OPINION

‘Survivor’

There is still no opinion poll measuring public interest in «Survivor»-type reality TV shows compared to political debates. Sure, people have different behavioral patterns, criteria for judgment, and anxieties. Scorn lies side by side with eager reality TV-watching, while indifference coexists with manic consumption. The bulk of consumer-citizens, who have for years been brainwashed by the media, would be ready to admit they find reality TV programs more attractive than developments in the political arena. They might even explain their preferences by invoking the similarities between our political culture and «Survivor» TV games. Both political parties and the groups of people who live on some isolated Pacific island or the undiscovered parts of Evia are animated by unprincipled infighting. Rhetorical flourishes over altruism and selflessness are a disguise for cheap egotism and cannibalistic instincts. Sham friendships grow on the fragile foundations of ephemeral common interest, only to perish as quickly as they were born. In order to win over the viewing/voting public, the players/politicians pick a section of the population and try to win them over (churchgoers, nationalists, women, young people, Cretans or ethnic Greeks from the Black Sea) by trying out their demagogic skills on them. Both in reality TV and political games, cunning machinations are the most popular strategy. There are differences, of course. There can be no more appropriate person to point them out than Prime Minister Costas Simitis – a man currently anxious about his own Survivor game, a far crueler version than the televised one. Although he appears to be the «people’s choice» (picked as the most suitable for premier), he has failed to convince his fellow players and colleagues that he deserves to be the top dog in the party.