Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ian Parker — The Greek Warrior

The personal details.

The New Yorker
The Greek Warrior
Ian Parker
ht Clonal


Ryan Harris said...

Good stuff, well written. Very long. The article never ends.

Tom Hickey said...

The article never ends.

It's only the first installment in a series that is in the process of unfolding. Don't count Yanis out of the game just yet.

lastgreek said...

I think Yani needz to change his look. For starters, he should lose the jeans and shirts for suits and ties. Shouldn't be a problem, his partner is rich. He's a member of parliament, not a bouncer at a Greek tavern, for souvlaki's sake ;)

Ryan Harris said...

Ouch. Harsh. His style and dress were probably disconcerting for politicians. The problem is that no one takes the politicians in their clown suits serious anymore. Maybe after the next election, if sweeping changes come to Europe, they will all begin to dress like Varoufakis.

Tom Hickey said...

YV adopted that style of dress purposely to distinguish himself from them. We did the same thing in the Sixties and Seventies as a means of signaling rejection of the cultural status quo.

lastgreek said...

I didn't mean to be harsh. He's on the world stage -- he should at least dress up for it.

OK, anecdote:

A few years ago, my wife, young daughter and I arrived at Athens International Airport. It was my wife's and young daughter's first time in Greece (btw, my wife is not of Greek heritage like me), and they're all excited. So we are at the arrival terminal now, and who should greet us after our long flight? A Greek airport official who looked like he had just woken up (btw, it was nearly noon local time). He's not wearing a uniform. He's dressed casually -- jeans, shirt untucked and unbuttoned a few too many buttons, he's sporting a 48-hour stubble ... and he's barking instructions in Greek and in broken English. (Why broken English? Obviously a qualified person was shunned for someone's relative instead.) Anyway, if I didn't know any better, I would have said that he was a SYRIZA MP ...LOL Not a lovely sight. OK, now I am being harsh. But please -- you have tourists coming to Greece and that is the first sight they will have? I don't know, I have never seen this at Canadian or American airports.

P.S. If I recall my Greek history, Greek warriors dressed and looked sharp. Spartans always washed and combed their hair before battle ;)

Tom Hickey said...

Socrates was arguably the greatest of the ancient Greeks. He can lay claim to being the founder or least a foundational co-founder of Western civilization. He is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of Greece, even though he wrote nothing himself.

When Socrates served in battle, he went in his customary attire, tunic and barefoot. He wore no armor and carried a short
sword. He fixed his gaze and walked straight ahead. The enemy avoided him even though he was not of great stature. Some reports have him being short and stocky, but nothing definitive is known of his build. That his size was imposing was never mentioned..

The extant sources agree that Socrates was profoundly ugly, resembling a satyr more than a man—and resembling not at all the statues that turned up later in ancient times and now grace Internet sites and the covers of books. He had wide-set, bulging eyes that darted sideways and enabled him, like a crab, to see not only what was straight ahead, but what was beside him as well; a flat, upturned nose with flaring nostrils; and large fleshy lips like an ass. Socrates let his hair grow long, Spartan-style (even while Athens and Sparta were at war), and went about barefoot and unwashed, carrying a stick and looking arrogant. He didn't change his clothes but efficiently wore in the daytime what he covered himself with at night. Something was peculiar about his gait as well, sometimes described as a swagger so intimidating that enemy soldiers kept their distance. He was impervious to the effects of alcohol and cold, but this made him an object of suspicion to his fellow soldiers on campaign.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

lastgreek said...

What are you saying, Tom, that my Greek airport official may perhaps have resembled Socrates? ;)

I recall reading that the average height of an ancient Greek was 5'8". I am 5'9" and my parents were born in Greece during the Second World War. When I visit Greece today I feel short, just like I feel when I visit New Hampshire :) It's amazing how the physical characteristics change positively -- especially height -- when children are born to mothers that have not experienced war and famine.

Tom Hickey said...

Ha ha.

No, I was facetiously suggesting that maybe YV as taking some cues from Socrates's performance. Diogenes was another iconoclast. So maybe YV is invoking an ancient Greek tradition of social criticism and protest.

I think that YV was sending a message that he regarded the people he was dealing as "suits." And events proved him correct. This is not over yet, and I think he has a good chance of emerging from this kerfuffle as winner.

lastgreek said...
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