Can I Buy a Ticket to Ride?

On Sunday, June 12, 1994, O.J. Simpson did or did not drive to his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson's pad and slaughter her and a young man named Ronald Goldman.

He did or did not wear gloves and a ski mask; he did or did not butcher his victims with a bone-handled knife, a bayonet or an entrenching tool. He did or did not split the scene and drive to his own home, a few minutes away.


Nicole Brown Simpson was or was not a devoted mother, a cocaine addict and an airhead party girl.

She was or was not an anorexic, a bulimic or a nymphomaniac given to picking up men at a Brentwood espresso pit.

The minutiae of her life can be compiled and collated to conform to almost any sleazy thesis. She is most unambiguously defined by this heavily documented fact: O.J. Simpson beat the shit out of her over the last five years of her life.

Nicole wanted a groovy fast lane and the secondhand celebrity that comes with fucking famous men. Her second-tier status extended to her death. She became the blank page that pundits used to explicate her husband's long journey of suppression.

Nicole bought a ticket to ride. The price was nakedly apparent long before she died.

Her face was pinched and crimped at the edges - too-pert features held too taut and compressed by too many bouts of cocaine, too many compulsive gym workouts and too much time given over to maintaining a cosmetic front.


Her beauty was not the beach-bunny perfection revered by stupid young men and the man who may or may not have murdered her.

The physical force of Nicole Brown Simpson is the glaze of desiccation writ large on her face.

The lines starting to form might have been caused by inchoate inner struggles, or the simple process of aging, or a growingly articulate sense that she had boxed herself into an inescapable corner of obsessive male desire, random male desire, and a life of indebtedness to things meretricious and shallow.

Nicole's relationship with O.J. was deceptive and collusive from the start.

He bought the hot blonde that fifty years of pop culture told him he should groove on, and an unformed psyche that adapted to his policy of one-way monogamy.

She bought a rich, handsome, famous man possessed of infantile characteristics, which led her to believe that she could control him.

He bought a trip through his unconscious and a preordained mandate for horror.

She abdicated to an inner drama that would ultimately destroy her.

James Ellroy Sex, Glitz and Greed The Seduction of O.J. Simpson
GQ Magazine (December 1994)

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