Monday, 6 October 2008
The Greek monologue tirade
Hermes and I have been discussing here the ‘monologue tirade’ popular on fringe Greek TV especially among patriotic analysts. I said I found the excessive emotion often used by speakers not only counterproductive since it obscured the message of their talk but also hilarious.
Hermes warned me against adopting Anglo-Saxon cultural attitudes towards pathos and I accepted this and mentioned how the Greek monologue tirade is actually an interesting art form, which hints at an extreme state of consciousness and is something akin to a stand-up comedy routine with all its digressions, non-sequiturs and hyperbole. I also mentioned that the Greek monologue tirade reminded me of the novels and plays of Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard and the films of John Cassavetes.
Indeed, above are two clips: one from Cassavetes’ Minnie and Moscowitz, in which Minnie (Gena Rowlands) finds herself on a blind date with Zelmo Swift (Val Avery), who lets his desire to impress his date get the better of him; the other is an excerpt from a Neoklis Sarris’ diatribe on High TV’s Τομές against vigilante ‘anti-nationalist’ journalists and academics. Sarris is a sociology professor at Panteion University and an expert on Greek-Turkish relations.
The host of Τομές is Kostas Hountas who, if anything, is an even more eccentric character than Sarris. In the clip below, Sarris works himself into a fury and then turns towards the sheepish Hountas and starts waving his finger in his face and haranguing him about the shortcomings of Pasok. Without exaggeration, I have to say that this was one of the funniest things I have ever seen and I laughed uncontrollably as I am laughing now, just thinking about it.