Seinfeld, Quixote and Marriott

Jerry Seinfeld is the richest actor on earth. Google it. He’s worth eight hundred and twenty million dollars.

You don’t make that kind of money working as a stand-up comedian in Atlantic City. You make it when companies pay to run ads during your hit TV show. Based on the advertising revenues it generated,Seinfeld (1989-1998) was the most successful TV show in the history of television.

Fast-forward to October, 2014: Jerry Seinfeld wins a CLIO, an award that’s sort of like an OSCAR in advertising. (In Greek mythology, Clio was one of the nine Muses and a daughter of Zeus. She was the recorder of great deeds, the proclaimer and celebrator of accomplishments, and a source of inspiration and genius.)

Jerry accepted his CLIO award from America’s advertising professionals by stepping up to the microphone and proving once again that you can say vicious things to people as long as you’re smiling when you do it. “I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy.” “I love advertising because I love lying.”

Like all great comedians, Seinfeld is funny because he has the audacity to say what everyone else is thinking. It’s been his trademark from the beginning. So no, I’m not bothered that he insulted the people who were honoring him. The average American is probably delighted that he did it. After all, those annoying advertising people had it coming, right?

That’s one way to look at it.

I prefer to look at it through the eyes of Don Quixote who, you will recall, did some amazing things while pretending he was a man who could do amazing things.

Yes, I am a professional ad writer but I believe it to be a worthy profession.

America did not become wealthy because of its natural resources. If natural resources determined the wealth of nations, Brazil would be the richest country on earth and Japan would be the poorest.

Americans enjoy the most robust economy on earth because we’re incredibly good at selling things to each other. If we ever lose our ability to convince each other to buy things, the American economy will fall apart.

So no, I’m not embarrassed to be the guy who convinces you to buy things you don’t need. If Americans bought only what we needed, we would never have progressed beyond kerosene lanterns and a hand-pump in the yard.

I am embarrassed by companies who take away your right to choose.

I am embarrassed by Marriott. (NYSE: MAR)

While Jerry Seinfeld was insulting ad writers, the Federal Communications Commission was fining Marriott $600,000 for using high-tech equipment to jam personal Internet access during a convention at its Nashville hotel. If exhibitors or attendees wanted to go online, they had to pay $250 to $1,000 apiece to Marriott.

Teddy Roosevelt spanked J. P. Morgan and the other robber barons of corporate America when they conspired to take away the American right to choose.

Teddy wasn’t a Socialist, he was a Republican. He didn’t restrain free trade, open markets, capitalism or the American dream. He restrained powerful men who wanted to abandon seduction in favor of rape.

God Bless the FCC.

I believe Teddy would be proud.

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