My mother was obsessed with two major figures during the 1990’s: Princess Diana and O.J. Simpson. Could she have chosen more different people to dissect on a daily basis? Probably not. The one common thread that connects Ms. Spencer and Mr. Simpson was their constant, insistent coverage by the media. When you still have VHS recordings of a trial that happened more than 20 years ago, the People 1995 Year Book and the Martin Bashir-Diana interview TRANSFERRED to DVD, something is up.
And yet, I am certain my mom is not the only person who was so fixated on Ms. Spencer and Mr. Simpson. Look at the success of FX’s new series “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” It is a truly fantastic show, with a kick butt cast. (Surprisingly, the falsest note is Cuba Gooding Junior’s portrayal of Mr. Simpson…) How about the Royal Wedding? The Royal Baby? Everyone loves Royals! It’s 2016 and people are still captivated by these stories. To have sustained such a following, all these years later, is fascinating.
My mom watched the Simpson trial while she nursed me. She was pregnant with Ryan when Diana died. When I think about that, that Ryan and I were babies at the end of these stories, and that the intrigue continues…It’s wild. I wonder which events my children will look back on. What are the defining historical events and figures of my childhood/early adulthood? What will I reference?
This makes me wish that people taught more contemporary history courses in high school. I could have totally benefited, as a high school student voting in the 2012 election, from understanding the conflict associated with the hanging chad. I wonder when the Vietnam and Korean Wars will be focused on, instead of brushed over in an APUSH class. It’s important to learn the foundations, but isn’t it equally important to delve into the mistakes of recent history? Hm. This turned into something else.
(Also, I keep side-eyeing these people in the library. I really dislike when people talk loudly.)
(They noticed and moved away.)