You're Out of Order! You, the Brown One!
Judge Judy's telegenic hectoring is examined by Adam Cohen in this opinion piece published in the NY Times. He makes a point about what sort of individual gets guff from Lady Scoldsalot and who does not. From the article:
It has been widely accepted, as early as the legal realism movement of the 1920's, that law is about a lot more than just the neutral application of rules to facts. In an influential 1976 book, "The Behavior of Law," Donald Black, a University of Virginia social sciences professor, argued that much of what occurs in the legal system can be explained by the relative social status of the participants. One of the universal truths he has observed is that law moves more easily down social hierarchies than up. It is far easier for a rich man to get a policeman to arrest a poor man in the street, for example, than the other way around.
Professor Black also contends that certain kinds of people "attract" law to themselves. The poor, the culturally marginal and social deviants of all types are more likely to attract bad legal outcomes - to be arrested, to be convicted, to lose civil lawsuits - when they do the same things as more socially favored people. In a typical piece of Blackian fieldwork, researchers in the early 1970's sent two groups into a store to shoplift, some dressed as "hippies," with long hair and dirty blue jeans, and others who looked more conventional. Not surprisingly, customers in the store turned the hippies in far more often than the "straights," and with much more enthusiasm.
You could also expand the "enthusiasm" exponentially when the social climate goes corporate retro: the fascism of Nazi Germany certainly made it impossible for anything resembling justice to be accorded Jews, Poles, etc., in the ghettos and in the former middle-class--any attempt at fairness would have been fought with an iron fist. Flash-forward to today: stitch a signature-design arm patch on Judge Judy's robe and she is instantly more menacing and terrifying, not amusing at all. Think of an American slave of the 19th Century going before such a judge for a redress of grievances--whom would Lady Scoldsalot be more likely to abuse for social and personal flaws, the wealthy landowner or the unkempt field-hand?
On a personal note, I don't accept verbal abuse or bullying from anyone who isn't married to me. I may be nervous before power but I don't kneel automatically--perhaps this is one of the reasons Bronze Age Deities hold little charm for me. FYI: I am a white male who speaks with little accent or edge. Change my skin color to brown or black, turn me into a day laborer or homeless person and any number of tele-fascists would take joy in tearing me down (for my political stances) with impunity, either through strident verbal accusations or by encouraging actual violence. I know this now more than ever.
The powerless are to remain powerless, lest they get uppity. Or do I mean "we"?