O.J. Simpson is out of prison now. He was released early Sunday morning after serving nine years for armed robbery.
And now begins what figures to be a strange moment in American media. Simpson, who most people believe committed a double murder in 1994, who was acquitted of those crimes in criminal court, held liable for them in civil court, and ultimately sent to jail over a botched robbery that probably would not have gotten him a 33-year-sentence had he not been thought to have already gotten away with murder, is now a free citizen who is the object of endless fascination in American culture.
We’re all going to have to decide what to do about that, and it’s probably going to be uncomfortable.
If O.J. gets a Twitter account, will you follow him?
Would you watch an O.J. reality show?
What about a long TV interview? Does it matter to you if he’s paid to do it?
Would you read a book written by O.J.? Does the fact he still owes millions of dollars to the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson have any impact on that decision?
Simpson has been a pariah since 1994, but now that he has served some real time, do you consider him to have paid his debt to society? Even a little bit?
These are difficult questions. May our collective attempts to reckon with them be dignified.