Friday, 29 April 2011

‘This national soil, virgin and prolific, fertilised daily by the heroic manure of our national cattle’

There is nothing more ridiculous than the nation – except, of course, when that nation is your own, in which case it is the repository of all that is virtuous and progressive. But when it comes to other nations, it is clear to us that their claims, myths, institutions and practises are absurd, embarrassing and pathetic. If they could see what we can see then they would be ashamed of themselves. Never mind. The absurdity of the nation is the theme of the hilarious excerpt above from the 1963 filmed version of Jean Genet’s play The Balcony, in which Peter Falk is the chief of police plotting from an S&M brothel to put down a rebellion that has broken out and restore ‘authority’. The play has been lauded for recapturing the spirit of Aristophanes and classical Athenian comedy.


Anonymous said...

Huh, I find nothing wrong with national myths and national feelings. What is absurd is to think we are one people and there should be no borders. Disapointing post on an otherwise great site.


John Akritas said...

You find the national myths and national feelings of, say, Albanians or Skopjans worthy of your respect and admiration; that the national myths and feelings of these two 'nations' are of equal worth and value to the national myths and feelings of the Greek ethnos? In fact, to believe in your own nation is, by definition, to find absurd the myths and feelings of other nations. It's the same with religion; we believe our own myths/truths as Orthodox Christians and find absurd and repellent the doctrines and stories of, say, Muslims or sun-worshippers. Or perhaps, you don't find this. Perhaps, you believe all cultures and their myths are of equal validity, i.e. perhaps you subscribe to multiculturalism. It seems that way.

Anonymous said...

? I don't find skopian and albanian myths worthy of respect because they are fake nations with stolen identities. But I find other noble nations myths that are not my own something to admire. I admire British myths on arthurian legend even though I don't think of the modern nation of the uk. I admire the alamo legend for the US. And no I am not a multiculturalist, quite the opposite.


Hermes said...

The mirror of post-modern multi-culturalism (the idea that all cultures or nations are equally valid in a certain space) is that all cultures or nations are equally invalid. This is wrong. Some cultures are worthy of more attention than others. For example, one must know something about Chinese culture. Personally, I do not find it interesting but it deserves attention. The same goes for French or Russian. They are all poles of distinctive cultures and nations. Less so for Anglo and American cultures and nations. They do not even have Ministry's of Culture!! However, Slovenian or Paraguayan culture are not worthy of the same attention. They are mostly derivative. Even worse is Skopjan culture which is really non-existent. So, we should adhere to a hierarchy of nations. Some a more worthy than others and some are not worthy at all.

Hermes said...

An interesting article how the Greek Ministry of Education tries to impose multiculturalism on young minds via a book on mathematics. Truly shocking!!!

Anonymous said...

I was trying to say what Hermes said. Of course he daid it better.


Hermes said...

Perhaps the most tragic news of all. Vengos has just died.

lastgreek said...

Breaking: Greece Threatens To Leave Eurozone, Reintroduce Own Currency,

John Akritas said...

LG: was it Spiegel who came out with this stuff a few years ago about the Hitler Diaries? I don't remember; but I give the story about Greek re-adopting the Drachma as much credibility. In fact, I'm willing to bet you any amount that this will not happen. You might like this

though this and this are better.

lastgreek said...

The irony, J, is that the Greek denial to the Der Spiegel article has just as much credibility. Have you ever heard of a more oxymoronic title than "Greek Ministry of Finance"?

Of course, one should always remember the maxim: "If it's too good to be true, then it probably is."

Thank you for the links, J. I will have a look at them later today when I have the chance. But before I submit this post, I want to add the following: I care about Greece. I care about the prospect that public Greek lands may be sold off and lost forever; I care that the Greek landscape and seas may be irreparably destroyed. As for the Greeks themselves, that is, the Greeks of Greece ... I could not possibly care less. Why should I? They themselves don't care for their own country, so why should I give a care about them? I have often wondered, as I am sure you have, what so Greek about them as they hardly display any of the proud characterstics of the ancient and midieval Greeks.

George Papaconstantinou a Greek?

