High life

Once upon a time I was very proud to be Greek. But no more

28 February 2015

9:00 AM

28 February 2015

9:00 AM

Gstaad

A naked, very good-looking young man skied down the mountain evoking shrieks of laughter and admiration from the hundred or so skiers lining the slopes. He turned out to be J.T., my son, and it was an act of protest against the mind-numbing conversation about titles among some at the Eagle club. A friend had skied ahead and was waiting for him at the bottom with a blanket. Needless to say, it became the subject du jour, and someone even filmed young women cheering the streaking skier as he shussed his way down at record speed.

His naked run to glory succeeded in getting the subject changed up at the club. Talk about titles is a no-no, and should be left to NOCDs (not our class, dear). J.T.’s action spoke loud and clear — unlike the ghastly Stephen Fry, who uses foul language in place of talent or wit. Once upon a time Fry was considered funny. No longer. He talks only about himself and his same-sex partner — or wife or whatever — and appends the F-word to everything. He should be gently put out to pasture.


Otherwise everything’s hunky-dory up in the Alps. I saw lots of a wonderful man Wafic Saïd and his wife Rosemary, and we laughed about how things have changed. When he was very young he applied for a loan from his London banker and when asked what collateral he had, he said his collateral was his word. He got the loan. That’s how it was back in my day too. (I’m older than Wafic.) But if I were a banker today, I wouldn’t take that line.

Last week my daughter tapped on someone’s car window and asked if they would move forward as they had blocked the whole street. Some ghastly Brit emerged and screamed not to fucking touch my car, you bitch. Alas I was somewhere else — you’re never there when I need you, daddy — but it could have been interesting. A 78-year-old teaching a horrible yob nouveau millionaire a lesson, or, conversely, being given one. Anyway, it would have been fun to send a newly rich pig to the dressing station for bullying my little girl, or take my lumps and the de rigueur visit to the dentist. I guess we won’t know until next time. If there is one — which I’m sure there will be, as manners are becoming extinct among the new rich. Oh, for the days when the worst offence was asking the wife of a foreign diplomat if she ‘Likey Soupy?’ as the great Sir Denis Thatcher once did. Now it’s straight to the F-word and threats of physical violence from the heavy next to the newly rich pig. (And I apologise to our porcine friends, who would be appalled by the comparison if they could read.)

But as I’ve said time and again, such are the joys of living in resorts visited by such people. Many of us remember the time when care, courtesy and respect were part of everyday life. Now the culture is one motivated by spite, envy, greed and gloating, not to mention bragging and showing off muscle (mostly of others you pay to come to your rescue). Not that the state does not interfere. The omnipotent state has replaced the ethos of the landed aristocracy and that of the Church with one that ensures that no one’s self-esteem ever takes a dive. It has codified behaviour and how we speak and think, and we have to think in terms of the lowest common denominator. Back in the cities everyone’s into care and therapy, but up here in the Alps they’re into hedge funds and other such gadgets.

Mind you, I’ve been taking a few lumps about Greece, a country my family has served loyally for generations, but one I’ve given up on until a political party like Golden Dawn is elected. The trouble with Greeks is that they’re so predictable. The clown that had his picture all over the newspapers and on television for ten days, Yanis Varoufakis, was all show no substance. As is Tsipras, Fidel without the beard. Wearing an untucked shirt and one’s collar up might impress the cheap women in Syntagma Square, but it does not secure relief from the hated bailout conditions. Sure, the French and Germans and the Brits smiled politely when the Greek show-off arrived dressed like Marlon Brando in The Wild One (instead of telling him that the dignity of their office required him to dress appropriately). But where did his sartorial defiance get him? NOWHERE. All he got was permission to change the shape of Greece’s obligations, not reduce them. Varoufakis is a third-rate academic posing as Mussolini, and I apologise to il Duce’s memory. The Greek government had not a leg to stand on, had its day in the sun showing off like peacocks, then bowed to the German wishes as the great economist Taki predicted three weeks ago it would. So what else is new?

Election promises in general, and in Greece’s case in particular, are like swearing eternal love to a woman you met in a low-life nightclub after you’ve had much too much firewater. A run on Greek banks was gathering pace and capital controls were needed unless Syriza gave in, and they caved quicker than the Lebanese army does whenever it is called on to fight. Once upon a time I was very proud to be Greek. That was long ago.

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Show comments
  • Robert Pefanis

    Dear Taki, as a fellow Greek, I am disappointed by the fact that you are no longer proud of your heritage. The current government will stick around for a few years, while our heritage will follow us for ever…

  • Fritz123

    They had an anarchist in Island and he was no so bad. Dresscode and Brando were diskussed and I didnt dislike his shaking of the cocktail. There are some tensions in that game and to shake it may have put things into movement to have less friction. He is a communist and talks about reparations and this is very good for two reasons.

