Entertainers as politicians


There’s an entertainer type that’s a category in itself. An entertainer is defined as someone whose job is to please or amuse their audience. In order to achieve their objective, they stage a performance, dance, sing or step into a role. They will in other words try to keep the audience interested, or in a festive mood. It’s quite a popular profession in Greece.

The country’s politicians have transformed it into an art. Each manages to preserve their own distinct characteristics which are in tune with their public demeanor. One, for example, says about his rival: “We kicked him out… he was one of Schaeuble’s people, or a speculator or a madman. Greece is better off without him.”

Meanwhile, the politician that was supposedly kicked out responds: “Maybe, in an alternative universe conjured up by a fantasy… Have you ever felt like you were being torn apart by a dying sheep?”

The former claims to be inspired by the group of Souliotes who blew themselves up at the fortress of Kougi rather than fall into the hands of the Ottomans; the latter styles himself as an aesthete.

These two are not the only entertainer-politicians to grab the attention of local media. They just happen to be two of the most popular in their field – regardless of whether the audience genuinely enjoys their show or simply gets frustrated by it.

Despite being hit by economic bankruptcy and the cultural crisis that came with it, Greece is still unable to disconnect politics from entertainment. So the problem must not only lie with its politics, but also with the rules of entertainment.

The interviews with the entertainer-politicians are relentlessly repetitive. The journalists are sweating, yet they keep rehashing the same old expired cliches.

People are running on empty. The laughter that the entertainers generate is the continuation of the same decadence that gave rise to them. Entertainers depend on publicity for their survival. All of them, from US President Donald Trump to our local crop, only have one selling point – and they know it. As long, of course, as there are people willing to buy into the demagoguery, mistaking bullying for political courage and reality TV for truth.

The solution was once put forward by the Greek premier himself: “We shall finish them, or they shall finish us off,” he said. He had no idea that his statement would one day backfire.