O.J. Simpson Facts and Fictions: News Rituals in the Construction of Reality

By Darnell M. Hunt | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION
1
Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1996, p. A1.
2
Says Quine (1992, p. 102): “What the empirical under-determination of global science shows is that there are various defensible ways of conceiving the world.”
3
Judge Lance Ito's instructions to the criminal trial jury, September 22, 1995.
4
CBS/New York Times Poll, July 11–12, 1994. Population: Adults 18 and over in the United States with telephones. N = 1306, margin of error +/− 5 percentage points.
5
The survey item was worded as follows: “From what you've heard so far, do you think O. J. Simpson is probably guilty of the crimes he has been charged with, is probably not guilty, or don't know enough about it yet to say?”
6
The survey item was worded as follows: “How much sympathy do you have for O. J. Simpson because of everything that has happened–a great deal, some, not much or none at all?”
7
The survey item was worded as follows: “In general, do you think the criminal justice system in the United States is biased in favor of blacks, or is it biased against blacks, or does it generally give blacks fair treatment?”
8
Note, however, that “other-raced” groups were slightly more likely than whites to believe the system was biased in favor of blacks.
9
That is, an implicit agreement was struck between white elites and white workers guaranteeing that, no matter how bad circumstances became, the latter would not fall below the level of nonwhite workers. For elites, this agreement meant increased economic stability and labor force control; for white workers, it amounted to psychic compensation.
10
Throughout this book I use racial labels like “black” and “white” to refer to subjects who have been raced in particular ways by social representations, not to subjects who are of some objectively definable “race.”
11
Following Geertz (1983, p. 30), I understand “ritual” as the enactment of status quo images of reality that social actors are “caught up bodily in”; these performances shape experiences and generally work to reproduce the status quo. But in some instances, as Moore and Myerhoff (1977) note, rituals may also provide openings for counter-hegemonic change. In chapter 1, I discuss in detail the role ritual played in the Simpson case.

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