I confess to be conflicted about the amorous proclivities of the Modern Greek people. This is because, growing up in the eighties, I was assailed by sundry compatriots sporting t-shirts proudly emblazoned with the slogan: “Greeks do it better.” What objective criteria were used in order to verify such a broad claim remains a mystery and for this reason, I accepted the claim as fact. In my university days, I was advised by the executive that “NUGAS is for lovers.” Considering what transpired at the various national conventions, again I had no reason to doubt that this was the case.
Similarly, every once in a while, the Greek press is wont to publish articles whose sole aim is to disprove the myth of the Latin lover, asserting variously instead, that Greeks do it better, or more often, or longer, or with more partners or in manners more lyrical and ebullient. Again, I accept these wholesale, because as a newly arrived Ellinara in an Oakleigh cakeshop once told me while attacking a kok with gusto, Greeks invented σεξ. Literally. Breaking it down etymologically, he explained that the English word sex is derived from a Greek compound comprising the words σε (you) and ἐξ (outside). According to him one has to come outside oneself in order to indulge in the said act, and my observation, that the opposite of sex is thus men με (me) and ἐν (inside), being in itself a form of tantric constipation was met with incomprehension and sundry dismissal. Similarly, when I advised him that the Greek term for sex is συνουσία, meaning the conjoining of essences, he dismissed this angrily, stating that he would never allow anyone to co-mingle with his essence, which was well defined over the course of the decades of his existence and uniquely perfected. As a sexual monophysite, then, he roams the barren fields of all that remains of Greek-Melbournian nightlife, sadly unable to fertilise, for, as he confides, Greek-Australian women are just not women enough for him, and being a Hellenic supremacist, no other type of woman is worthy of him.
To add to the confusion, despite being the world’s best lovers, this does not appear to translate to superior Hellenic fecundity. Ultra-right nationalists, religious folk and purveyors of the deeply held conviction that humanity is descended (or is rather in a process of decay) from an original Greek master-race that covered the globe (except for the Amazon basin, the Australian desert and sub-saharan Africa), are most concerned that Greeks do not produce enough children and that as a result, within a projected period of time, the Greek state will be populated by peoples of inferior blood lines and the pure Hellenic blood line will be sullied forever. According to them, there is therefore much in the way of copulative activity, but not much to show for it. This could easily be a metaphor for the manner in which the Greek economy or the Greek public service works.
The august Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, has also appeared to explode the myth of Greek amorousness. This is gravely disquieting, especially considering that during a time of crisis, the leader of the home of democracy and the world’s best, longest and most frequent lovers should be “talking up” Greece’s capabilities, rather than casting further doubt upon them. However, instead of concerning himself with the prickly demographic fears of the far-right, for Tsipras, it is the act of copulation in Greece itself, which is under threat. And as usual, we have the Troika to blame for the fact that quite simply, young Greeks, just simply, cannot be ….ed.
In his recent address to the Youth Conference of his own Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras thus stated pertinently: “Children who reach the age of thirty and when they wake up in the morning, they are in their children’s bedroom, who cannot enjoy sex, who cannot feel autonomous . . . we are determined to change this with a plan and with substantial interventions. In the next few years, we have designed and will implement a major program for utilising state-owned buildings to accommodate young people.” In other words, Alexis blames the crisis (and not tradition) for the phenomenon of Greeks living with their parents beyond the age of thirty, and thus not being able to find a private place in which, as the Greeks say figuratively, they can “take their eyes out.”
Commentators rejoice in the consistency of this new SYRIZA policy, coming as it does in the midst of the greatest humanitarian and economic crisis to flagellate Greece since the Second World War, proving, that SYRIZA is committed to providing the populace with its basic needs, quite apart from food, safety and financial security. Indeed, Tsipras’ exciting new policy directive can be considered revolutionary, given that traditionally, it is the government that is widely held to ‘screw’ the people. Now, in what could thrillingly be described as state-sponsored anarchism, the government is providing the means for the people to ‘screw each other’.
Rather than being an inept form of the worst type of populism, signifying that Greek politics has learned nothing from its travails over the past few years, Tsipras’ bold new move must be interpreted as a calculated strike against the coerciveness of the modern state. George Orwell in 1984 pertinently observed that: “unregulated, naturalistic, animalistic, erotic, hedonistic, pleasure-for-pleasure’s-sake sex [is] a politically rebellious act and, particularly, a political act of defiance against states, state power, and state authority.” Orwell, and Tsipras, by providing Greeks with the means in which to have sex, is in effect reinforcing the fact that sex is an effective response to a concentrated, and therefore dangerous, state power and thus ensuring that sexually rancid fascism will never again blight Greece.
In like fashion, Tsipras conceivably desires the youth of SYRIZAn Greece to be satiated and satisfied because this forms an effective resistance against the cult of false excitement that seems to plague the western world. At all times, we are supposed to gush happily about the latest programs on our screens, or assume paroxysms of orgasmic delight at the progress of our workplace, traverse the streets in our active-wear and measure every pace we take according to the dictates of an insidious fitbit. Tsipras rails against the coercive misuse of such energy, using as Orwell does in 1984, sex, as the key tool to emancipation from the cult of the ersatz social orgasm and the repression that it masks: “When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother . . . and all the rest of their bloody rot?” In youth sex, therefore, lies freedom.
Greek Olympian Voula Patoulidou was perhaps more prescient than she could have ever known when she muttered those immortal words: «Για την Ελλάδα βρε γαμώτο,» which literally translates as “I copulate with this, for Greece.” Let us go forward therefore, with this injunction indelibly engraved upon our generative parts, happy in the knowledge that a brave new generation of Tsiprasjugend is being created, one that, suitably discharged of all frustration, will, in a languorous and pleasurable way, lubricate the Greek economy and facilitate Greece assuming all the requisite positions that will see her able to withstand the bump and grind of Weltpolitik, well into the future, or at least, until such time as the Troika see fit to levy a tax on them as well.