Yeah right ... if he is Greek than Hermes here is the reincarnation of Genghis Khan ... lol The bloody prick Papaconstantinou simply can't do what is right for the Greek nation, he must put the interests of the German bankers first! (Of course, there is the problem of the Greek pension funds. What fools these modern Greeks!)

lastgreek said...

From today's Bloomberg:

EU Said to Consider Requiring Collateral for Extra Greek Aid

See if you can spot the key word in the above Bloomberg headline.

Now, what do you think, J? Our the banksters getting smarter or what?

Hermes said...

I watched the first few minutes of Debtocracy and I thought this is interesting, good visuals and dramatic music. Then gradually I realized it is the same old Leftist dribble about all these dark conspiratorial forces seeking to undermine and destroy the poor helpless simple Greek. I turned off after five minutes. I do not know the creators of the documentary but I have read some of their cohort’s work such as Costas Douzinas, a complete idiot. When are we going to rid ourselves of this stale narrative??? Don’t get fooled by the latest union protests. They are not seeking to protect Greek workers nor are they seeking to help the Greek consumer. The Greek worker in these power corporations is also a Greek consumer. They are seeking to defend the interests of a very narrow clique of people

As John says, Doxiadis is much more interesting. His thesis is quite sound. And he is involved in private equity, helping to create real enterprises, rather than rent seekers like Costas Douzinas and the makers of Debtocracy who seek to mostly try to redistribute wealth from productive sections of the Greek economy to unproductive ones i.e. closed industries and professions and the public service. He also collaborates with Open Fund and opencoffee. Check them out.

Like I was saying a week or two ago, Greece cannot try and compete in labour and capital intensive industries i.e. car manufacturing. Firstly, there are not masses of Greek labour and neither will Greeks accept 30 million more people in the current Greek space because it will make life inhuman and will destroy the environment. Secondly, historically Greece has never accumulated large amounts of capital unless it’s by government intervention which as we know creates its own problems. Greece should seek to further exploit its competitive advantages and then develop its own peculiar type of human capital as explained by Doxiadis to create niche industries. Many of these characteristics are present in the Greek Diaspora as well. Historically, Greek entrepreneurship in the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Central Europe provides some interesting antecedents where there developed small, decentralized, flexible, innovative business structures and practices which were often non-capital intensive. Read about some of it here: Check out the other literature on this. Today, the Corallia project which I mentioned recently is an good initiative. It supports non-capital intensive industries such as software programming. It is more in line with the Greek reality. In fact, I have thought for some years that the new world of the Internet, open source, opportunistic collaboration is well suited to the “anarchic” Greek character. We should accept who we are and seek to exploit it. Actually, there are many clues in the Greek reality that help us to understand ourselves. For example, compare Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Orthodoxy is a federation of ethnic autonomous Churches. There is no infallible pope, there is no totalitarian character, there is no centralization, there is no legalism, there is no masochism, there is no gigantism. All these characteristics have formed our national character. As Doxiadis says, grand Neo-Marxist narratives do not apply in Greece. Actually, even Lenin had to incorporate Russian peasant socialist ideas to make his project more palatable. Even then, it was stupid.

Let’s ditch these foreign ideas, better understand ourselves, and move on from there rather than perpetuating misguided policies and ideas from elsewhere.

By the way, yesterday I came into contact with a Greek company which manufactures adjustable awnings and is exporting to Asia-Pacific. These guys are daring and confident. They are already replacing old incumbents in that micro-sector.

lastgreek said...

Hermes, that was one big commentary ... at least 750 words? :-)

Now, I haven't watched the video, so I can't comment yet. But quickly on your point of "Greece cannot try and compete in labour and capital intensive industries i.e. car manufacturing ...," I guess you're thinking internal combustion engines, yes? I wasn't. The internal combustion engine is not only soooooo 20th century technology -- that is, old and soon to be obsolete -- but it has always been an anathema to the fragile Greek environment. You see, when I said that Greeks should built their own cars I was thinking about electric cars. You see, I presumed that our Greeks are the same Greeks whose ancestors not only developed the concept of the steam engine -- that same concept that gave rise to the Indusrtial Revolution and the raison d'etre behind nuclear power plants today -- but also developed the first analog computers. These our my Greeks ... brilliant! You think I am being too optomistic about what today's Greeks can accomplish, H?

