California Judge Orders Special Meals For Inmate To Celebrate “Festivus”

When Malcolm Alarmo King went to Theo Lacy jail in Orange County, he was shocked by the menu: salami sandwiches. A fit former model, King demanded a healthier meal. At the suggestion of his attorney, Fred Thiagarajah, he claimed double portions of kosher (non-salami) meals as part of his belief in Festivus — made famous by a “Seinfeld” episode. To surprise of many, Judge Derek G. Johnson agreed and ordered the special meals to celebrate Festivus.

King’s own lawyer admitted that he simply wanted better meals and King reportedly told the jail that he was demanding special meals as part of his belief in “healthism.” When Judge Johnson said that he needed a religion, Thiagarajah suggested Festivus.

Festivus is actually the creation of writer Dan O’Keefe to celebrate his first date with his wife in 1966 — a holiday later incorporated into the show by his son who was a screenwriter for “Seinfeld.”

Of course, Festivus poles have begun to appear as part of public holiday displays.

King, however, will not get a chance to demand a “Festivus pole.” He pleaded guilty to the sale or transport of a controlled substance and, in October, transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to his illegal status as an immigrant from Liberia. ICE does not recognize Festivus and he will have difficulty finding many Festivians in Liberia once he is deported.

Here is the Genesis of the religion:

Frank Costanza: “Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.”
Cosmo Kramer: “What happened to the doll?”
Frank Costanza: “It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!”
Kramer: “That must have been some kind of doll.”
Frank Costanza: “She was.”

Source: OC Register

Jonathan Turley

10 thoughts on “California Judge Orders Special Meals For Inmate To Celebrate “Festivus””

  1. Tony Sidaway: “Does the fact that my ancestors believed some nonsense about diet give me more right to a decent meal than somebody else?”
    Yes. Pretty messed up, huh?

    It’s actually worse than that in that in some prisons and jails, food is used as punishment; break the rules and you have to eat ‘the loaf’ instead of meals. It’s a tasteless block of edible stuff that contains enough nourishment to keep you alive but not much else. It’s a perverted form of sensory deprivation and the higher tech equivalent of bread and water.

  2. I’m not sure what the issue is here. Does the law really intend to distinguish one silly made-up belief from another? Does the fact that my ancestors believed some nonsense about diet give me more right to a decent meal than somebody else?

  3. If he had committed a federal crime in Canada he would have no need to make special meal requests. Our Federal inmates truly do eat much better than many middle class families on a daily basis!

  4. If’n I wuz one of them phillydelfugh laughyers, I wud ‘advice’ all muh hillbillie priznuers that they shud demand a removal of the “iv” in “Festivus” thus a’changin’ the sillybrayshin to “Festus”–in honer of my Gunsmoke hero–with kornpone, chitlins, greezy gravey, n’ white litenin’ on the menu. That aughta raze a rukkussin’ riot

  5. So what we need is “a Festivus miracle”…

    (One of the great Seinfeld episodes. Thanks for this posting.)

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