Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ah, Those Wonderful Soundbites of Alexis Tsipras!

"Greece is on the cusp of a historic change. SYRIZA is no longer just a hope for Greece and the Greek people. It is also an expectation of a change of course for the whole of Europe. Because Europe will not come out of the crisis without a policy change, and the victory of SYRIZA in the 25th of January elections will strengthen the forces of change. Because the dead end in Greece is the dead end of today's Europe".

Ever since I started writing about Alexis Tsipras 2-1/2 years ago, I have emphasized the man's exceptional ability to form wonderful soundbites. I have also remarked on several occasions that, in a depression, soundbites have a much greater impact than hard facts.

This article in the HuffingtonPost underlines my above point. The article is attributed to Alexis Tsipras but, from the sound of it, I think some passages come from someone else's brain. That doesn't matter. What matters is that these wonderful soundbites are attributed to Alexis Tsipras, the source of hope; to some perhaps the Messiah.

I am always puzzled why so many politicians do not have the ability to speak to people in a way that the people feel spoken to. In Greece, I cannot think of anyone other than Alexis Tsipras who has this ability.

Perhaps Mr. Samaras should take a look at FDR's first inaugural speech which was also given in the midst of a depression. It consisted of three parts. Parts two and three focused on new social security measures and on new investments. Part one focused on the spirits of people living in depression. It included the famous quote "We have nothing to fear but fear itself!"

And where are the wonderful soundbites of the other Greek politicians who are now campaigning for the election?


  1. Yes, a wonderful script, with more than a touch of Messiah. "Unite! all you down trodden people of Europe, and I shall save you". It goes to prove that people should do what they do best, keep talking Greece.
    However, the other down trodden people may not trust the Greeks to save them once they are off the hook. Who can blame them?

  2. Mr. Kastner, the congratulations are probably due to prof. Varoufakis or whoever is writing Tsipras' speeches these days. If think Tsipras capable of writing anything remotely good, it means you really don't know the man, but you are excused because you haven't heard Tsipras speaking in greek.

    Samaras' speeches are written by Chrysanthos Lazaridis, a dry character that used to be columnist in defence magazines (that's how dry). You want an article on the latest missile system? He is your man! Match Varoufakis or other leftist charismatic speechwriters? Impossible. But he is Samaras' close friend, so he got the job...

    The greek politicians that were able to give good speeches without written text, are long gone... Not necessarily a bad thing, since Andreas Papandreou was speaking without text, but it shows the cultural level and lack of quick thinking of modern day politicians. But, you have to work with what time brings...

    1. What impresses me by Tsipras' handling of himself is that I always see him in a very subdued fashion, no out-of-control emotions. Always very relaxed and seemingly of supreme self-confidence.

      Obviously, the man hasn't had to deal with stress yet and we'll see how he will handle himself under stress and duress. But if he stays that cool if and when he faces the EU elites across the negotiating table, then the EU elites will be in for a lesson or two.

    2. Ah, Mr. Kastner, you 've never seen a student occupation in an austrian university or school, have you? Tsipras is the generation that grew in PASOK's golden years of "no rules". Tsipras made his bones in occupations, protests and doing everything he liked without conseguences. That's why he is always relaxed. In greek it's called "thrassos" (ask your wife for an accurate translation, i don't know a word in english for it).

    3. @kleingut January 8, 2015 at 9:45 AM

      Unfortunately I do not understand a single Greek word (except alpha and omega learned in maths.). But whenever I see Tsipras speaking in TV I get the firm conviction that he has undergone a good bunch of so called "professional communication training".

    4. Mr. Trickler,

      He has, as well as english language lessons (his english, despite his generation being well versed in english, was pittyful, since in his school years he was more interested in occupations than in learning). He has also copied hand gestures from Andreas Papandreou while speaking (hand kept open in vertical and going up and down. It comunicates strength, conviction of words and emphasis).

    5. Mr. Trickler,

      In case you are interested, here is a compilation of Theodorakis' political songs in their original execution (the one used by Tsipras is an enhanced version (and with no lyrics) made by Theodorakis later) and with german subtitles.

  3. It is very well written but made for a plotician.....

    The current modern political theatre is a make up of politicians. Politicians or politics are the ones who conspire/represent for the city state or state or citizens of. They are politicians. They are not leaders. FDR, CHURCHILL, LEONIDAS OF SPARTA, PERICLES / ALKIVIADIS OF ATHENS were leaders. Merkel, Tsipras, Obama (puppet but still a politician) are politicans. Maintaining their position in all predicaments.

    A modern politician needs writers. They need to be careful of what they say so they say things without saying anything. Breaking the above down you can see this.

    "Greece is on the cusp of a historic change..... It is always changing as all countries.....

    SYRIZA is no longer just a hope for Greece and the Greek people..... Every party coming in around the globe there is a hope and expectation of improvement......

    It is also an expectation of a change of course for the whole of Europe.....

    Continuation of the previous.........

    Because Europe will not come out of the crisis without a policy change, and the victory of SYRIZA in the 25th of January elections will strengthen the forces of change.....

    Strengthen.... ok how do you measure this strengthning......strengthening is improvement but to what degree and without merit. On a scale from 0-10 if you are at 0 both 0,10 and 10 are strengthening.

    Because the dead end in Greece is the dead end of today's Europe".....

    every country's dead end is a dead for europe...... Greece is no different for the rest.....

    All together the above sounds very eloquient... broken down it saying things without saying something.... there is no promise there is no assurance.... just air. The only promises you hear today, are the threats of demise as a result of one's actions voting for the opponent's party.

    And it is examples of the above that everything is prefabricated.


  4. @ Anonymous January 7, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    Those texts all are comparable to sales documentation and press release promoting toothpaste: It must influence the reader to buy the right things ;)
    Who ever believes a single word of it - that's his own problem...

    1. Mr. Trickler,

      Tsipras may sound good to young voters, who, having lack of experience, believe pretty much everything. Greece is a country where left rhetoric is particular strong and fascinating when you are young. I was also a leftist in my youth, so many lovely soundbites as Mr. Kastner says. But as you grow older, you learn to see through the rhetoric and well, there aren't many examples of leftist countries with high standards of living.

      Either we like it or not, the world system is based on capitalism and natural selection says that you either adapt to your enviroment, or you will have hard times. To the credit of greek die-hard leftists, many are ready to live poorer to defend their ideas.

      However, you can't be at the same time in a club of capitalists, while you advocate the coming of Che Guevarra. And here lies the problem between the soundbites and reality.

      Older Greeks, especially those who have seen live Andreas Papandreou and pretty much bulletproot to any rhetoric, except for a chunk of old PASOK voters who are still emotionally attached to Andreas Papandreou. Andreas Papandreou had this charisma when speaking (and without text), to the point that when he faced heart problems, he was receiving letters from ordinary Greeks informing him that they were potential heart donors.