O.J. and the Monster Jealousy

On Thursday, I went over to South Bundy Drive in Brentwood, where the double murder happened. O.J. Simpson was dead at 76. And that famous scene of violence was eerily quiet on a shimmering spring day in Los Angeles.

I had written nearly 30 years ago about the barbaric slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman at Ms. Simpson’s condo, and the infamous trial that drilled into the most sensitive parts of the national psyche, exposing conflicting views about race and policing and celebrity and legal equality.

There were farcical elements of O.J. Simpson’s “trial of the century,” from the witness Kato Kaelin, the houseguest with the frosted shag who had starred in the comedy “Beach Fever,” to Judge Lance Ito, who was such a narcissistic camera hog that he became known as Judge Itomaniac.

But I always thought of it as a great American tragedy. It had echoes of “Othello,” the most trenchant work ever written on the fatal flaw of jealousy.

Othello was a hero, a Black man beloved for his exploits on the field, a man who conquered racial setbacks and beguiled his fans and soared to great heights.

He was married to a beautiful younger woman. But, thanks to Iago — a deputy to the general who was jealous himself because he was passed over for a promotion in favor of another aide-de-camp — Othello was poisoned with jealousy, unable to cope with the demons in his head.

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