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What Would Judge Judy Do?


wood blocks, rope, acrylic paint, 4 x 26 x 18 inches

What Would Judge Judy Do? (see fig. 21), a two-foot, larger than-life WWJJD bracelet echoes the WWJD acronym born from Charles Sheldon's 1896 book, In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? The piece is a parody of the bracelets and paraphernalia popularized by evangelical Christians in the 1990s as symbols of their faith. 

Premiering almost a century after the book and at the height of the bracelet's popularity, an American reality courtroom arbitration series became the highest-rated show in daytime TV (Getlin). "Judge Judy," ran for 25 years and was presided over by former Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin (Getlin). I was also inspired by an experience I had when I saw a bumper sticker with the acronym inside an ichthys proudly stamped onto a Volkswagen Beetle that nearly mowed me down in a Walmart parking lot one day. Despite the wearer's implied sincerity, that whole encounter rendered the WWJD acronym somewhat dubious to me - at least in the form of a bumper sticker. But ultimately the piece is about judgment and harkens to other more serious works such as Kiki Smith’s Pyre Woman Kneeling.

© Melanee Hamilton

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