If a public opinion poll of every Greek were possible just minutes after the announcement that both the new prime minister and the finance minister were facing health problems, the most likely result would be: 30 percent would say it?s a bluff, 30 percent would say it was a conspiracy, 20 percent would say it was all for show, 18 percent would believe it to be a setup and 2 percent wouldn?t respond.
That small percentage of undecideds would probably comprise doctors of the kind that has no compunction about appearing on television and talking about the psychological and physical health of anybody, even people they have never seen or examined.
The poll would have to have been conducted immediately after the news that Antonis Samaras and Vassilis Rapanos were admitted to hospital on Friday because it generated such a buzz that even a delay of an hour would have meant there was no way you?d get an unbiased answer. Radio stations, TV broadcasters, newspaper websites and random blogs began publishing ?exclusives? even before the patients? real doctors were able to give their truly exclusive diagnoses and statements. It was a moment of triumph for everyone with a doctor friend: One guy has a friend who?s an eye doctor and said this and that about Samaras; another has a friend who?s a neurologist and said the following about Rapanos; and I know a guy who said that his cousin heard another guy say that at the Church of Aghia Paraskevi, the patron saint of eye doctors, they prayed for the success of the prime minister?s retinal reattachment surgery. I also know for a fact, from a lady who lives in the next village over from Dimitris Avramopoulos?s, that the foreign minister was seen conducting a voodoo ritual the night before, putting a curse on the premier and his finance minister, so that he could travel to Brussels instead of them.
It is not just the fact that everyone thinks they know best — an illness that is much more serious that a detached retina or a fainting episode — it is also the vigor with which we devour the know-it-alls and the know-it-all attitude, giving ourselves a healthy dosage three times a day of conspiracy theories, and also propagating them. Like the ?fact? that US President Barack Obama himself had a hand in pushing SYRIZA?s numbers up (the Greek Communist Party also confirmed this), and that the Financial Times was acting for the drachma lobby, or that the conspirators are here, among us.
There is, of course, the small matter of coincidence and fate in the behavior of Samaras?s retina, or of Newton?s apple or Fleming?s mold.