|The Last Place To Be Judgmental
by Doug McIntyre [radio
Juror #080249878 reporting for duty. Group #8, Court Location 05, which is Van Nuys for those of you yet to be called.
My time of year has arrived again: Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, it's one of the rights of spring, the annual summons to jury duty for Doug McIntyre.
Of course, they never pick me. They never, ever pick me. Year in, year out, I get the notice and dutifully dial 1-800-SRV-JURY to register. Then, on my appointed day, I call again, enter my pin number (2782) and wait to learn my fate. Will I or won't I be asked to judge a fellow citizen?
Damn, if I didn't get skunked again.
See, I'm one of those odd birds that like jury duty. Not because I have some super-sized portion of civic-mindedness, exactly the opposite. I like jury duty because I can't wait to sit in judgment of someone else. Yes, I admit it - I am a judgmental person.
There are very, very few places left where it's cool for someone as judgmental as me to practice my craft. (Fortunately, we still have talk radio and newspaper jabbering, otherwise I'd starve.) In modern Los Angeles, we are expected - check that, required - to passively accept whatever is dished out by whomever and take it with a smile. We must absorb the latest assault on common decency with the benevolent spirit of equanimity.
C'est la vie! Live and let live! Who are we to tell someone else how to run their lives?
I'll tell you who: Juror #080249878, that's who! And I'm not alone.
Somewhere out there is Juror #080249877 and Juror #080249870. I'm surrounded by judgmental people. If only they'd let us go at it.
I don't know how using our God-given judgment became a societal taboo, but I do know it's contributed greatly to the low-level rage simmering just below nearly every political issue or discussion of practically anything; from the elections to sports, from religion to Macs vs. PCs, you'd better keep your pie hole shut.
By brainwashing two generations into thinking they're bad humans if they dare make distinctions between people and their behavior, we have become emotional frauds. We have taken honesty out of discourse.
If we don't judge others, we end up hanging with the wrong crowd, supporting the wrong causes, using the wrong brand of paper towels, rooting for the Clippers, sending our kids to LAUSD schools. Without judgment you could find yourself living in Reseda when you're really a Tarzana kind of guy.
Human beings are born with judgment. We have likes and dislikes. This tastes good; that makes me barf. I like blue; some idiots like tangerine. The nonjudgmental crowd expects us to live like squirrels, and it's driving us nuts.
So nuts we've come to accept much that was literally unthinkable just a generation ago: mobile hordes of homicidal maniacs tattooed on every body part, preening and sign-flashing their way in an orgy of reverse Darwinism. We keep schools so awful they barely qualify as schools. We traded Kenny Hahn for Janice Hahn!
I remember sitting with my father at a ballgame 30 years ago when the first group chant of "Bulls**t!" erupted from the bleachers. Three decades later, I still remember my father's shock and disgust that other fathers would scream a foul word like that in public with their children sitting on their laps.
At opening day this year, I sat behind a young man with a buzz cut and a tattoo on the back of his skull that was so vile, I have to bleep out 6 of its 10 letters to put it in the paper, "F*** a B***h!" He has this tattooed on his head! I assume voluntarily. And he was sitting with his arm around his sweetheart, who also was covered with tattoos.
She must be the B***h he wants to F***. No wonder my dad stopped going to ballgames. I guess that makes him judgmental, too.
"Guilt is a wasted emotion," said the self-centered crowd, and far too many of us adopted this ethos with disastrous results. And this is why I love jury duty.
It's like a private club where you can still drink too much and smoke, and tell dirty jokes, and spit in the corner if you please, and wear that loud tie you picked out yourself even if everyone says it looks like a lobster bib.
On a jury you get to vote the uncivilized off our island. It's so much better than "American Idol."
If only those killjoys would pick me. CRO
first appeared at L.A. Daily News
2008 Doug McIntyre