    (1) Funky Germany: They gave us a present. The claims are real. On the other hand the European integration is lex specialis. This is the peace-treaty that should make Germans happy.

    (2) A retired prof from Mannheim said that the communists after WWII would have been the only politicians who could have done what the UK did in Cyprus. To change Greece completely from that old Turkish clientele system (see your golden boys as the bottom of such a clientele) plus “robbers from the mountains” necessary for the war against the Turks and the powerplayers since 1830. Rich people have never payed taxes. The UK didnt allow the Greecs in Cyprus to steal/touch any money of the state for 80 years. Germany should support them .

    • ClausewitzTheMunificent

      Well, I think the only way Greece and Italy would have benefited from Communism is if Communists took over, they failed very quickly and the whole ideology was scrapped rather than hanging around poisoning things for 60 years. But this is an unrealistic scenario because the Reds would have imposed a Red Terror, leading to Counter-Terror and so on, and this would actually probably have done more damage. It’a bit of a mixed bag, but don’t forget that the Communists were no less corrupt than the pre-war ruling classes. I think that if Greece is free(er) to act, it will adjust itself to a model that works better – its just a statistical process and a matter of time. It is freezing it in the EU which is wasting time, and extending the period of misery. On reparations, well the Germans should pay the Greeks back, but then so should the British for their coup in 1916 which was the spark setting off 100 years of internal conflict, and the Turks for their brutal 400 year occupation, in comparison to which the German invasion of ’41 looks benign! And if the Turks object about it because they left in 1830, they can always pay for ’74. Why is Germany singled out?

    • BoiledCabbage

      You are, on this point, Fritz, right in the blame. They are ready for you with the beach towels and the lager bier.

      • Fritz123

        Isnt it the country of wine and ruins? We had no bear on our boat.

    • Fritz123

      Well, the communists after WWII, it was a though experiment of that prof sotosay, those people as some sort of deus ex machina, and I did not want to put the present gouvernement into the same basket as those who did fight that terrible civil war with the support of other powers.

  • MacGuffin

    ”He talks only about himself and his same-sex partner — or wife or whatever…”

    The word you are looking for is ‘husband’. As in, ‘his husband’.

    • Malus Pudor

      Are the repulsively-smug Fry and his catamite, to be both addressed as husbands?

      I once saw the freak lecturing an African bureaucrat on the joys of all the variations for sodomy and I promptly threw up…

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Fry. The idiots idea of a genius. Or is that Brand?

        • Malus Pudor

          Both !

      • MacGuffin

        Fry is indeed remarkably smug but that is beside the point.

        Two married gay men would be described as each other’s husbands, yes. And two married gay women would be described as each other’s wives.

        It’s the law – and the way we live – now. Get over it.

        • Malus Pudor

          Thanks for that deep insight into the etiquette of alternative sex… next thing you know, you lot will be demanding the sanitisation of paedophiles…

          Oops… it’s all underway already, with the wretched Harman etc and their endorsement of the PIE etc…

          • Sanitisation of that group already well under way with multiple cases silenced and unmentioned in media

          • Malus Pudor

            Sorry, I forgot the little matter of 1500 abused children in Rotherham… all covered up by Liblabcon… but of course, ethnic minorities were involved… where are you Harperson etc… probably dining with Lady Magnesia Freelove and the Longfords !

          • MacGuffin

            ”But…but…but…the paedophiles!!!”

            How hilariously predictable. You really are woefully inadequate in the argumentation department.

          • Malus Pudor

            And your English, or lack of it is quite execrable … argumentation…or were you referring to the augmentation of your sphincters in attempting to accommodate foreign objects?

          • MacGuffin

            argumentation
            ˌɑːɡjʊmɛnˈteɪʃ(ə)n/
            noun
            noun: argumentation; plural noun: argumentations
            the action or process of reasoning systematically in support of an idea, action, or theory.

            You are an idiot.

          • Malus Pudor

            And you are a pedantic, quibbling little mincer with a very sore bottom and a severely challenged intellect ….

          • Malus Pudor

            Please let me know which dictionary described this awful word.

          • Malus Pudor

            So, paedophilia should be discounted in assessing all your homosexual inclinations and utterly revolting practices… have you had a good fisting lately ?

          • Kennie

            Then try this on Google: Labour25

          • Doggie Roussel

            Brilliant… that puts the sodomites in perspective !

        • Ivan Ewan

          “Get over it.”

          Translation: “We are the masters now!”

          See also: “Get used to it.”

          • MacGuffin

            Indeed. The fight over marriage equality is, in the civilised, developed world, largely over. Your side lost. Try to at least conduct yourselves with some dignity.

