Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Greek Problem

The economic discussion of this is all well and good. I was struck however with a picture of a young man wearing a gas mask with an upraised tall cylindrical stick in a charge at a riot policeman. He reminded me of one of those mythological man and horse combinations. It is clear that these people have an outrageous sense of betrayal. Who or what has betrayed them? It is said that there is a lot of tax evasion and entitlement disappointment in the country. Let us assume they are (to some extent) thieves. Bonnie and Clyde never gave the impression when they were robbing banks that they were mad at the townspeople for not putting enough money in the bank. Take an image of the Greek in the movies, Zorba the Greek. Asked by the Englishman if he has been married, he said, 'Yes, the whole catastrophe,' indicating that he was familiar with and accepted the financial loss of a family. What he didn't lose however was that he was the philosopher, the Delphic oracle, yes, and honored.

We have asked, 'Who are these people, the same genetic stock that created Athens and the beginnings of mathematical and scientific knowledge and democracy?' The answer may be that they ask themselves the same question and feel that they have betrayed themselves. Events remind them of that and they are enraged. Bismark saw this a century and half ago perhaps which is why he said the Balkans 'Weren't worth a Pomeranian(?).' In contrast it is a tribute to the Jews that they can be 'folded, spindled, and mutilated' and create a successful country.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gloria Kaminer argues that cultural analysis is needed in the Weiner case. I have been struck that this is needed. Some say that the women who got his messages felt 'special not sleazy.' They would add that they were only angry when they found other women were getting them. Peggy Noonan has called his actions 'pornographic. ' Megan McArdle objects to them in that he was 'cheating on his wife.' I suppose this does imply that there was some (perhaps wanted) intimacy between Weiner and the recipients of the messages. Someone commenting on the TNC blog said* 'Weiner's ability to be such an effective attack dog for Democratic causes was deeply tied to the same arrogance that led him to make such huge mistakes.' The 'attack' in his twitter messages strikes me as putting the recipient in a sleazy relationship with Weiner and like the 'first rule of picking up girls which is to put them down' (so that they can then move on to recovering their virtue in your eyes). In that sense it would bear an analogy to the political attack, e.g. 'You're a racist, homophobe' unless, of course, you agree with what I say. But, to go back to the beginning, were the messages pleasing or not?