Firstly, there are not masses of Greek labour and neither will Greeks accept 30 million more people in the current Greek space because it will make life inhuman and will destroy the environment.

I don't see where you get the idea that Greece needs to import people (30 million more?). And if anyone here has had the misfortune to walk the streets of present day Athens, it is the internal combustion engine that is making "life inhuman and will destroy the envrironment."

In fact, I have thought for some years that the new world of the Internet, open source, ...

You are sounding very much like Obama in his last State of the Union Address several months ago. He too brought up the internet. The joke on the financial blogs after his speech was that if every American were to somehow create a "facebook" business all economics problems would be solved.

So, nothing labour or capital intensive for our modern Greeks, eh? If you only knew what I am thinking right now. Damn ... my mind is so in the gutter lately :-)

lastgreek said...

edit: In some cases "our" should be "are." :-(

Hermes said...

LG, the Greeks can produce the intellectual blueprint and manufacture parts of electric cars (I did see some interesting developments recently) but to mass produce the whole vehicle is unrealistic because there is still a considerable labour input.

Also, I only used software programming as an example of a non-capital intensive industry. However, not all software programmers design Facebook businesses.

lastgreek said...

So ... Greece may have gotten a break ... from a hotel maid, no less. The head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested by the NYPD yesterday in New York, as he was about to board a flight for France, on charges of forcing his hotel maid to give him head. Man, some stuff just can't be made up ... lol

What a crass and disgusting man that Strauss-Kahn. Reminds me of the small-dick president (we have this trivia on sworn testimony) Bill Clinton as he, too, used his position to get sex out of the hired help. I mean, what ever happened to the art of seduction?

[Where did everybody go?]

lastgreek said...

Well, well. well, what do you know?

I am reading here -- -- that IMF personnel, like diplomats, have diplomatic immunity. Well, we will soon find out I guess.

You see, people, the banksters don't just want your money, they want your women, too.

Hermes said...

I am not real sure Strauss-Kahn's arrest is a break. Despite some poor comments, apparently he was quite helpful to Greece's cause. An American stand-in, Lipsky might not be so helpful.

Apparently, there is no diplomatic immunity.

Another interesting development is that this plays into the hands of the hugely unpopular Sarkozy. Or, "horror of horrors" French patriot Le Pen might win the French presidency next year.

lastgreek said...

Hi, H.

I am not real sure Strauss-Kahn's arrest is a break. Despite some poor comments, apparently he was quite helpful to Greece's cause.

I disagree. I can't imagine how more debt on top of unserviceable debt can be helpful. For example, would you consider it wise for someone who has maxed out her credit card to be issued another credit card so that she can service the debt of her maxed out card? I don't believe you would. Moreover, remember that this new debt to Greece would be only be forthcoming with collateral clauses attached. And yes, the Parthenon would have been part of this collateral.

Strauss-Kahn and his bankster ilk were setting up Greeks up for the kill ... after they would have raped their women, of course.

Here are some excerpts from an editorial piece from the editor-in-chief of a leading German business newspaoer that is adressed to the leading dummy of Greece George Papandreou ...

Dear Mr. Papandreou,

With the greatest respect, the Western world is monitoring your efforts to master your country’s debt crisis. No other democratic country has ever managed anything like that in peacetime. You are shrinking the state apparatus; you are fighting corruption; you are teaching your fellow countrymen how to become honest tax-payers.

You are a modern hero. You are attempting the impossible. ....

The bitter truth to which you and all parties who wanted to help Greece have to admit is that the help doesn’t help. Your country is getting deeper and deeper into the mess.

The truth that Greece has to cut back and save has turned into an untruth. The right thing has turned into the wrong thing. You already cut pensions, lowered the salaries of civil servants by 30 per cent and raised the prices of gas by almost 50 per cent. You can’t restore the health of your country by saving. And the European Union can’t restore your country’s health by again and again injecting new loans.

Soon, the day will come when the tortured body will surrender. The Greek construction industry already shrank by 70 per cent. Sales of car dealers sank by half. A daily export volume of 50 million Euros Greece is achieving far too little. Soon the day will come which investors fear in their nightmares. Then the word “insolvency” will be on everyone’s lips.

