In a memorable episode of Seinfeld, Jerry is concerned about taking a lie detector test that he fears will reveal his love for the show Melrose Place. Seeking advice, Jerry turns to his best friend, George Costanza, for tips on how to beat the lie detector.
George's (predictably bad) advice: “Just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.”
Perhaps Wayne Allyn Root is just taking George's advice. In his November 7 Washington Times op-ed, Root flat-out invents a Seinfeld scene and then uses it as the basis of his latest attack on President Obama.
This is the “quote” Root chose from a scene in the classic Seinfeld episode, “The Opposite”:
Remember “Seinfeld”? It was one of the most successful TV series in the history of American television. The show revolved around Jerry Seinfeld and his buddy George Costanza. George was the ultimate loser. Everything he did was a colossal failure. One day that all changed. George was hired by George Steinbrenner and the world champion New York Yankees. He had hit the lottery - overnight he had an important executive job, big salary and beautiful women.
Seinfeld was in shock. He asked, “George, how did you do it?” “Simple,” George said, “One day I woke up and realized I was the world's biggest loser. So I decided to do the opposite of everything I've ever done - every thought, opinion, decision. Now I just do the opposite. And suddenly, I'm a winner!”
To answer his question: Yes, I remember Seinfeld. Quite well, actually. And aside from reading like the script of a late-night infomercial, nothing about this supposed interaction between Jerry and George ever happened. Allow me to correct you, Mr. Root.
The character who came up with the idea of “the opposite” strategy was, in fact, Jerry himself -- not George. Just take a look at the script from “The Opposite”:
JERRY: Well here's your chance to try the opposite. Instead of tuna salad and being intimidated by women, chicken salad and going right up to them.
GEORGE: Yeah, I should do the opposite, I should.
JERRY: If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.
GEORGE: Yes, I will do the opposite. I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something!
But even worse: The dialogue Root purports to quote never happened. Maybe Root was thinking of this exchange from the episode, but as you can see, his quote isn't even close:
GEORGE : Hey, I just found twenty dollars! I tell you this, something is happening in my life. I did this opposite thing last night. Up was down, black was white, good was --
GEORGE: Day was --
ELAINE : Night.
JERRY: So you just did the opposite of everything?
GEORGE: Yes. And listen to this, listen to this; her uncle works for the Yankees and he's gonna get me a job interview. A front office kind of thing. Assistant to the travelling secretary. A job with the New York Yankees! This has been the dream of my life ever since I was a child, and it's all happening because I'm completely ignoring every urge towards common sense and good judgment I've ever had. This is no longer just some crazy notion. Jerry, this is my religion.
JERRY: So I guess your Messiah would be the Anti-Christ.
The reason, it seems, that Root chose to invoke George Costanza was to come up with a new way to call Obama a Marxist. Now, I have seen every episode of Seinfeld at least five times (this is a modest estimate), and I don't recall George ever revealing any Marxist allegiances (Kramer, maybe). Here is Root's explanation:
Barack Obama is our very own George Costanza, the lovable loser of Seinfeld fame --except that Mr. Obama is a Marxist and he's not lovable.
So, in other words, Obama is just like George Costanza, except, yadda, yadda, yadda, he's not at all.
George Costanza is not an architect, or a marine biologist, or good at Trivial Pursuit, or particularly honest in any way. But, if Root is going to quote him, he needs to at least get the quote right. Or better yet, just leave Seinfeld out of it. No soup for you. Next!