Time to play: Which is Real, Which is Parody!

The rules are easy, just guess which Item (1 or 2) is real and which is parody. Careful though, the game itself may not be as easy as you think!

Item 1:
«Solidarity Fund of Greece», A bank account for donations to the Greek government, to pay off the country’s debt

Excerpt: “a call to all Greeks worldwide to support the campaign for the “*Solidarity Account for Greece*” which was established for the repayment the nation’s public debt.

…we are calling Hellenes worldwide to take action.

We consider that it is our duty, that each and every one of us and all together as one, support and contribute actively to the Solidarity Fund Campaign, which is led by the President of the Hellenic Republic…”
Item 2:
The Official Kickstarter Page for Greece! A crowdfunding page to pay off the country’s debt.

Excerpt: “our creditors are demanding €14.5 billion ($18.6 billion) by March 20. We do not have this money, nor do we think we can raise it in time… And so we come to you, our friends, for help.

A donation of any amount is appreciated, and gifts are available for those who give at premium levels. We promise these funds will be used only to pay down debt, and any funds received above the requested amount will be rolled over to our next, inevitable Kickstarter campaign.”

Image by New Diaspora. New Dialogue. illustration contributor.


Did you make your selection? Have you given up?

Here is the answer:

Option 1: Real!

The excerpt is from a message from an organization focusing on strengthening ties between Greek diaspora communities, in 2010. 

Option 2: Parody! (For now.)

This was published recently in McSweeney’s, a San Francisco-based publisher that publishes – among other things – the literature and humor site McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

Did you get it right? Did you get it wrong? Its ok, no one wins. We all sit down for a good laugh and a cry!

I’m not sure if the author of Welcome to the Official Kickstarter Page for Greece! was aware of the 2010 Solidarity Fund account. The parody Kickstarter page is humorous either way, but the comparison highlights the question of whether leaders in Greece and the diaspora communities fully acknowledge the causes and the deep impact of the political crisis that is intertwined with the country’s economic crisis.

The political crisis is that Greek society does not trust its political leaders and people have difficulty trusting each other after decades of ineffective or completely lacking transparency and accountability institutions. For years, Greece has lacked strong government or independent institutions with an ability to combat corruption and ensure that laws were implemented or reformed as necessary.

So why would people contribute to a fund that goes to the government – whether for the repayment of the debt or any other reason?

Here is what is most interesting to me: I have not yet seen any comments regarding the McSweeney’s post from the Greek diaspora community organizations or individuals that commented on the November 2011 Saturday Night Live skit portraying the gods of Olympus attempting (unsuccessfully) to address the economic crisis. Maybe they just don’t know about McSweeney’s.

In case you forgot about that SNL skit, here’s a little reminder:

‘Zeus’: “Wait, there is a Greek god of finance, right, there has to be…”

There isn’t. ‘Zeus’ calls on each of the gods/goddesses, none are responsible for finance. Later in the dialogue:

‘Hermes’: “It’s the party god’s fault, he’s been overseeing all the Greek banks.”

The skit shows that the ancient stories of Greek culture are still fun and pretty well-known in mainstream American culture. The ancient Greek gods and myths continue to be interesting and relevant today because they represented a spot-on understanding of human nature. There was also humor, satire and irony throughout the ancient myths, probably based on an understanding that sometimes humor – bright or dark – is the most effective way to get your point across.

When the laughter or giggles die down after reading a parody Kickstarter page, two thoughts will likely remain:

1)     It is absurd for anyone to imagine that people would trust the government or its international lenders enough at this point to donate money, when there has been little progress in making the political and economic systems in Greece or Europe more fair.

2)     How many Kickstarter pages would the EU actually need…?

All politics and parody aside, there are some interesting, creative projects on Kickstarter, even in Greece or relating to Hellenic culture, so check out the real page: http://www.kickstarter.com


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