As a writer and producer on Seinfeld, Peter Mehlman enshrined “shrinkage”, “yada yada” and the ethics of double-dipping into comedy lore.
He savored the sitcom’s success all the more because it was, famously, “about nothing” and broke network rules about likeable characters and punchlines.
But now the joke is on Mehlman and other liberals who worked on Seinfeld.
The show’s billion-dollar revenues enriched and empowered Steve Bannon, an investor-turned political guru who ran the campaign for Donald Trump, another rule-breaker who according to critics knows nothing, and will be his chief White House strategist.
Mehlman is aghast that Bannon continues to mint a fortune from Seinfeld royalties.
The writer told the Guardian that he felt Bannon had proven himself to be a “raging antisemite”, and the fact that he’d made “all this money off a show that’s associated with Jewish humor – that’s pretty galling”.
Agreed, no one, as yet, is saying that Bannon should not collect because he’s, according to them, an anti-semite. But you can see the pondering of that claim going on in the background there.
And the problem with that is that it’s only a short step from “someone shouldn’t gain money because they’re an anti-semite” to “someone shouldn’t gain money because they are a semite.”
And we do actually have reasonably recent evidence as to how that works out.
Which is why we’ve got to keep shouting that private property is simply private property. Whatever the views, race, background of whose private property it is.