A closer look at the Kramer Konundrum

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Cosmo, redeem thyself?
By now we've all seen the footage of Michael Richards, Seinfeld's beloved Kramer, erupting in a racially charged Vesuvius of profanity and ill-advised comedy. Everyone's pilloried the guy, and rightfully so -- if you're going to go on stage as a stand-up comedian, you'd better be funny. We already have one Dane Cook stinking up the comedy clubs, and that's one Dane Cook too many. Richards' outburst was unfunny and in poor taste, and his threadbare career is officially over.

Or perhaps not.

A press release arrived this morning via three wise men and a donkey proclaiming the good news: Downtown St. Louis is planning another Festivus celebration for next Friday and Saturday (December 1 and 2), in the mistaken belief that co-opting the fictional holiday created for a TV show that went off the air several years ago is, as we like to say in the newz biz, "evergreen."

But then this passage, nestled in the standard press-flack boilerplate about the various activities one could enjoy while experiencing this overly commercialized Festivus (the self-proclaimed "biggest Festivus celebration in the world," www.festivusstl.com), caught our eye:

"Airing of Grievances -- At the beginning of Festivus, each participant tells friends and family of all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year. As quoted from Frank Costanza: 'I've got a lot of problems with you people, and now you're going to hear about it!" When all who care to have taken a turn griping, there is no required hugging or making up.' This year, St. Louisans may submit their grievances at a Festivus reception at Mosaic Restaurant, sponsored by Alive Magazine. The entry with the most votes will be announced by KMOX on-air personalities. The winner will receive a prize pack from downtown retailers and will be a celebrity judge for the Feats of Strength competition."

Hmm. Perhaps Richards was merely celebrating Festivus two weeks earlier than the rest of us. He must be Greek Orthodox. And he should probably take back that ersatz apology he made or risk being branded an apostate.

-Paul Friswold

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