OPINION

Highlights on Hellas Channel

Political and social life unfolds on the endless news bulletin of Hellas Channel. Superficial, coquettish or aggressive, depending on the occasion, the presenters hand the microphone to equally superficial, coquettish or aggressive showmen. They hand the microphone to the viewers’ favorites to push up the ratings. Tonight we have three expressionless crooks being hauled in front of the prosecutor and a punchy politician. Oh, what a show. Sleepy viewers in their middle-class living rooms stretch and wake up. The crooks, in suits and ties, appear for just a few seconds. You can hardly catch their names. Then on comes the star, the pugnacious prefect of real Greeks, of northerners, homeowners, self-made men and self-styled daredevils, the man who represents the nation of frappe-swillers. News bulletins love him and he’s telegenic. Here’s a politician who doesn’t speak the stiff language of politicians, who knows the rules of show business, who puts on a show. He’s one of the people and he flatters them. He’s a tough guy who sings for the camera and swears allegiance to political cronies. He’s one of us, mocking sybaritic southerners, frappe-swillers and lightweights. He’s a leader who spurns the politically correct and pushes PR to its logical extreme of demagoguery. What a crowd pleaser. His showbiz lingo and tough-guy talk is popular. He uses the self-made tough-guy stereotype to appeal to the masses, freeing them from the moralizing constraints of the patricians to become a law unto themselves. He removes politics from the institutional sphere and relocates it to neighborhoods, cafes, streets, dance floors and festivals, the gathering place of the contemporary populace. The pugnacious star ratchets up Hellas Channel’s ratings, reflecting the defeat of everyone else.