While tooling recently down the expressway, I noticed billboards advertising three separate television programs involving a judge: Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, and Judge Hatchett. As you know, these are only three of many more such shows that fill the airwaves of daytime TV. More to it, almost all of the “reality shows” that have sprung up in the last decade involve some sort of judgment. “Survivor” culminates with a gathering of the tribe and a solemn decision to vote someone off of the program. “Dancing With the Stars” is a fierce competition, presided over by three judges, who objectively assess the performances of celebrity dancer-wannabes. And the premier television show of the past ten years, “American Idol,” features one of the most ruthless and infamous judges ever to appear in the popular culture: Simon Cowell. Finally, even the most casual survey of TV talk shows reveals how central to their success is an act of judgment. Jerry Springer’s audience is presented with some deeply dysfunctional individual, and after sufficient prompting from the host, they erupt in shouts of vociferous disapproval. And Dr. Phil’s show reaches its highpoint when the good doctor bluntly tells some poor couple exactly what is wrong with their marriage and why they have to change their lives radically. There are almost invariably tears of shame and regret.