Thursday, January 25, 2018

"A Sitcom-Inspired Personal Strategy"

Who said you are wasting your time watching television?  Okay, my mother, but who else?

I would have lost big money on this bet.

I would never have guessed that “Red State” voters in substantial numbers watched Seinfeld.

And yet they demonstrably appear to have.

I mean, I know there’s “coincidence.”  But when millions of people living in parts of the country even more millions of people have never visited engage in precisely the same behavior as George Costanza’s behavior on Seinfeld, there is a presumable possibility that that’s where those learned that behavior.

Consider the 1994 Seinfeld episode “The Opposite.”

George Costanza, at his lowest ebb concerning the way his life is proceeding, confides to his best friend since high school Jerry Seinfeld that every decision he has ever instinctively made has been wrong.  To which Jerry, following conventional logical thinking, suggests that, “… if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

Deciding – because he is dismally desperate – to test out Jerry’s “reasonable hypothesis”, George approaches a beautiful woman in Monk’s Café and announces,

“My name is George.  I am unemployed and I live with my parents.”

To George’s surprise, the beautiful woman agrees to go out with him.    

“Red State” voters apparently took serious note of that episode.  Enduring comparable withering circumstances to “I’m unemployed and I live with my parents” – or maybe those exact circumstances – having received no ameliorating relief from “Politics as usual” and feeling – like George – that they have nothing to lose, following “The Costanza Strategy of Desperate Behavior”, they elect a president, displaying personal qualities that are the exact opposite of the standards of an minimally acceptable American president.

The opposite of “eminently qualified for public office”, (let alone the highest office in the land.)

The opposite of “fully knowledgeable about the issues.”

The opposite of “A reliable ‘Truth Teller’.”
The opposite of temperamentally thick-skinned.

The opposite of humane.

The opposite of unifying.

The opposite of “sensitive to the most vulnerable elements of our society.”

The opposite of humble.

The opposite of magnanimous.

The opposite of self-sacrificing.

The opposite of strategically compromising.

The opposite of thinking carefully before speaking.

In short, the opposite of every positive personal characteristic any president ever exhibited while serving in office.

And why wouldn’t they?

If “eminently decent” wasn’t doing the trick,

Why not give “abominably monstrous” a try?

It worked for Costanza. 


Why wouldn’t it work for the country?

4 comments:

Fred from Scarborough said...

Ever think of coming back - your OHIP coverage would kick in around the same time that weed becomes legal. Just sayin’.

frank said...

George for President in 2020!

Andy Cowan said...

I always wondered what my life would have been like had I done the opposite. I wound up pitching that to Larry David as a freelancer, and it landed me the script before I joined the staff the following season. When CNN's & SiriusXM's Michael Smerconish brought up the Trump/Opposite parallel to me last year, I apologized to America. (Hear below:)

https://soundcloud.com/smerconishshow/donald-trump-is-george-costanza-as-the-opposite

Keep up the good work, Earl! Oh, and shameless plug, the above is in one chapter of a big book of mine coming out in May:

"Banging My Head Against the Wall: A Comedy Writer's Guide to Seeing Stars", by yours truly (Andy Cowan), foreword by Jay Leno

Andy Cowan said...

Actually, the Sirius broadcast is from 2016. Before the Donald got in.