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Two From Tony

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I haven’t talked about my excellent pal Tony Pierce for a while – bad move me. Today Tony has two wildly divergent pieces showing why he is a complex, unique guy. He reminds me of me in that regard, as I have mentioned before.

First, he answers a reader email about blogs, big media and Warren Zevon:

    Tony,

    Yesterday I wanted to know more about Warren Zevon. Clicked around the blogosphere, and found lots of people saying, “Oh, that’s terrible” or “Here’s my analysis of this or that Zevon lyric, and aren’t I clever for noticing its hidden genius.”

    But I already wrote something like that myself; I mean, I read a couple, but how many can you read?

    Checked the L.A. Times. Glory be! They had an actual interview with the guy, with lots of new information.

    As Reynolds says (or doesn’t say), Advantage, Big Media.

    Nance

    Dear Nance,

    Any time you’re looking for something Hollywood or music-related, please just drop me an email or leave a comment or ask.

    The same goes for the rest of youse.

    Hollywood is an incredibly small place where thousands of paths cross each day and millions of paths cross each night.

    I had the great opportunity of being at a party that Warren attended this summer. ironically, it was the last LA Blogger party that was held at movie producer Brian Linse’s hollywood bachelor pad. Warren and Brian are friends.

    The guests of honor were Eric and Dawn Olsen. That’s dawn with warren in the above photo. advantage warren.

    Eric, a record producer, and author of books regarding record producing, has since formed the amazingly diverse and important Blogcritics.com, to which you can find this amalgam of offerrings about Warren’s fine career.

    As for the LA Times, I’m still mad at them for not mentioning my name in that story about bloggers, and I will remain mad at them until they do a feature about me and the dozen or so major bloggers who reside mere miles from their ivory tower.

Thanks for the kind words once again, T. You are the coolest. But the serious point here is that the LA Times did an article on blogging that could have been written in 1999, didn’t mention one freaking LA blogger even though many of the best ones are there (including Tony) and underlined the nearly open contempt that the Times shows for the phenomenon of blogging and for those who blog.

It was as if they said, “Let’s do an article on blogs and completely miss everything significant, real and specific about it, including the actual existence of those who happen to blog right under our turned up noses.” So they did. Tony knows more about what’s going on in Hollywood than Army Archerd and he tells it in a far more entertaining style than the constipated freaks at the Times. But time will tell the tale, and real talents like Tony will prevail. Matt Welch wasn’t too happy about it either.

So Tony is a guy who knows his shit – that’s why it fascinates and alarms me when he says he believes OJ. This would appear to be the single most race-specific issue since affirmative action. Most white people don’t want OJ to be about race, but there doesn’t seem to be any way around it:

    i believe oj because i want to believe oj.

    like a lot of black kids in the early 70s, oj was my hero.

    he had style, grace, flair, and soul.

    and like lots of black people, when oj was declared not guilty, i breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

    unlike a lot of people, i actually was able to watch most of the trial.

    my particular job at the time, had me working the evening shift if i wanted to. and why wouldn’t i want to?

    i watched the whole thing on E! who had commentary during the breaks, pre- and post-coverage, and a nearly gossipy approach to the proceedings that made it more of a live action soap opera than a legal tussle. they made it easy to follow. they had all the best guests. it started around 9 or 10 in the morning and was done around 3 or 3:30. it became part of my daily routine.

    as someone wanting to believe that he was not guilty, i raised my eyebrows when the LAPD couldn’t account for nearly half of the blood that they collected from OJ to compare with the blood found in his bronco and at the scene and on the blood. i scratched my head when marcia chose to never include the slow chase (pictured) where oj hid in the back of the bronco and called his mother sobbing. allegedly.

    and when the glove didn’t fit, i had to acquit.

    E! gave me a new hero: johnny cochran.

    Blacks were rooting for OJ because he represented a Black man on trial. not only that, but of a Black man killing a skinny young blonde white woman. none of us wanted to believe that any of that was true.

    currently i am telling myself that it was drug dealers who killed nicole after she built up a healthy habit that oj might have financed in the past, but for whatever reason had stopped paying for. this would explain why oj went on the slow speed chase with a passport, cap, fake moustache and wallet (he thought the drug dealers were going to kill him too) crying to his mother.

Because OJ is Black (his emphasis), Tony is willing to bend over backwards to not think him a murderous, hypocritical, duplicitous coward: a model black man on the outside, a boiling cauldron of resentment and seething rage on the inside.

This is the first race-specific thing I have ever heard Tony say, and it shows how deep racial identification goes, even in someone as race-neutral as Tony. I understand it, and I can certainly empathize with it, but I still find it startling and a little bit scary. Here’s why:

OJ isn’t The Black Man – no one is – he’s just A black man, who, based upon a mountain of admittedly circumstantial evidence, had a real bad temper, had real ownership issues with women, and in a fit of rage, killed his wife and her hapless male companion. It’s as ugly as it gets, but for all of its societal overtones, is still just the story of a handful of specific people and their interrelationships – happens all the time, unfortunately.

As Tony admits, he believes OJ because he wants to believe OJ, so he’s not really deceiving himself, but the remarkable thing is that his desire to believe is the overriding factor in the matter. We still have some issues to work out in this country.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://oliverwillis.com Oliver

    Using OJ as any sort of race-proxy makes no sense. Tony (though I love ‘im) is just WRONG on this. OJ Simpson didn’t remember he was black until he got arrested – and then it was a concerted effort to cast the trial as US vs. Them. Sadly the stupid jury bought it, and I’ll never forget the absurdity of OJ running out to a “black” church right after the verdict. Of course, he’s back to living his pre-murder life, looking for “the real killer” on the golf courses of America.

    OJ Simpson is as guilty as sin.

  • Eric Olsen

    I’m glad you agree with me on this one, O, from someone who holds T in as high regard as I do. The very essence of the next step in our society is to treat people as individuals and look at each case individually for good or for ill.

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