The People, O. J. Simpson, and Me

Alex Duke | April 7, 2016


A couple years back, I remember listening to the last episode of the hit podcast Serial. I remember listening to Sarah Koenig as she considered yet again both the case’s facts and also its unanswered questions, flipping them around and turning them over in her hand for what seemed like the 10,000th time. Koenig, like the rest of us, was desperate for a breakthrough, something that would finally help her know for certain what happened to Hae Min Lee and whether her her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was guilty after all.

But as Serial’s final hour waned, no certainty came—and on the heels of her final “I just don’t know,” I identified with Koenig’s exasperation. And then I cried.

I cried because I felt small and narrow and irrevocably human, because my situatedness meant there were and always would be unanswered—even unanswerable—questions about what’s righteous and just and true.

Ray Mickshaw/FX

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This feeling returned this week as I watched the finale of American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson, most poignantly during the scene when the verdict of “not guilty” is read and the family of the murdered Ron Goldman collapses under the weight of the words. A child of 1989…


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