Lost in the Global Minotaur’s media maze

greek tragedy

Being an academic can be such a lonely job. Everyone is specialising in something so obscure, no one else around them knows anything about it (or cares about it enough) to talk to. The students mostly are interested in getting through it and finding a job afterwards (the good ones) or are great at partying (the bad ones). One outlet is social media, but then again, most of the time no-one even notices the ‘clever things’ that are said.

Imagine if suddenly you became famous! Imagine if every tweet got 5000 retweets and favs. If every blog post attracted dozens of comments, got circulated thousands of times and became the talk of the media worldwide.

Imagine if the phone kept ringing with requests to speak to the Washington Post, the London Times, the Economist. Imagine that every time you came out the door, you were surrounded by photo-journalists, and in every public appearance you were mobbed by adoring crowds. Just imagine!

Oh, fame can be such a burden… say the famous. Same as money, a burden, for the very wealthy.

Once you find yourself in this situation, you might get carried away a bit. The skill of speaking with confidence when teaching (even when not completely in command of the topic) can come in handy in interviews. Yet, the fame, the need to appear confident, the need to seem that you know what you are doing can feed a monster.

The monster is arrogance, the danger is mistakes, the result is hybris.

Professor Varoufakis has achieved what we do not dare dream of as academics. He has achieved extraordinary fame. Yet, upon achieving it he became lost. The author of the Global Minotaur is now walking his own maze. Who has Varoufakis become and what does he seek to achieve? Is he still an academic? Has be become a politician? If he is a politician, what is he trying to accomplish? Or is he just fond of seeing himself on TV and on covers of magazines? If it is the latter, how horrible will it be when the fame passes and the world moves on.

Is it better to have been famous and forgotten, or to never have been famous at all?




16 thoughts on “Lost in the Global Minotaur’s media maze

  1. mikenetherlands says:

    Never have been famous at all. Especially if nobody knows what your point is you want to make. Women are kissing him, Journalist from all the world want an interview, but nobody read one of his books, nobody ever has read his moderate proposal, the only thing they wrote was his Wikipedia-artikel. written by an illiterate who can not write a word without an computer. (Yes, even the press, because in the beginning nobody ever heard about professor Varoufakis.)

    Yanis is not famous for his scientific work. And that must be frustrating. 7 jul 2015 I got the question on the talk page of his artikel. What for the hell does he want to make clear? It costed me two days to explain it and to make clear what I think he is trying to say. And it costed me a morning to rewrite the passage. And I think still nobody has a cloe what he wants to make clear….


  2. Cattle economics.

    Europa was a Phoenician princess who was seduced and abducted by Zeus in the form of a white bull, and had three sons of him. The oldest one was Minos, the Cretan king who held the ferocious half-man-half-bull Minotaur in captivity.

    Maybe Yanis is mistaking her (Europe) for an ordinary cow that he can take to the slaughterhouse if she doesn’t like being milked.


  3. I made it into a comment on his second to last article “celebrating his celebrity” from a Greek expat perspective.

    although , maybe only made it since I responded to what appears to be the “allowed anti-Yanis-voice”. Thus my comment is used to show he does not censor.

    Never made it before.


  4. @iGlivanos,

    You have the knack of describing events & circumstances in a very clear, unambiguous and down-to-earth way. And the question is not complicated either. I agree with you. Yanis needs to reflect long and hard about the current path that is on.

    It now seems to me that Yanis is putting himself through a sort of public psychiatry session. I do not think that he feels sorry for himself and I do not feel sorry for him either. But after one’s ideals are shattered, it does take time to overcome the sadness and bitterness before one is ready to move on. I am looking forward to seeing the “old” Yanis back.


      • mikenetherlands says:

        Yanis must make a choice. Am I the professor who became by accident famous or am I the person who became famous and the one who is fighting oligarchs, corruption, tax evasion, grafikom*lakia, fakelaki, rousfeti, etc? If he want to be an professor, be a professor. Start writing writing obscure academic texts, be with your (totally uninterested) students.

        Or stop with your Lagarde and Schäuble complex (I think if he is drinking his glass he sees in the head of Schäuble or Lagarde in the the soil) and focus on your country, the poverty in Greece and the left wing platform what is to be split up. (see above) Maybe not as sexy as the New York times, but I think a much better idea. And more useful for Greece I think because fame is nothing. Today’s new friends are your’s tomorrow enemies.

        I advised Yanis to go for a wile to a remote island with a few good books and no internet and I still think it is a good idea for at least for a week. To be a professor or not, that is the question. Or should it be.


  5. mikenetherlands says:

    Yanis is in many ways right. Major structural reforms in Greece are necessary. Debt relief is also necessary in my opinion. Indeed, Greece don’t deserve debt relief. Would debt relief for Greece be a good idea? I think so after many reforms. Corruption and tax evasion must first be tackled. And many thinks more.

    I am looking forward to seeing the “old” Yanis back too.
    I think that what happened to him would had confused anybody. He must focus on Greece and the Greek population, not on Europe. There is so much work to do in Greece. Leave Europe to us.

    In my opinion Yanis didn’t had the good advisors. American economists. They don’t know us, Northern Europeans. They have the idea the continent Europe is something like a small American. And that is a big, big mistake.

    We are different. Complet different. We are neither Americans nor Australians. We have too much history and a good memory. And it is a very violent history. I grew up in the ruins of war. And that is not long ago. If you understand something of our history you will understand that the Troika never, never will arrive in Paris. Never! And that France never, never will allow Germany to force Greece out of the Eurozone. No way!

    I am glad iGlinavos asked to us, who you are, what are your thoughts. Tel me who you are. We have different opinions, but also many things in common. In the first place our mentality. And our mentally is so different.


    • What makes you so sure that France never will allow a Grexit? That Germany forces Greece out is simply rhetoric. Germany has suggested is and offered help.
      It is the rapid decline of Greece that will ultimately will force it out of the Euro. Sooner or later.


      • mikenetherlands says:

        Because France is afraid they will be the next. Don’t forget, France wanted in 2002 Italy in the eurozone because they were afraid to be the weakest country. And Italy wanted Greece in the euro. The French are afraid France is the next who have the Troika in their kitchen. And, the euro is a political project, don’t forget that. Merkel never will allowed a grexit, also for political reason. It is not so much money, it is a small economy and don’t forget we will never get all the money back. In the Drachme or in the euro, there will not a (big) difference. So, why let them out? Better and maybe cheaper to pay. And better for the image of the euro.


      • As far as France is concerned, I agree with your analysis, but you become illogical when it comes to Germany. Merkel and Tsipras more or less both agreed that Grexit was the only realistic option. Then Tusk intervened and demanded a compromise.
        The compromise is nothing more than an agreement about further negotiations. These can collapse and if they don’t, their outcome still needs approval from various parliaments.
        In the meantime (due to the lasting uncertainty) the situation in Greece deteriorates day by day and most likely more money will be needed.
        Finally, if France fears German pressure to have them abide by the rules, than it would be in Germany’s advantage to have a Grexit in order to apply that pressure. You can’t have it both ways.
        Furthermore, spending billions on Greece, without being able to support you own farmers and bringing down the budget deficit will be a tough sell for France. In the end they look at their own interests an drop Greece like a stone.


      • mikenetherlands says:

        They will solve it with what we call “draaien” in Dutch. You are not telling exactly te true, you are telling something just beside te true. (Draaien is turnen). And met “draaien” they will solve every problem. You tell the true, you are not a liar, but…….. That is our political system. They will keep Greece with this system in the eurozone in my opinion.


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