It’s a question of such philosophical magnitude that only Kramer could have asked it: is there anything wrong with saying, “not that there’s anything wrong with that?”

According to Kenny Kramer, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s famous Cosmo Kramer, the answer is “yes.” So much so, that he launched a $1 million defamation law suit.

In real life, Kramer owns a bus touring company, called Kramer Reality Tours, Inc., that buses tourists around New York and shows them locations portrayed in the show. Fred Stoller, the staff writer being sued, took one of these tours and included it in his new book, “Maybe We’ll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star.”

While the bus rode around gay-dominated Greenwich Village, according to Stoller, one of Kramer’s tour guides made all the tourists yell out, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” To make sure everyone felt embarrassed, the tour guide did it again “like some sort of deranged cheerleader.”

Kramer felt that the reported incident – somehow unlike all of his other portrayals in Seinfeld – would make him the target of public ridicule.  In the complaint, Kramer characterized the passage as making him look “homophobic.” Justice Barabara Jaffe, however, disagreed. On Monday, she dismissed the complaint in its entirety.

The phrase originally came from a 1993 episode of Seinfeld, called “The Outing.” Jerry and George, two straight friends, were outed as gay by a student journalist for a New York University newspaper. Through the course of the episode, they struggle to reassure everyone that they are not gay, while also trying not to appear homophobic.

“In that context, the catch phrase speaks to the ambivalence a heterosexual male may feel about homosexuality, and says little, if anything, about homosexuality,” Judge Jaffe wrote.

According to the Huffington Post and Rolling Stone, the episode won a Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award and helped raised awareness of LGBT issues.

So apparently no, there is nothing wrong with saying, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Patrick Tricker

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