The temptation of Adam

If the biblical Eve was tempted to taste the unknown, then Adam – that is, Adam Regouzas – was tempted to admit the obvious; in fact, on various occasions. That’s what he was doing when he publicly doubted the authenticity and accuracy of last year’s budget; when he urged customs officials to cut down, rather than stop, taking kickbacks; and, more recently, when he confessed to having helped a former convict TV station owner by paying his channels to advertise a state-controlled firm. Either out of misguided cynicism or the usual cynicism of the powerful, Regouzas told the truth and nothing but the truth. A truth that we all know or assume yet is mostly covered by political expediency. The minister suggested that creative accounting is a goddess that is worshipped by all ruling parties; that the «all-out war» on corruption does allow for a considerable number of exceptions; and that political power largely depends on handouts both to friends (to keep them) and enemies (to appease them). Governments have used ads for state-owned companies to help particular media in the hope of gaining long-term benefits. The distribution of state ads is supposed to be subject to rules that safeguard objectivity. Except that objectivity appears to take countless forms, equal to the number of the politically active subjects who are familiar with the law and the background of the various big shots who invite them to their parties. Regouzas and prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis both knew Vassilis Christidis’s criminal record but nonetheless they chose to attend his celebration. Money has no smell, Roman Emperor Vespasian used to say. Publicity has no smell either. For as the song played at the gathering goes, «Don’t feel bad, don’t break your heart.»