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|Title: ||Reading O.J. Simpson: Everyday Rhetoric as Gift and Commodity in I Want to Tell You.|
|Authors: ||Williams, Marise|
|Keywords: ||O.J. Simpson trial;Nicole Brown;celebrity culture;gift theory;true crime;I Want to Tell You|
|Issue Date: ||2004|
|Publisher: ||University of Sydney. SEAFAM|
|Abstract: ||The Bronco Chase and arrest of O.J. Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, and his subsequent criminal trial became one of the most captivating, mass-mediated events of the last decade of the twentieth century. Simpson's iconic celebrity status and his race as an African-American inflamed the notoriety of the crime. An insatiable spectatorial desire for Simpson and narratives concerning his alleged involvement in the Brentwood murders engulfed the American public and American culture for thirty-two months. An excessive scrutiny of his identity by the media, law and order professionals and the populace generated a racially charged discursive cacophony. The memoir Simpson published during his remand to raise funds for his defense expenses, I Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions, allows for a productive critical study of everyday rhetoric and the commodity fetishism of celebrity. Released in late January 1995, during the first week of the prosecution's opening statements in the criminal trial, I Want to Tell You was Simpson's first public comment following the nationally televised reading of his suicide note and his spectacular arrest on June 17, 1994. The intercalation of Simpson's narrative utterance with 108 of the more than three hundred thousand letters he received from June to December 1994 as Los Angeles County Jail inmate 4013970 is a practical manifestation of the use value and exchange value of fame. The reciprocity of the epistolic, the phatic demands of address, the etiquette of fan mail and hate mail, the gift of the written text, vulnerable and resonant, reveal an adherence to the symbiotic dynamic of the celebrity-fan, writer-reader, dyadic relation and its currency. Plying his trade as idol of consumption, as spectacle, as genre, Simpson capitalised on the cultural condition of his name and his face as objects of desire. The racialised flesh of Simpson's African-American male body became a site and a sight for narrative and inscription within a pay-per-view marketplace of reification, prosopopoeia, gazeability and criminality.|
|Rights and Permissions: ||Copyright Williams, Marise;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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