But it is also the day when a new truth will be born: Don’t save but invest, they will tell you – so that the Greek economy will grow again. Do not service debt with debt, you then will be recommended, but spread out the debt service, cut it and maybe even completely suspend it for a while. It will be a day of impositions, especially for those who lend money to you and your people. Financial markets will grind to a halt in horror – and then they will turn to embrace the future. Because Argentina in 2001, Mexico at the beginning of the eighties and Germany after World War II taught us that there is a life after death - at least, in the case of highly indebted states.

Mr. Papandreou, so far, you attempted the impossible. Now you should do the possible. Just as you deceived the officers as a boy and denied to know where your father was hiding you now must repudiate the pride of the Greeks - in order to save your country. Come to meet the new uncomfortable truth before it knocks at your door. It’s already on its way.

Respectfully yours,

Gabor Steingart

lastgreek said...

Btw, Hermes, I do acknowledge your points that DSK has been more helpful to Greece's financial plight than others and that his most likely replacement Lipsky will probably be much worse. And, yes, I have also read that he was a "kind and gentler bankster."

But we are talking about the IMF here, H. Regardless of who the chief is, the IMF is in the profitable business of plundering the wealth of nations.

DSK. Why? With your wealth you could have simply hired a high-priced callgirl. You're in New York, not some hillbilly town. You had to stoop a la Bill Clinton and go after the hired help? You sure made Sarkozy one happy camper, you cheap, horny fool.

Hermes said...

LG, as you acknowledge, DSK was probably one of the best of a bad lot. He was relatively liberal and progressive which is what you need if you are in Greece's position. With DSK gone, the IMF might withdraw from overstepping its mandate, leaving us at the mercy of the EU which has not been as kind. Also, the IMF might continue to overstep its mandate but become less conciliatory.

As for DSK's bedroom antics, the IMF was paying $3000 per night for the Sofitel room and he is earning over half a million a year. Surely, he could afford a call girl. But perhaps, the maid was sexy. I cannot answer that. But we are almost certain that Sarkozy hardly differs in sleaziness.

lastgreek said...

Here's an excerpt of an interesting article I came across this morning:

The struggle for recognition, the willingness to risk one’s life for a purely abstract goal, the worldwide ideological struggle that called forth daring, courage, imagination, and idealism, will be replaced by economic calculation, the endless solving of technical problems, environmental concerns, and the satisfaction of sophisticated consumer demands.

Link to article:

Hermes said...

Friedrich Nietztsche and Max Weber had recognised this change around 100 years ago.

lastgreek said...

A day can't go by without a bankster threat against Greece.

Well, one economist commenting on the ECB threats against Greece had this to say:

Every reckless borrower needs a reckless lender.

No kidding ... and if anyone needs their behinds seriously spanked, it's the reckless banksters.

Regarding DSK ... had no idea that jumping a woman and forcing oneself on her was considered a form of seduction in France. And all these years I, like a silly fool, had to rely solely on my charms and handsome Greek looks.

Anonymous said...

More flotilla shenanigans coming up this summer, or so I've read. This time, [slimeball] Davutoglu has vowed to 'respond to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on the high seas.' [sure you will...]

Why Greeks are (some most probably will) getting involved I have no idea. Meanwhile the enclaved in our occupied, ethnically cleansed land are not even getting so much as a dinghy.

Hermes said...

Obama called for Israel to go back to 1967 borders, but no mention of Turkey removing itself from Cyprus with no preconditions!

lastgreek said...

I am going to copy and paste here (link to follow) the first paragraph from one of my favourite financial online sites Zero Hedge on the ongoing financial/economic/ political Greek tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes. It almost makes you forget all the other serious problems -- Aegean, Cyprus, etc., -- that Greece faces. It's must reading.

