OPINION

No laughing matter

The posters of candidates for the imminent municipal election scare me. They’re all smiling. Some broadly, some thoughtfully, still others hesitantly, in obvious discomfort. The women’s hair is carefully styled to look casual, their wrinkles airbrushed away; the men are in suits. (How can you trust someone who doesn’t concentrate worldliness and self-respect into a perfect tie-knot?) So, the candidates smile, promising to return to us the «beautiful city» we loved. They look out at us with concern, determination, wistfulness. But the accompanying slogans – trying to inspire a sense of community and the voter-citizens’ belief in their own potential – are in sharp contrast to the images of the candidates. The posters could have been pinned up decades ago – at a time when the «average» Greek was regarded as a mixture of unrepentant petit bourgeois, ambitious yuppy and respectable citizen. They are men armed with briefcases, trying to sell us life insurance, and women in the role of marriage guidance counselor; firm but friendly. But don’t the election candidates have anything new to say? Their advisers and image-makers don’t understand that what voters are waiting for is a motive, even a prefabricated blunder that shows some honesty or ambiguity instead of reassurance and appeasement. The posters inspire sadness as well as fear – they’re as fresh as frozen food and offer as little hope of any surprise…