June 28, 2015

Alexis Tsipras

Alexis Tsipras

Source: Shutterstock

The arrival of Mr. Putin on the stage was, of course, just what the soap opera needed to maintain interest, which was beginning to flag a little. A real, though extremely crafty, villain! A man whom everyone loves to hate! Someone who will unscrupulously turn the distress of others to advantage to himself while posing as a knight in shining armor, once Communist, now Orthodox.

The president of Germany also once had a walk-on part when he suggested that Germany did, after all, owe Greece war reparations, and happily calculated the amount to be just a little more than that which Greece had to find before the end of June if it were not to default. This idea was only fleeting; the sum was but a small fraction of that claimed by the principal star, Alexis Tsipras.

Viewing the whole matter as a soap opera, it was entirely predictable that some kind of patched-up temporary agreement would be found, an agreement that, in the words of Mr. Hewson of CMC Markets, is “€œprobably doomed to fail,”€ failure being essential to the very continuation of the soap opera.

Will improvident son-in-law Alexis be able to touch his rich but stern and disapproving mother-in-law, Angela, for a few more billion? Although she is very rich, she is under severe emotional pressure from her aging relatives, who want to preserve their inheritance and don”€™t want it wasted on a man whom they know will never reform and who is hereditarily incapable of financial responsibility (when has Greece ever been solvent?).

On the other hand, mother-in-law Angie doesn”€™t want to be held responsible for bringing the whole system on which her fortune largely depends crashing down about her ears. And what part does amiable and foxy (or is it wise?) old Uncle Juncker, with his roué face and his one fixed principle of having no fixed principles, play?  And then there is feeble Uncle François, who is emotionally on the side of nephew Alexis, whom he likes, but is afraid of sister-in-law Angela, who constantly reminds him of who wears the trousers in this family.

The very question of how it will all end is absurd. It will never end, because there is no end. Some of the characters will be written out of the script by the viewers/electorate (though they often have a tendency to return for a few episodes in the Brussels studio), but the show itself continues, if not by popular demand exactly, at least by popular inertia and faute de mieux.

When you come to think of it, then, life is not a dream, as Calderón de la Barca had it, but a soap opera; nor is the world a stage, as Shakespeare had it, but a television studio.


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