Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Judge Judy and Executioner


For anyone that hasn't seen Hot Fuzz (movie preview here), there is a line where Sgt. Angel tells Danny that his dad "thinks he is judge, jury, and executioner," to which Danny responds "He is not Judge Judy and executioner." While this is humorous it has nothing to do with my point, it just provides a segway to it- we have a judge Judy culture.

If you've seen the show you may know what I mean, if you haven't, don't watch it, take my word for it. It seems that every time I work on a rental property (or my grandma's house, who just can't find quality daytime programming) I find Judge Judy or some show based on the same concept is on and its always the same situation: Someone gave someone else money (usually an insignificant amount) and that person didn't give it back. Occasionally there's a stolen vehicle or a boyfriend/girlfriend living in an apartment not paying rent blah, blah, blah. The thing that you notice is that Judge Judy basically has her mind made up before the "trial" starts. When the plaintiffs walk into the room they're judged and its just a matter of getting through their all too familiar whining for her to make her grand pronouncements on who is a dummy and owes whom money. What you also notice is that should a plaintiff have the chutzpa to bring up the fact that Judge Judy wouldn't really listen to his/her side of the story all heck fire and darnednation breaks loose. "How dare you judge the judge!"

How is this a generational problem (besides the whiners on the show)? Read the headlines on yahoo or any other site. Take for instance these headlines from today at cnn.com:

Latest News
Now pick out the stories pertaining to a celebrity, for instance John McCain being quoted as calling someone "you little jerk." Based on the headline you have an expectation right? You're probably thinking "Surely John McCain's run for the presidency is over, he called someone a jerk and it was overheard by a reporter." Now, even after you read the context of the story (he was joking with a high schooler who made fun of his age) you have a judgment already made. Judge Judy and executioner.

What if you called someone a jerk in a teasing manner and it was taken out of context? "C'mon, that's not what I meant, you weren't listening to what was going on." Judge Judy and executioner.

The popular thing now, as it always is in politics, is to use the label of "hypocrite." Problem is no one seems to remember how the word hypocrite is supposed to be used. For example, suppose John McCain really was angry and called some high school kid a jerk. Prior to his going to the high school suppose he first visited an elementary school where he told the kids to use the "golden rule" and that name calling, hitting, etc. was not right. While inappropriate, if McCain just lost his temper for a minute and later apologized he isn't being hypocritical, it was not his intention necessarily to call the kid a jerk, he just lost control for a little bit, he's human and he screwed up.

On the other hand, take Britney Spears new album which supposedly uses the f-bomb. As a former member of the Mickey Mouse club, and as a concerned parent, suppose she visited an elementary school and told the kids that using bad language was a bad thing. Either she A) really believes bad language such as the F-word is wrong and still used it intentionally making her a hypocrite or B) she doesn't really believe usage of the mother of all bad words is wrong and she was lying to the kids to improve her image. There is a difference between each example, one is intentional and the other not.

All in all, I think I'm going to have to try my best to stop my Judge Judy and executioner act. If I screw up, its just me being a sinner and falling again. Here's to forgiveness.

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