The Motives of Language and Action:
Terms in the Acquittal of O.J. Simpson
On June 13, 1994, at 12:00 AM, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found murdered outside Brown’s home in the Brentwood community of Los Angeles, California. Brown’s two children were discovered upstairs still asleep at the time. Nicole Brown Simpson and her ex-husband Orenthal James Simpson (O.J. Simpson) had divorced approximately two years before she was found brutally murdered. Brown had been stabbed repeatedly in her cranium and neck and showed signs of defense with wounds on her hands. One particular wound seemed especially heinous. A stab wound on her larynx was so forceful and deliberate that the gash exposed vertebrae and the larynx itself. Through evidence collected at the scene, and previous domestic violence violations committed by Brown’s ex-husband, O.J. Simpson was arrested for the double murder.
The criminal trial (People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson) was held in Los Angeles County, California Superior Court from January 29th until October 3rd of 1995. It is considered by many as the most publicized criminal trial in American history. Simpson was an American Football star, broadcaster, and actor before the trial took place, which likely led to much of the publicity the case received. Another reason that may have caused this case to gain so much momentum in the public eye is that this was one of the first times in American history that a black man was able to afford big name attorneys and a defense team, therefore representing a longtime fight between white and black equality in the judicial system. In the days that followed the eventual acquittal of Simpson nearly 16 months after the initial murders took place, the media discourse of the time attempted to rationalize, demonize, and explain what factors led to the verdict.
What is meaningful/interesting/important to me is how the terms that the media used to influence the...