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“Take Responsibility for Yourself”Judge Judy and the Neoliberal CitizenBy Laurie Oullette
Judge Judy• Judge Judy debutes in 1996• The program claims to resolve “real life” disputes between friends,family members, neighbors, and former lovers on nationaltelevision.• It quickly becomes a success, taking and authoritive place ondaytime schedules.• The number one show on daytime television for the past twoseasons• she brings her trademark wit and wisdom to the widely successfulseries that takes viewers inside a television courtroom wherejustice is dispensed at “lightning speed”.
Judy and Neoliberalism• The Courtroom subgenre of reality television exemplifies a“Neoliberal form of governance”, A do it yourself culture.• Judy (and similar shows) train TV viewers to function withoutstate assistance or supervision.• The show provides and underlying message seeking totransform “the goals of authorities” into the choices andcommitment of the individual.
Judge Judy and NeoliberalismThese ideals of “good citizenship” include…• Self-discipline• Self-sufficient• Personal responsibility• Risk adverting individuals
Neoliberalism and Television Culturene·o·lib·er·al·ism: A political movement beginning in the 1960s that blendstraditional liberal concerns for social justice with an emphasis on economicgrowth.The main points of neo-liberalism :1. THE RULE OF THE MARKET2. CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES3. DEREGULATION4. PRIVATIZATION5. ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF "THE PUBLIC GOOD" or "COMMUNITY“and replacing it with"individual responsibility."
Neoliberalism and Television Culture“Television (specifically reality tv) canserve as a perfect medium to deliverthe neoliberal agenda indirectly.”-James Hayes“Unaided Virtues”
Neoliberalism and Television CultureBooks or magazines focused on self-help or self-esteem building coincide with these neoliberalpolicies.-Barbara Cruikshank“Revelations within”
Judge Judy fuses Televsion, Neoliberalism, and self help discourse.-The Programs simulated TV courtroom is an efficient way to resovle disputes steeped inpolitics of gender, class and race-The TV viewer benefits from mistakes made by the litigants in Judge Judy’s Court room,by recognizing the implied rules of self government.
Real?• Court shows have been around since the 1950’s.• Judge Judy’s “no-nonsense” approach separates it from agrowing number of imitators.• The shows success has allowed Judy to earn a surprising $45million a year. Well beyond the amount any “common” courtroom judge would make.• The show’s litigants come from are rounded up by showrunners. They are found in small claims court’s across the U.S.,and receive airfare, hotel, and court fee’s to present theircases on TV.