          • Ivan Ewan

            Actually it was the side which showed the least dignity that is now claiming victory. It was the side that more or less shouted from the rooftops that they identify themselves by who or what they like to have sëx with, and screamed and bawled at those “fascists” who didn’t agree.

            You know, those “fascists” who think that homosexuality is an abberation, and that celebrating it as a new normality is deeply wrong. “Fascists” who don’t agree that the word “marriage” is up for redefinition just because the political Blob got inside the Westminster Bubble.

            Anyway, now you’ve got the marriage thing out of the way, you can probably go back to campaigning for a much lower age of consent so that you can go for 12-year-old boys. You know, like your side was trying to accomplish in the 1970s.

            And we all know how dignified you’ll be about it.

          • Doggie Roussel

            Don’t you find it difficult to conduct yourself with dignity when you’re plugged into someone’s fundament ?

        • Doggie Roussel

          Smug Git !

          Do you recommend Vaseline or KY Jelly ?

          • Kennie

            Dignity? Was a penis ever designed to be dipped into a septic tank?

  • davidofkent

    The whole world knows that Greece is between a rock and a hard place. The smug and supercilious Greek Finance Minister is trying out his Game Theories. It won’t be long before he finds out that a country’s finances are not a game. It’s often so with teachers who think that because they teach children who know little then they themselves must be the fount of all knowledge. Unfortunately for them, life eventually teaches them otherwise.

    • Fritz123

      But he also could not make it worse. He could only make it better.

      • Tom M

        I often draw similarities between Greece now and France in 1789. Can I imagine Robespierre musing “mabe she was right we should eat cake” or did he just get on with the revolution?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          France in 1789 was more advance than Greec is today.
          Marie Antoinette spoke Italian. She referred to gatto ( a cat) not gateau ( a cake).

      • global city

        That’s not true. He could agree to remain in the euro…making a resolution impossible. The Left have a good track record in perpetuating/sustaining utter horrors on the people on the back of ideology. It all depends on what ideologies the academic feels is the most important.

  • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

    Greece suffers, like Russia, from centries of the Orthodox Church. For some reason their cultures institutionalise dishonesty and teach people not to trust anyone, even family.

    • Fritz123

      And both suffer from some sort of “Asian despoty” with an “administration” of big countries as in old Rome. Family and servants etc. Inherited in Greece from the Turks and perfected by some cleptocraty, given to the robbers for their brave fighting against the occupiers after 1830. 1806 etc, paysants became free and education was most important. What rich people did in their villages, see Tolstoy and similar people in Prussia.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        I see you struggle with English, but for goodness sake this makes no sense. The Turks did not make the Greeks dishonest. Greece is a culture founded on distrust.

        • Fritz123

          Thanks, but how could they be such a great “commerce-nation” since the old days? They may have started with piracy but you need some honesty for business or nobody will do with you any business again.

        • ClausewitzTheMunificent

          Yes, but who kept the Greeks back with their retrograde culture for centuries? The Ottomans had a VERY brief period of economic and cultural growth, followed by mostly stagnation! At least if the Greeks had been left to their business, they could only blame themselves for being pirates and bandits!

    • The Orthodox Church has nothing to do with the woes of Greece pasok do with decades of mismanagement and corruption…no need to shoehorn in bigotry

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Rubbish .It has everything to do with it. Why do we use the word Byzantine to describe corrupt, untrussted and complex systems?
        Look at Ethiopia, or Armenia ,or Romania….wherever the Orthodox faith holds sway …lies abound.

        • TNT

          Rubbish.

          “Byzantine: (of a system or situation) excessively complicated, and typically involving a great deal of administrative detail.

          Not at all the loaded new meaning you have given to it.

        • Interesting when you consider the Byzantine empires success and more than 1000 year existence..recognised around the globe as the peak of civilisation and they were religious Christian and even orthodox…fancy that eh…those places you mention were back waters of the empire

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Machiavellian ,underhand, doubledealing, back-stabbing, two-faced, cheating, fly by nights………please give some evidence for the Greeks bare faced honesty and trustworthiness/

    • TNT

      What an utterly stupid post. My travels to Greece are now in the double digits, and I have never encountered anything that you describe in your post. And you need to learn to spell ‘Yvonne’.

