Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another Linkless Rant

I am not going to go into what brought this up, but it's something that has been bugging me for a couple of days.

In ancient Greece Aristophanes wrote a play called The Wasps about an elderly man who would hang around the judicial courts for mostly the entertainment value and he was not alone. His son was horrified at his father's behavior and ultimately put a stop to it. The play pointed out two flaws with the Athenian justice system: that it was abused and that it been reduced to a tawdry entertainment for the masses. (I tried to link to text but a quick look only found places it could be purchased. I read the play while I was in college.) What was most troubling is that these men often found themselves on the jury and would vote in favor of whichever party gave them the best entertainent value.

We have both problems today. We all know of the abuses of the system but I want to talk about the other problem.

When People's Court first came on TV I like it and considered it a good way to educate the public on how our courts work. At first it started out like that but it quickly degenerated into entertainment. If you watch Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown and whatever others their might be you begin to wonder: do their producers and directors sort through potential cases looking for the biggest idiots with the looniest court cases? Some of them are serious, but most other times you just gotta roll your eyes and wonder why the judge doesn't just dropkick them off the stage. (I will not insult the judiciary by calling it a courtroom when I see a mockery of the court room.) There is no educational value; it is purely entertainment.

It's alot like talk shows that started out serious and insightful, but quickly degenerated into shows like Jerry Springer who is not beneath hiring actors to portray people discussing the most absurd situations possible (or not possible in some of his shows.) Or as Johnny Carson once said "Disfunctional people discussing their disfunctional lives with a disfunctional host." I predict that within a couple of years there will be a judge with a TV show where all participants are actors and the trials will be completely scripted, much like I believe the Jerry Springer show to be. The TV courtroom will then be completely entertainment.

I already have zero (0) respect for "Judge" Judy. She may have been a judge at one time but today she is no more than a TV actress, a not a particularly talented one. "Judge" Joe Brown is not far behind. As far as I am concerned these two people have reduced the judicial system to a joke by turning it into entertainment. They are the cultural descendents of the bored old men who hung around the court in The Wasps. They may pretend to take it seriously but I can't. What this is doing to our judicial system is contemptable. At least the cast on Night Court were honest enough to admit that it was just entertainment. Judge Judy and Judge Joe and their cohorts need to the same.

Already in the real courts we saw what happened when Judge Lance Ito allowed the OJ trail to degenerate into a Roman Circus. Justice is mocked when the court becomes entertainment.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture a few years ago and that was Chicago where Richard Gere played a slick criminal lawyer who got murderers off simply by treating the public to macabre entertainment in the form of murder trials. More of the same.

11 Comments:

Blogger armed_and_christian said...

We don't have a justice system. We have a legal system. There is very little in the way of justice dispensed in many courtrooms, and attorneys are in no way interested in "finding the truth." Prosecutors and defense attorneys alike are interested only in adding another "win" to their record.

2:01 PM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Of what you speak is the same reason I have not watched the Anna Nicole court stuff.
Tawdry, demeaning, and even damaging.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I heard on the news last night that the judge in the Anna Nicole case has landed a Hollywood contract.

I couldn't find The Wasps on-line either. The only Aristophanes' play that I could find on-line is The Frogs.

12:12 PM  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

A & C pretty much summed up my feelings about the system as well. There is no justice system out there... it's all a game designed to turn the victim into a criminal.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

The few times I've been involved with the legal system I've found that the letter of the law is important, not justice for the victim or common sense for the judgement.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I think the judge in the Anna Nicole case landed a CBS contract. I sort of heard that in passing the tv from one room to another so I'm not certain of it.

You make a very valid point here, Shoprat. The MSM has turned these shows into nothing more than tabloid type entertainment and it's sickening.

Liberals have also turned the court system into a joke. I pressed charges against a guy who was exposing himself to children outside of a public school once; the police caught him and I testified in court that he was indeed the guy. A badly dressed Black woman who spoke extremely poor English said she was his neighbor and he was a "good" person who would never do such a thing. She was his only character witness! There were two other witnesses who also testified against him but he was let off because the District Attorney screwed up and said "how can you possibly believe this woman? Look at her!" He was referring to the black woman. The jury decided he was a bigot and found the defended not guilty! That was 22 years ago in Oklahoma!

Justice? I think not.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I can't believe you even watch Judge Judy or any of those shows. They are simply idiotic, and only slightly less ridiculous than Jerry Springer.

11:16 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

tim I don't watch them regularly but when I am in someone else's home it is impolite to complain about what is on TV so I watch.

cug and pjc That lady, even dead, is better off ignored, along with a few others.

gayle That attorney's stupidity must have been legendary.

A&C, Tom, and ABF It's all part of a general total screw up of our legal system.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Machinistscott said...

I agree with Captain American. What the frick are you watching that crap for.

Must watch(Tivo): Heroes, The Unit, The office, Earl, Rescue me, The Shield, FUTURE WEAPONS, Squidbillys and Aqua teen hunger force.

Shows that got cut in pre-season:
Lost, 24, The seven hundred club and Pastor Tilton's hour of greed.

Perhaps you have some latent lawyering tendencies that are causeing you to watch daytime fake court. Or mabey you work third shift.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Seth said...

Hollywood has a vested interest in misleading the public, so the distortion of the legal system on these court shows is inevitable.

Mach -- I'm a major fan of 24 and The Shield. You can take most of the rest of TV fiction and flush it down the nearest commode.

8:08 AM  
Blogger pete in Midland said...

but when I am in someone else's home it is impolite to complain about what is on TV so I watch.

actually, it's the people you're visiting that are impolite if they leave the idiot box on when you're visiting. Whatever happened to visiting, anyway. I think that's why I like riding a touring motorcycle ... no idiot boxes, we sit around and talk bikes, trips, and stupid stuff we've done!

I'm not sure if TV has ruined the courts .. .or just exposed them. I have said, many times in the past, that one thing the english judicial system does better than the US system (imho) si to appoint instead of elect. It's frankly amazing (and disgusting) who gets voted in. Some way once said that one should never watch sausages or laws being made ... I think that should extend to law being "practiced!"

pete in Midland

5:17 PM  

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