Dan O’Keefe is the former Seinfeld writer whose family’s Festivus tradition was immortalized in one of the show’s episodes. O’Keefe says he didn’t know about the Fox News freakouts over Festivus displays that have become the symbol of secular pushback against religious ones. But now that he does, he’s got a few things to say.
But, given that O’Keefe describes himself as a “Markos Moulitsas progressive,” (I can just hear Carlson shouting out, “I knew it!”), he has a few choice words for those Christian Christmas warriors claiming to be Festivus pole victims:
“Look, I’m looking at a Christmas tree right now, and no (Festivus) pole made of beer cans is going to come into my house and knock it down, at least that I’m aware of,” he says. “I don’t think it has the Mordor-like, sinister political significance that’s being attributed to it by right-wing talking heads...It’s a manufactured news event. The intention of the newscast is to feed the false War on Christmas narrative that is everywhere.”
Carlson may be surprised to know O’Keefe has no beef with the privately-funded nativity scene at the Florida capitol. That's the one that prompted Chaz Stevens’ 6-foot Festivus pole made out of empty beer cans in protest – and which provoked Carlson's latest freakout. But O’Keefe is sympathetic to Stevens anyway. “'I could see why someone would want to counter [anything that seems like] state embrace of any specific religion. …So good for him,' O’Keefe said."
Festivus was an idiosyncratic family celebration for O’Keefe. Actually, it was his father who was the father of Festivus. But when O'Keefe the younger's fellow Seinfeld writers heard about it, they put it in the sitcom (they made up the Festivus pole) over O’Keefe’s objections. He says he’s surprised it has become so memorable:
“I was honestly surprised anyone gave a flying fuck,” he says. “For better or worse, this is the most recognizable thing I’ve ever done on TV...which is to say my career peaked at age 26, maybe...But I am honored to have this wart on a very lovely pair of buttocks in the pop-culture spectrum.”
You can read the complete article at Mother Jones.