May 22, 2011

The (Greek) World is Based on Chaos and Cheap Smokes

"Every morning will see me give myself 10 secs to realise where I am and why. There goes another 5 secs to accept my total incapability for any work. The realisation of my tragic financial situation is visceral, a fact that helps me gain time and devote it to my fish. There are times when I long to tell them everything about my life...But even if they weren't deaf, their memory retention ability doesn't last longer than 3 secs, as long as it takes them to swim around the bowl. Maybe that's why I can see my whole life reflected in their eyes, a continuous swirl, a happy nil. These are the first moments of the day, when inspiration comes to rescue me.
 The world is based on Chaos and I'm going to cross it without searching for logical order...This is my life, capiche?"
          ~Renos Haralambidis, Cheap Smokes(2000)

It's not hard to see how the pseudophilosophizing nihilistic types who construct poetic mock-noir films such as Cheap Smokes on a zero budget are in reality nothing of the sort. But this diarrhea of the spirit which takes place in front of an existential mirror is reflecting the plight of the modern Greek to a T: The world is based on chaos and I'm going to cross it without searching for logical order. I wonder though whether this isn't some trait encrypted into the Greek DNA. The classical adherence to Law as the ultimate order of any society of free men addresses probably people who were deeply chaotic to begin with. Otherwise why the marked insistence?

Elsewhere the anti-hero inwardly wonders in a voice-over: "I should be subsidised by the Ministry of Culture. Why should they pay someone to make a statue and not me to wander around town like a moving statue? Damn country! It doesn't appreciate artists!"

Another trait of the modern (and perhaps eternal) Greek: "Why them and not ME?" (Sarcastic) self-loathing is taking a very sideways patriotic course: The country would only be rescued if I were given half a chance!
In a place where you have to be "poniros" (i.e. cunning without being evil) to make things go by, there isn't too much shortage of chaos in the first place. This eternal self-loathing is best spent at a "cafeneion", a coffee shop, "a  place with a huge industry of lost time. It is the art of allowing time to pass by without leaving its mark". Which probably explains why the modern Greek revolutionary spirit is mollified into (intricate) words rather than swift action: Contrast with the Heroic Outlook.

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