`Art' Criticism: The O.J. Trial as Postmodernism?

By McClellan, Bill | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 3, 1995 | Go to article overview

`Art' Criticism: The O.J. Trial as Postmodernism?


McClellan, Bill, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


DAVID GREENE, an art critic for the Los Angeles Reader, recently wrote a very insightful critique of the O.J. Simpson trial.

"It doesn't surprise me," he wrote, "that disdain for the O.J. phenomena is particularly virulent among intellectual creative types. This is so, I think, because O.J. efficiently accomplishes in the real world what many strive to perform in the cloistered world of art. While some artists make a big deal over their stretching the boundaries of both convention and good taste, O.J. breaches those barriers every day. While others build careers on figuring ways to lay bare the fissures underlying American culture, O.J. does it hourly."

Greene also referred to the trial as "post-modernism." Whatever that is.

Somehow, it seems fitting that an art critic should finally weigh in with some heavy thoughts about the trial. Everybody else already has.

Certainly, the weigher-in getting the most publicity lately has been John Cargill, a special correspondent for Dog World magazine.

He has penned a provocative piece entitled, "Kato Knows But Will He Tell?"

The Kato he refers to is not the world-famous houseguest, but the less than effective Akita watchdog whose howling is being used by the prosecution to establish the time of the murders.

Just as Sherlock Holmes solved the case of the dog that didn't bark by deducing that the dog knew the culprit, Cargill argues that O.J. must be the killer because the Akita would have protected Nicole had a stranger been the attacker.

On the other hand, Cargill is an owner and breeder of Akitas. So he has an obvious stake in the trial. Who would buy an Akita as a watchdog now? Might as well own a pug.

Meanwhile, in trial-related news, the cast of characters grows ever more bizarre. The latest weirdo is Kerry Mullis, the Nobel prize winner who has signed up as a DNA expert for the defense. He is reportedly ready to testify that the DNA technique used by the state - the very technique for which he won the Nobel prize - is seriously flawed.

The prosecution, not incidentally, wants to question him about his use of LSD.

Last week, Mullis went on television to declare that he not only used LSD in his youth, but he still uses it. When the interviewer gently suggested that the prosecution intended to make him look "nutty," he flashed a beatific smile. …

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