What a difference a year makes. It was just over a year ago that Greece received its first (and certainly not last) $1 trillion + bailout package from the EU, the ECB and the IMF. Just over 12 months later, all those who peddled Greek bonds to the rest of the world (ahem Germany) are now furiously backtracking, having finally realized what we, and everyone else with half a brain said from the beginning: it's over for Greece, for the eurozone in its current configuration, and for the single currency. But fine, let's kick the can down the road for a few more months, which will allow banks, with access to interest-free central bank capital, to literally steal Greece's soon to be privatized assets for pennies on the dollar, and then send the carcass, now picked dry, to the international bankruptcy court. In the meantime, we would like expose all the idiots, who like various anchors on Comcast's bubblevision channel, pitched Greek paper to hapless investors, only to see losses (this is not some speculative asset - this is fixed income) of over 40% in one year, and for some reason continue to have a podium from which to spread their lunacy, greed and outright stupidity.

Did you hear that? Pennies on the dollar. How do you think the rich steal, at gunpoint? lol

Btw, Hermes ... Obama's speech was good for a laugh, nothing more. Did you notice that he included the phrase "mutually agreed upon swaps" of territory? There -- that is all one needs to know about how serious Obama Samba was.

lastgreek said...

So ... France's Lagarde is seeking the IMF's top spot. I guess this she-man -- and I am being kind to this god-awful, ugly woman -- wants to have the pleasure of driving the last nail into Greece's coffin. The she-man wants to speed up Greece's privatization -- read: "pennies on the dollar" -- or else not a dime will be forthcoming. And, of course, these forthcoming new loans will be ALL collateralized. The big prize will be the revunue streams of tourist sites such as the Parthenon. Funny thing is is that if the Ancient Greeks were alive today -- assuming they were as pathetic and cowardly as their modern couterparts and somehow got themselves into unserviceble debt -- they would not mind in the least in putting up the Parthenon as collateral. You know why? They would simply build another one, that is why. That can't be said of the modern Greeks who with their adoption of all things barbarian (read: "western") don't even the difference between a Doric and Corinthian column.

Dear G-Pap and G-Papacon,

For every reckless borrower there is a reckless creditor.

Remember that you dummies the next time the Euro banksters threaten your country.

PS: I wouldn't have sex with France's finance minister if she were the last she-man -- excuse me, woman on earth!

lastgreek said...

The European Gold Confiscation Scheme Unfolds: European Parliament Approves Use Of Gold As Collateral

Greeks are known for giving it up the ass. Well, what are the Greeks of Greece waiting for ...

Fuck the Euro bansters up the ass, Greeks. Use your gold reserves to back YOUR OWN fuckin' currency -- the DRACHMA! Don't let them steal your gold!

Yeah, the Euro banksters will freak out. Too bad. Life is a bitch. And once you have your Greek, fat, hairy dicks up the Euro banksters' asses, Greeks, then, and only then, shall you renegotiate your debt to them. I Figure, with devaluation and all, Greek debt to be slashed by at least -- at least! -- 50%.

Real Greeks give it up the ass, they don't take it up the ass!

PS: Please don't edit this post, J. Considering what is about to befall Greece, the language and tone are appropriate.

lastgreek said...

Interesting article by Greg Palast on Strauss-Kahn's treatment of African nations as head of the IMF. He also had this to say on Greece:

It was DSK who, last year, personally insisted on brutal terms for the so-called bail-out of Greece. "Strong conditionality" is the IMF term. Strauss-Kahn demanded not just a devastating cut in pensions and a deliberate increase in unemployment to 14%, but also the sell-off of 4,000 of 6,000 state-owned services. The DSK IMF plan allowed the financiers who set the financial fires of Greece to pick up the nation's assets at a fire-sale price.

The Strauss-Kahn demands were not "tough love" for Greece: The love was reserved solely for the vulture bankers who received the IMF funds but were not required to accept one euro in lost profit in return. DSK, despite the advice of many, refused to ask the banks and speculators to reduce their usurious interest charges that were at the root of Greece's woes.

Requiring Greece to sell assets, drop trade barriers, and even end the rule that Greek ships use Greek sailors has nothing to do with saving Greece, but everything to do with DSK's continuing the right-wing free-market mania that got this planet into trouble in the first place.

I do not consider it a stretch to say that a predator in the bank boardroom suite assumes his impunity applies to the hotel suite.

You know, folks, with "good" bankers like Strauss-Kahn who the hell needs "bad" bankers!

PS: Does anyone here know when the Parthenon is going up for auction? I am asking because I am thinking of putting in a bid (if the wife lets me of course).