This past week I drove to Nebraska and back. It’s beautiful country. I had never been there before, but I will certainly go there again.
This year, two television programs have brought renewed attention to the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial. Airing from February through April, FX’s miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story was a surprisingly subtle and effective true-crime docudrama. And earlier this month, ABC and ESPN presented Ezra Edelman’s truly extraordinary documentary miniseries O.J.: Made in America, which looked not only at the trial itself, but also at Simpson’s earlier career and fame, as well as his life since the verdict. One of the things that both shows successfully attempted to do was to explain why, while most white Americans greeted O.J.’s acquittal with shock and dismay, most African Americans celebrated the verdict as a victory. Events this week have brought to mind the still only partly learned lessons of that trial and those responses. Continue reading
In a review of Mark Danner’s latest book, Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War, Samuel Moyn questions the focus of Danner’s polemic: where Danner sees American war efforts around the world as a result of a “state of exception” generated in the early part of the War on Terror, Moyn contends instead that US military action is anything but exceptional—it is regulated, legalized, and controlled and therein lies the problem. “What if,” Moyn argues, “stigmatizing atrocity, making military sprawl less offensive to many even as it transcends all known chronological and territorial limits left the conflict harder to rein in? Indicting dirty war by itself [as Danner does in his book] does not reach the core of our spiral—indeed, doing so may help it continue to spin.” Continue reading