The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, September 20, 2007

O.J.Simpson: Fame and Invulnerability

Sometimes, in some cultures, the famous think that they are invulnerable. They are like royalty walking among mere peasants - and are so far above the law, that they probably don't even know how to spell the word. At least, that is how many of them appear to behave and think of themselves.

O.J. Simpson is a definite case in point. Here is a man who was once, rather publicly, charged with a double murder - and, equally publicly, was acquitted - though many in the world didn't seem to agree with the acquittal and put it down to two factors: his gifted lawyers - and his fame - and consequent aura of untouchability. Now, I am not about to revisit the murder case and cannot form a solid opinion about it because I don't have the evidence to hand - but I can say this: it did seem to me that he was awfully lucky to get off, given the set of circumstances he faced.

That luck could have played a part in the most recent O.J. Simpson event. O.J has, as you probably know, been charged with multiple counts relating to an armed robbery in a Las Vegas casino - of, bizarrely, his own sports memorabilia. O.J. Simpson burst into a hotel room with several accomplices, at least one of whom was armed, and set about robbing the occupants of their O.J Simpson sports memorabilia. O.J. Simpson has subsequently claimed that he thought that the sports memorabilia had been stolen from him and that he was just reclaiming it, his style. Now, that may or may not be true, it may or may not reflect a gift for alibi invention, that has, no doubt, been well-exercised in his life - but whatever the case, the fact remains that O.J. Simpson should not, under any circumstances, have burst into a hotel room, with armed accomplices, to rob a couple of sports memorabilia collectors of O.J. Simpson memorabilia!

One thing that can be said, fairly safely, is that O.J. Simpson, whatever his athletic virtues might be, cannot be very bright. In fact, he is probably the least intelligent person I am ever likely to refer to on this blog on giftedness. O.J Simpson escaped a conviction for double murder. The Goldman family, at least, think he did it. The world's attention had been focused on him a little too long for anyone to ever forget him - and now, thirteen years later, he thinks it a reasonable act to commit an armed robbery, in a major hotel, of people who know who he is and actually collect his memorabilia!

Why would O.J. Simpson commit an armed robbery? Well, apart from the obvious answer that he must be both desperate and lacking intelligence there could be another: the effect of fame.

O.J. Simpson was not that well known outside the United States when the double murder case came to trial. But, upon that case, O.J Simpson became one of the world's most famous people. Furthermore, he remains so, for anyone who was a news-watcher in 1994. That is a generation that will never forget O.J Simpson. He has become, for them, an indelible memory. O.J. Simpson was a football star before the murder case - but after it he was a global brand - if a rather tarnished one.

Fame such as O.J. Simpson has is a thing that should only be the property of a mature mind. By this I do not mean an old person - I mean one who is responsible, aware of their position in the world, not given to abuse of power - and somewhat of a realist. They must be realistic enough to know the limits of behaviour within which a famous person should act, if they are not to fall foul of either the law, or basic morality. O.J Simpson does not appear to be aware of these limits (as neither did Mike Tyson before him, in another context).

O.J. Simpson has, it seems, fallen into the big trap of fame, for the famous: the idea of invulnerablity, the idea that the usual rules do not apply to the famous because, in so many contexts, they really don't apply. Yet, that does not mean that the rules don't apply in all contexts. There are still laws. There is still morality. There is still their public image to consider.

O.J. Simpson wasn't considering any of these things when he burst into a hotel room with armed accomplices. He was only thinking of the great O.J. Simpson, football star and globally famous - or infamous - man.

If O.J. Simpson genuinely thought that the sports memorabilia were his - all he had to do was pick up the phone and call the police to get them back. It defies belief that he would commit an armed robbery to do so.

Perhaps, getting off those murder charges convinced him, unconsciously or otherwise, that he could get away with anything - no matter what. (For even if he didn't, in fact, do it, it did look rather awkward.) All he had to do was hire a team of lawyers and let his fame do the rest.

Fame could have made O.J. Simpson into the kind of man who thinks armed robbery is something he can get away with. Fame could have convinced O.J. Simpson that he is above the law. Fame could have convinced O.J. Simpson that he can do what he pleases, without consequence.

Yet, there is one thing fame is now likely to do: ensure that the whole world watches the ensuing case. Fame may also work against him. There may be a tendency to punish him for the perceived wrongs of the prior case. Fame might mean O.J. Simpson spends the rest of his life in prison. It all depends on the jurors: are they enamoured of O.J. Simpson's fame, this time around - as they seemed to be, last time - or have they tired of him? Has O.J. Simpson slipped from fame to infamy since the first case? If it is the latter, then O.J. Simpson may discover that fame is not as protective as he had hoped. O.J. Simpson may be remembered for one more thing: spending the rest of his life in jail, signing sports memorabilia.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and nine months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and two months, and Tiarnan, nineteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:29 PM 


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