The banality of corruption

The publicity machine is tireless and greedy. It manufactures heroes at a such a rate that neither our memory nor judgment can keep track of them. Many stars have fallen from the celebrity heavens. The heroes each last no more than a week at most and are soon forgotten, their names reduced to a meaningless, empty sound. Two or three months after a scandal has broken out, even the best informed can barely remember the exact allegations. This time next year Regouzas, Christidis and Salagoudis will mean as little as Chrysanthakopoulos and Pachtas do now. New Democracy MP Petros Mandouvalos, who in the 2000 elections rushed to proclaim himself public order minister before the conservatives finally lost the race, resigned from ND yesterday following corruption allegations. He was one of the most familiar faces on the local talking-head circuit. Perhaps his rich TV presence schooled him into believing that the moral way to announce his departure was by standing outside Parliament and telling it to the TV cameras – instead of privately informing his conservative leader or the head of the Parliament. «I was the victim of local, in-party bickering,» Mandouvalos said to justify his decision to become an independent MP (thus pre-empting his sacking). Unlike other ND cadres who merely hinted at in-party intrigues, Mandouvalos clearly pointed his finger at his conservative colleagues. The government spokesman will now have to revise his line of defense. If some of the scandal allegations come from inside ND’s ranks, and if the media are fed with news coming straight from the conservative camp, then it makes no sense to blame growing public skepticism on the Socialist opposition and the biased media. It’s easy to smash the mirror when we don’t like the image we see in it. So easy, yet futile.