Happy Festivus, Newton Minow!

Originally published, December 22, 2009

FCC Chairman Newton Minow,

FCC Chairman Newton Minow,

In his 1961 “Television and the Public Interest” speech, former FCC Chair Newton Minow famously accused TV of being a “vast wasteland.”

While it led to much spoofing (ever consider why creator Sherwood Schwartz named the Gilligan’s Island shipwreck S.S. Minnow?), Minow’s point was deadly accurate. It remains so, perhaps more now than ever.

While he is famous for lambasting the medium, Minow also spoke of television’s positive powers: “When television is good, nothing — notthe theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better,” quoth the Chairman.

Since I make my living through the sale, production and promotion of electronic media, I, too, must advocate for the value of television — if only it’s ability to make us laugh, and forget our troubles for a few minutes at a time in this world gone mad.

For one particularly timely example, let’s dial up the (Not So) Way Back Machine to Seinfeld. The “show about nothing” is the gift that keeps on giving.

Deep in the midst of the holiday season, consider the now 13-year-old “holiday” of Festivus, which fans (Costanza-ists?) celebrate on December 23.

When the weather snarls your holiday travel plans, the joys of family togetherness become too much to bear, or you just need a laugh to help stave off your Seasonal Affective Disorder, watch excerpts from the Festivus episode, and try not to laugh.

Let the airing of grievances start!

Happy holidays one and all …

Return to Musings On Marketing Index Page