... Jason Hare was nice enough to let me contribute to a collaborative Chart Attack!, and now I'm part of Jefitoblog's Chartburn discussions. I also continue to write way too much in the comments sections of their blogs.
Before I became busy I failed to mention this bit of old news reported by the Associated Press (although it's not as old as that Stephin Merritt flap):
The owner of an upscale steakhouse in Louisville said he asked O.J. Simpson to leave his restaurant the night before the Kentucky Derby because he is sickened by the attention Simpson still attracts.
Good for you, sir! But guess what? By calling attention to Simpson being in your restaurant, you gave him more attention. It's a vicious cycle.
[Jeff] Ruby—who owns restaurants in Cincinnati, Louisville and Belterra, Ind.—said Simpson, who was in town for the Derby on Saturday, came in with a group of about 12 Friday night and was seated at a table in the back. A customer came up to Ruby and was "giddy" about seeing Simpson, Ruby said.
Famous, infamous—what's the difference these days? An autograph's an autograph. Look at Paris Hilton—she's famous for nothing in particular. We all want our 15 minutes. That white-haired guy who painted all those soup cans promised them to us.
"I didn't want that experience in my restaurant," Ruby said, later adding that seeing Simpson get so much attention "makes me sick to my stomach."
I hope this AP story was the ipecac Ruby was looking for.
He said he went to Simpson's table and said, "I'm not serving you." Ruby said when Simpson didn't respond, he repeated himself and left the room.
Ruby said Simpson soon came up to him and said he understood and would gather the rest of his party to leave.
So Simpson and his party willingly sat at the back of the restaurant, and when asked to leave he explained to Ruby that he understood why, then did as requested. The nerve of some people!
Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, said the incident was about race, and he intended to pursue the matter and possibly go after the restaurant's liquor license.
Nah, it wasn't about race (it'd make my day if Yale Galanter graduated from Harvard Law School), just as Simpson's acquittal in '95 wasn't about race. As Chris Rock said the year after the verdict, it was about fame, "because if O.J. wasn't famous, he'd be in jail right now. If O.J. drove a bus he wouldn't even be 'O.J.'—he'd be Orenthal the bus-driving murderer." But O.J.'s attorneys in '94 and '95 pulled that race card out quite a bit during the trial.
"It was the first time since 1994 he has ever shown any class," Ruby said. "He showed it that night in the restaurant" by leaving quietly.
And you could've shown class by not talking to the AP about it, Ruby, but it's too late now. I'm curious about who leaked this story to the AP in the first place—possibly Simpson's attorney, but who knows.
Ruby said after Simpson left, people in the restaurant started applauding him. He said he has received about 100 positive e-mails since the incident.
Ruby failed to mention the dozen or so e-mails that followed this template: "Hi. First-time writer, longtime diner. Just thought I'd let you know that the music's a little loud over by the bar. Could you turn it down a smidge? Thanks. Also, my pommes frites were a little on the limp side. And would it kill your waitstaff to serve the beer a little colder?"
The end of the story saves the best for last:
The walls of Ruby's restaurants are decorated with celebrity photos. A photo of Simpson and Ruby used to be on display, but Ruby said he took it down after the killings.
Breaking up is hard to do.