There's at least some laudable news concerning the "If I Did It" idiocy - the decision by Borders and Walden Book Inc. to donate the net proceeds from the sale of the Simpson book to a non-profit organization that benefits victims of domestic violence (the company hasn't decided which organization will get the blood money). Several independent bookstores, including Vroman's in Pasadena, are doing the same thing. It's probably the most sensible middle ground for booksellers - if a tad calculated. I mean, is it possible, just possible, that the morons out there willing to shell out their $20 at a local Borders might also pick up some other book, CD or magazine while at the store? Yet banning the book from stores raises some uncomfortable free speech/free market issues. Alas, booksellers are not society's cops; if the book turns out to be a big seller (and despite all the fuss I'm not sure it will be), it's only because there's an audience out there.
One other point: There's been the predictable piling on among left-leaning commentators about this being another example of Rupert Murdoch willing to air or publish most anything that will make him a few more bucks. (Murdoch's News Corp. owns ReganBooks, which is publishing "If I Did It"). Well, maybe, but guess who Larry King had on Wednesday night? Two members of the Goldman family, who were serving to toss a few more logs onto News Corp.'s publicity fire. CNN, in fact, was all over the story on Wednesday and Thursday - replaying video of Simpson and the murder trial again and again (CNN is a unit of Time Warner). And just as the story was starting to fade on Friday, ReganBooks head Judith Regan came out with a rambling statement on why she's publishing the book (something about her own experiences of domestic abuse). Guess what? More headlines from CNN, MSNBC and many other non-News Corp. outlets. When you're talking media sludge, there's plenty of blame to go around.