Thursday, November 16, 2006

If OJ Simpson Did It...Not!

OJ Simpson is going to be interviewed on Fox this month to publicize the publication of his book If I Did It, published by Judith Regan, the Queen of Conservative Publishing. Regan has published such great conservative books as Rush Limbaugh's The Way Things Ought To Be, Sean Hannity's Deliver Us from Evil, Robert Bork's Slouching Toward Gomorrah and Peggy Noonan's The Case Against Hillary Clinton, and these authors all must be proud to be joined by someone as illustrious as OJ Simpson on the roster. Regan has also published books by authors who are not conservative but have helped conservatives win elections such as Ralph Nader, Mark Green and Michael Moore. Why would a great conservative publisher like Regan, who says this book will amount to a confession by OJ, want to publish a book like this and why would a great conservative network like Fox want to publicize it?

Some cynical people will probably say Regan and Fox are doing it for the money. They will say that standards in corporate America have slipped so low that they will do anything to make a quick buck and are banking on the idea that most Americans have lost their moral compass, too. Of course, conservatives believe there is nothing wrong with making money, even if a few peoples' feelings are hurt in the process, but I don't think greed is Regan's and Fox's primary motivation. If making money were their only objective Regan would never have gone into a money-losing business like publishing and Fox would never have broadcast such series as The Swan or Playing It Straight or cancelled Firefly, Arrested Development or The Family Guy. I think their actual goal is to teach the American people a valuable lesson, one that is more important than ever, which is that you can't always believe what you read or see on television.

Most people probably do believe that OJ murdered his wife. I know that I have always believed that--until now. One of the first rules of conservatism is never to admit a mistake and I think if OJ were simply going to confess, that Regan would not be interested in his story. I believe that what is actually going to happen is that OJ is going to describe how the murders took place--if he did it, hypothetically--and his story is going to seem so implausible that we are all going to be convinced he couldn't possibly have done it, just as his far-fetched claims that he was innocent convinced us that he was guilty before. It certainly will be a relief to his children, not to mention Barry Scheck.

I think this brilliant notion of writing a book to confess something everyone thinks is true just to show that it couldn't be true is going to catch on like wildfire. In the future, for example, we might see a book by Tom Cruise called If I Were Gay, a tell-all in which Tom Cruise "comes out." By the end of the book it will be so obvious that there isn't the remotest chance that Tom Cruise could be gay that everyone will be convinced he is straight. To publicize the book he might even do a tie-in with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy espousing hopelessly lame fashion advice that will only confirm his straightness. It would certainly be more effective at convincing people he is straight than marrying Katie Holmes.

This new genre of Hollywood hypothetical confessionals will revolutionize publishing. Instead of presenting a plausible but fictional narrative that claims to be a memoir like James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, these faux memoirs will present fiction that is so improbable that we will know it has to be made up. Perfectly suited to the Age of Irony, all of these books would have air quotes around their titles.

But I don't think Regan's goal is just to transform the Hollywood memoir. I think this new genre will have a huge impact on politics as well. Right now, for example, a majority of people believe the War in Iraq was a mistake. But I think these numbers would turn around if President Bush wrote a book or made a speech called If the War in Iraq Was a Mistake. He could even get some of the people who worked on Colin Powell's speech at the U.N. to work on it for him. By laying out the case that the War in Iraq was a blunder so unconvincingly, most people would be persuaded that the war was a success after all, although some gullible pundits like Richard Cohen and Thomas Friedman might be fooled and take it at face value.

I see a whole slew of equally incredible books using this kind of reverse psychology to convince the American people that the opposite of what they think is true. George Allen and Trent Lott could team up to write a book called If I Were a Racist, perhaps posing in white sheets on the cover as a joke. Tom Delay would have us in stitches with a book called If I Were a Crook. Roger Ailes could write a book (or perhaps just leak a memo) called If Fox News Weren't Fair and Balanced. And Rush Limbaugh could team up with Regan again to write If I Were a Big Fat Idiot. All of these "confessions" would have readers slapping their foreheads saying, "How could I have believed that!" I could even write a book myself called If Jon Swift Were a Liberal, if I only knew where to begin. On second thought, maybe not. Some things are just too ridiculous to believe.

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harrogate said...

Another brilliant post, Mr. Swift. Clearly O.J. is inviting readers to join him in abstract, hypothetical thinking. Why can't people understand this?

Adding to your list of wonderful book titles, how about:

_If I Were A Nutbag_ by Pat Robertson.
_If I Made a Living Exploiting Deep-Seated Bigotries_ by Karl Rove

and, of course,

_If I Weren't Funny_ By Dennis Miller

Sporty said...

Some things are just too ridiculous to believe.

Hear! Hear! Good sir!

lilfeathers2000 said...


Roger Ailes said...

I look forward to If I Was Banging Judith Regan While Married To My Wife by Bernard Kerik.

Or If I Still Had My Fox News Channel Show I'd Still Be Yammering About Bill Clinton's Morals by Judith Regan.

outofcontext said...

Your examples are as outlandish as:
If We Did Torture by Thomas Pappas
If I Were a Transvestite by J. Edgar Hoover
If I Did Get Drunk and Shoot My Friend In The Face by Dick Cheney
If I Were A Bigger Racist Than Trent Lott (and Knew Full Well What Macaca Meant) by George Allen
If I Were A Degenerate Gambler by William Bennett
If I Were The Gay Leader of an Anti-Gay Political Party by Ken Mehlmann

Anonymous said...

Maybe Scott Peterson will be enlightened to do a book now. If I really killed Laci and Conner this is how I would have done it ! Lmao

R said...

Oh Jon, how wonderful you are.

Anonymous said...

You're right... 'If Jon Swift Were a Liberal' is just too far off the bat.

This blog just keeps getting better and better.

Jae said...

I bet at the end of the series, OJ will look in the camera and yell "You got JUICED!" I love his dvds!

Anonymous said...

If I were a Moron -- George W Bush

If I were A DRUNK -- C "Hic" Hitchens

thaumaturge said...

Been done.

"If I Were a Carpenter".

OK, maybe this might be marginally less nauseating.

The Minstrel Boy said...

i haven't actually read o.j.'s book but if i were to do so i would probably be inspired to help him find the real killers.

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