Dan O’Keefe, Seinfeld writer, originally penned Festivus in 1997, and the last thing he expected was for anyone to actually care. However, O’Keefe didn’t expect the outrage to start, until now, and he’s quite surprised about it.
“Am I to understand that some humanoid expressed outrage that the baby Jesus was behind a pole made of beer cans?” the writer asked Mother Jones, which reached out to him for comment about the latest salvo in the network’s perceived “War on Christmas.”
The outrage began when an atheist erected a 6-foot Festivus pole made of Pabst beer cans to protest a privately funded nativity scene on public grounds at the capitol.
“I am so outraged by this,” Carlson said during a three-on-one Fox News debate Tuesday in which she, a rabbi and a Catholic laid into an atheist arguing for the separation of church and state.
“Why do I have to drive around with my kids to look for nativity scenes and be like, ‘Oh, yeah, kids, look. There’s Baby Jesus behind the Festivus pole made out of beer cans!” she said.
Festivus entered the public imagination with a 1997 “Seinfeld” episode co-written by Dan O’Keefe, whose father created Festivus. The tradition involved “weird decorations around our house and weird French ’60s music playing.” He and two co-writers created other Festivus traditions, including the pole.
“Both displays have equal right to be there,” O’Keefe said of the pole and nativity scene. “But, you know, the Fox News outrage machine kicked into high gear, and I’m sure there were some hair-sprayed talking heads bobbing up and down, being outraged about it.”
O’Keefe is a self-described progressive, and gave $100,000 in 2004 to a group formed in response to the anti-John Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. However, he isn’t a huge fan of Festivus.
“Look, I’m looking at a Christmas tree right now, and no pole made of beer cans is going to come into my house and knock it down, at least that I’m aware of,” he said. “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.”
Festivus only made it onto the show because one of his brothers mentioned it to someone else on the “Seinfeld” staff, who liked the idea.