      Taki and his very average-looking son are talentless and ridiculous, I will concede that.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Yvon is the male spelling , I am a man.
        You need to read Michael Lewis’s book, Boomerang, about Greece before the creidt crunch.
        The whole nation was set up as a massive pinata and everyone got a hit. Doctors looted drugs and even loo roll from hospitals. Train drivers got £1,000 a week even though rail income was only 100 million Euros per year and expenses were 800 million. Folk in “arduous” jobs retired at 55 or sooner. Arduous included hairdressing,pet shop owner, radio DJ and trumpet playing.
        Anyone working for the Government was open to bribery. Anyone not was evading taxes, with nobody ever punished.
        The Governement lied about its debt to get into the Euro. Undersetimating the debt by 75%.
        Greece has no Land registry so money launering is done by buying property. Greece merely mimicked more civilised states , paid lip service to it and lied.
        Greeks are all front. Outwardly friendly, but try and get one to say a kind word about another, even family, and it will not happen.
        Success is seen as suspicious due to the inherent corruption. An epidemic of cheating and lying and stealing. Hell on earth with sunshime and cheap lager.

        • TNT

          The anecdotes from Lewis’s glib and superficial effort could be applied quite literally to any country (not least THIS one). Yes, the Greek government did lie about its debt – no argument there. And there is a Land Registry being established only now (and it could take as long as 2020 to be ready), but money laundering can be accomplished through any number of ventures.

          As for your paragraph beginning ‘Greeks are all front’ – that just smacks of bad personal experience made universal axiom. You need to deal with your bitterness more constructively.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            So they did lie….and they didn’t have a Land registry….but they are in fact fine .No they are a nation of liars.

      • BoiledCabbage

        The Yvon is a river in France.

  • BBC/DT/Liblabcon want to brush the rape of 2000 white children by jihadist Pakistanis. under the carpet. Not very good for their multi-cultural image amongst their postal fraud voting base. Labour and liblabcon value ethnic pedophile votes more than the life of British children.

    • BoiledCabbage

      Enjoy your halal lamb this Easter, StJohn.

  • Must read great Taki article , on Europe’s terrible ethnic religious future http://takimag.com/article/hate_on_the_march_taki/print#axzz3DFShRVko

    • Fritz123

      “the murder of a white British soldier in London” in war?

  • Malcolm Stevas

    “Greece, a country…. I’ve given up on until a political party like Golden Dawn is elected”
    Is Taki joking? Probably not: he has form here. Syriza might be Marxist wackos bent on economic suicide, but Golden Dawn are to Greece what the SA were to Germany.
    It’s a long time since I subscribed to the Speccie but even then I was puzzled by Taki’s column: why were the self-indulgent scribblings of some Greek playboy about his louche lifestyle considered worthy of publication? I’m still puzzled.

    • global city

      although leftists have repeatedly imposed infinitely more woe than nearly all ‘rightist’ regimes people still do not judge them the same….why is this?

  • George V

    I would have read the article …
    if only was signed …
    Taki ?

  • McQueue

    Sorry, but I think this is a weak and rather pointless article – to restrict scope to the past few weeks and focus on fashion rather than the “dance” being progressed as if anything would ever have been expected in this time frame and to draw the conclusions as if the action has finished is really rather foolish – stand back a bit – the question is, arguably, whether Greece leaves immediately or if Greece leaves shortly.

    Most of the players active in the situation, maybe all parties full stop, prefer to delay. This is most probably based on looking at the UK Election and other considerations for timing, towards trying to prevent their absurd political constructs of EMU and the EU imploding and collapsing. With the Spanish election coming up in December, the short term window is very narrow – June 2015 – unsurprisingly, we have a four month extension being arranged.

  • Michael Clarke

    Whose Mussonlini?

    • Kennie

      Anybody’s Mussonlini, it’s great covered in Taki sauce.

  • ClausewitzTheMunificent

    Don’t give up on Greece, Taki. Governments come and go, people come and go, but leadership does occasionally rise its head 🙂

    • Kennie

      Yes, but, is Taki actually living in Greece and paying taxes there, just to help out a bit?

  • Lydia Robinson

    Golden Dawn? Those Nazi thugs? Are you kidding?

    “Apologise to Il Duce’s memory.” He and his mistress were hung from lamp posts, if I recall.

  • BoiledCabbage

    I am in Athens. Life seems completely normal. Is something about to happen or is it all over? I suppose things only kick off these days when the ATMs are switched off.

  • Kennie

    Quite a “taki” article really.

  • John McEvoy

    All your average Greek wants is €60k per annum, an early pension and for actually showing up for ‘work’ to be optional. And for the Germans to pick up the tab.

  • SD

    You Greek???? You are a joke . Your sick,” duce” bag got hes answer from real GREEKS a few years back…YOU are nothing just a lie to you self. @ @k @.

  • SD

    This nonsense is just to through mud at mr VAROUFAKIS. If you like duce soo much, and hate VAROUFAKIS you are a NEO NAZI .Golden Down was never elected in Greece, it is SYRIZA and you know it . You are just a cheep propagandists .. .

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