When I studied abroad in Morocco, I spent a lot of time reading old issues of People magazine. The library for some reason never had issues from the recent several months, but instead all the issues were at least 4-6 months old. There was something weirdly comforting about reading the old issues. I knew which of the marriages wouldn’t make it through the year, and which TV shows had already been canceled. I didn’t miss being the US while I was in Morocco, and I don’t now, but there was something reassuring about having a slightly outdated dose of American pop culture.
Before we moved to Tel Aviv, I wondered what our inexplicably soothing shot of American culture would be. I think the TV show “Friends” is kind of the softball solution for this. It seems to be (still) on (multiple) times a day in every country I’ve ever been to. It’s easy access, and I don’t really like it: seems like a very good candidate for a weird, bland American cultural nugget to hold onto. I wondered if there was a new “Friends.” My money was on “Big Bang Theory” or “How I Met Your Mother.” I’ve described all of these shows as warm milk at least once: something that just sounds like a totally gross hot beverage with eerie filmy chunks, that I accidentally try.
I think, however, we have found our uncomfortable, weird, why-are-we-even-watching-this, (more than slightly) outdated, American crutch: the OJ Simpson trial.
Someone uploaded this touchstone of American culture to YouTube. In it’s entirety. 500+ hours. Will and I were around 8-9 when the trial happened so we were aware of it happening, remember seeing that it was on TV constantly, but really have no idea about the particulars of what happened.
So the other day, we heated up some frozen malawach, put out a bowl of honey to dip it in, and started watching the trial. I should add that the malawach, despite having no cheese, tasted unsettlingly like a quesadilla, which greatly enhanced this whole experience.
I don’t think homesickness or nostalgia is quite the right word for this (filling a homesickness void with the OJ trial would be bizarre, even I’ll admit that), but it’s related to that. It’s definitely some sort of staying (21 years out of date) relevant to the US, even though neither one of us really has any desire to move back. And the OJ trial may be ultimate in this not-quite-nostalgia. Especially with the pathetic retaped-over VHS tape quality of the video. Also since the trial seems to be seemingly endless (6 hours down, 500+ to go), we can work on this for a long time, without ever having to choose another warm milk alternative.