby is similar in that Hollywood knew about Cosby's raping ways more than a decade before the public would accept an outcry by his victims. You see, Cosby was so pathological that he vetted his victims very carefully and chose women that had poor reputations in the entertainment industry. He realized that for these women to call him out they would be destroying careers that they sorely needed. Not a new story for sex predators really.
O.J., Cosby, Jackson all had their crimes drawn-out or covered-up long enough that by the time we realized the truth there wasn't a fear of public unrest. Or is it the other way around... when the accusation is fresh then the fear of public unrest resulting from condemning the beloved perpetrator is an acute one, and we must draw things out and wait until irrational rage subsides?
Jackson hurt those kids years ago. It's over now. What is the point of convicting him and then having dozens of fans commit suicide or hundreds of fans commit to vandalism or looting? I contend that this is how court officials reason and that it is counter-justice. You cannot hypothesize what-ifs, and instead you have a duty to prepare the public for the reality that there are good reasons for why they should truly never meet their heroes.
This rationale about devotees of scum requiring placation through miscarriages of justice is complete horseshit, but if it doesn't get called out it will continue as a status quo method for judgment within the criminal justice system. And we can see the dangers through the Smollett case because Smollett is a relative nobody compared with Jackson, Cosby, and Simpson. His conviction would not have resulted in adequate chaos to merit an acquittal. Yet, because outrage culture has become so ubiquitous through the Global Village of mass social media, officials are becoming confused and their judgments are skewed. They are not fit to judge until they get a dose of reality about how influential outrage culture actually is (it's mainly ineffectual in the face of the rule of established, stable institutions).
In fact, I believe that conjuring fear about public outrage is an excuse that enables court officials to decide outcomes based on personal bias. I believe that this is what happened in the Smollett case. The only solution is to openly interrogate the court system on the distinct point that irrational rationale could be influencing judicial decisions. Always check for cancer because once it has crept up on you, you are a goner.
Are you Triggered Yet?
#justice #hollywood #pizzagate
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