Americana - When will Judge Judy judge Bush's war against Iraq ?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Jan 12 06:18:55 MST 2003

>Fascinating stuff. What is the popular attraction of watching a court
>programme like this ? Do Americans watch it, because they missed out on
>better things to do with their time ? Or are they suddenly very much
>preoccupied with fairness, or law and order ? Or do they simply like the
>idea of judging and being judged ? Whatever the case, the question that
>arose in my mind is "When will Judge Judy judge Bush's war against Iraq ?".
>I imagined an script for how it might go, but of course that isn't like the
>real thing !

These shows are less about the judicial process than they are about
titillation. Judge Judy, and at least 3 other daytime TV shows set in a
courtroom, are a subgenre of the kind of talk shows that feature guests
like a woman whose husband is having an affair with her daughter. These
things usually start off with the woman pouring out her heart, and five
minutes later they bring her husband out to explain himself. Finally, they
bring the daughter and the three scream at each other for the remainder of
the show. To my knowledge, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow and Soon Yi were never

In Judge Judy, which is actually small claims court (another show is set in
a divorce court), the typical case involves a guy whose cocker spaniel was
defecating on his lawn and the injured party is suing for damage to his
lawn. What makes Judge Judy a star is her shrill attacks on either party.

And all of these afternoon shows have their counterpart in the array of
"reality" shows that are polluting the evening air waves, from people
competing with each other over who can eat zebra testicles without puking
to blind dates between beautiful but repellent young men and women.

What does it all mean? It is cheap entertainment first of all. These sorts
of shows began cropping up a couple of years ago in the midst of a
preparation for a strike by television writers and actors. Management
calculated that such shows relied less on acting and scripts. The other
important thing is that they are geared to the bread and circus mentality
of a decaying empire. You can bet that in class terms most of the people
wasting time watching such shows are threatened by unemployment, lack of
health insurance, etc. What better way to get your mind off your problems
than by watching a carnival freak show.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

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