The Greeks Just Won’t Stop Fighting and I’m Bored
It’s May 2010 and I’m sitting with my coworkers in front of the miniature TV we managed to get the IT guy to install in our office in Athens. We’re watching the news for updates on the bombing of Marfin Bank on Stadiou Street. No one in the office is doing any work. In fact, those in my department are the only people who showed up to work at all, since today marks one of the first in a series of national strikes.
Instead, we’re all crouching in front of the TV, which prompts my boss to shout from the door of her office, “Can someone tell me what could be so important that you guys have yet to post anything about Lady Gaga’s Armani costume for American Idol?” Bless her, she likes mixing her morning pills with a shot of whiskey.
One year later—October 2011—and I’ve flown to Athens from London with three VICE staffers to cover a two-day-long national strike for our series Teenage Riot. It’s boiling hot, the people are angry, and I’m an intern desperate for a job at VICE, so I spend the next couple of days running through protesting crowds and away from blocks of rock, clouds of tear gas, and flagpole-swinging communists. I have no idea how hanging out in the closet of Greek Vogue as a teenager led to this, but I’m loving it.
But now, I’m so fucking bored of it. Yesterday saw yet another national strike in Greece, one that was very similar to the one we filmed last year. The weather was perversely hot for mid-October, thousands of people gathered in Syntagma Square to protest a bunch of new austerity measures, Molotov cocktails were thrown in the air, and a man died.
I understand that should make me angry, but all it’s done is make me feel depressed and confused. It’s been three years since the bombing of Marfin Bank and, in these three years, I’ve managed to move from London to Athens, then back again, change jobs twice, go through a couple of boyfriends, drop acid at fashion week, and attend a few too many weddings.
The place where I come from, however, hasn’t changed one bit. It keeps burning itself to the ground, being refurbished, then burned down again. Every year, a little before the passing of new austerity measures, we hear that things are looking up—that the economy is back on track—only to then see bigger cuts to our parents’ pension cheques and a rise of support for the extremist right-wing party, Golden Dawn.
Is this madness ever going to end? And is protesting (read: rioting) really the best way to go about changing things?
Having fled to London just before the real shit hit the fan, I hardly feel like I have the right to pass judgement on a situation I only encounter on Christmas and during the summer holidays, so I called my friend Petros to chat about what’s going on.
VICE: Hey man. First of all, a guy died today and a guy died almost exactly one year ago.
Petros: That’s true. But the guy today died because of heart failure during the demo before any tear gas was thrown, which was what caused the death of that protester last year. Not that that makes things any better. Also, both guys were PAME (Communist front) members.
Spooky. What really upset me last year was how PAME was protesting alongside us on the first day, but turned against us by the second. My boss and I got chased by a group of men waving red flagpoles at us.
The thing with PAME is that they would always hold their own demos at completely separate times from the rest of us. So, when they announced they’d be joining in last year, that was a first. Everyone was surprised. After what happened, they announced that was the last time they were going to join in and just went back to their old way of doing things, which is meeting earlier than the rest of us, walking to the parliament, then walking right past it. That’s pretty much it. That’s what they did yesterday, too.
Members of PAME demonstrating.
So they pretty much censored themselves. What about far-right elements? What’s the presence of the Golden Dawn at demos these days?
Non-existent, or at least not obvious. Of course there must be far-right elements, but the larger sentiment is mostly liberal. In fact, a lot of yesterday’s chants were against the Golden Dawn or linking the Golden Dawn to the police. My two favorites are, “Let’s get together and kick the Nazis out of Parliament!” and “Beware, Beware. Golden Dawners in uniform!”
Hey, you know what’s a big re-emerging trend in Europe at the moment, besides the Cosby sweater and poverty? Fascism! I mean, it’s only the middle of July and so far we’ve seen nationalists playing football with anarchists’ heads in Poland, slapping women on Greek TV and crashing May Day and Gay Pride parties in Sweden and Bristol respectively.
The hacking/general mischief collective Anonymous is pretty ahead of the curve when it comes to scary fashions. Completely unfazed by the hotness of fascist women, a few months ago the group declared war against the many Nazi-loving websites that have begun to flood the internet, with something they calledOperation Blitzkrieg and later with a website dedicated to leaking fascists’ personal data called Nazileaks.
Finally, do you know who is very good friends with Anonymous? Alec Empire, of Atari Teenage Riot fame. And so, he interviewed one of the members of Anonymous involved in Nazileaks for us.
Take it away, Alec.
In May, VICE bestowed Album of the Month status on New Brigade, Iceage’s debut LP. Every other magazine and website that covered music followed suit, acting as if the Danish teenage four-piece were the sweetest little princes in the make-believe Land of Music, and that everyone with any taste should bow before their infallible tunes.
In the beginning, critics like Danish music journalist Martin Finnedal attributed Iceage’s success to the band’s inexperience. “The original fascination came from the fact that they’re from nowhere, with no real idea of what they’re doing,” he told me. “Iceage is famous because of their innocence and youth.”
On June 25, Magic Muscle Media, an irrelevant and anonymous blogger, posted an essay titled “Chic Racism Elevates Hardcore Band Iceage to Hipster Fame.” Despite admitting that the piece was written “without analysis of their lyrics” or “direct confrontation of the band members,” the blogger published images fromDogmeat, a zine produced by Iceage front man Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, accusing the band of fetishizing fascist imagery and employing fascist aesthetics to promote an agenda of hate.
Continue: Are Iceage Nazis?
REVENGE OF THE ZANILY MUSTACHIOED NERD
I was incredulous at all the bullshit literature illustrated on the cover of your Fiction Issue. Whose bookshelf was that? Some 19-year-old with a sweater complex who thinks he’s Holden Caulfield?
I thought you guys were cool but it turns out that you’re just a buncha nerdos. Tree of Smoke?! More like “trees to smoke,” as in, let’s get some trees to smoke over here, away from these gay and lame books. Jack Kerouac, Woody Allen, and Bret Easton Ellis? Let me teach you know-nothing know-it-alls a little something about a real shelf.
I’ve included a photo of one of the favorite levels of my bookshelf. Some of the other shelves in this bookcase have piles of Marvel comics, board games that are packaged to look like books, and CD box sets. This one has the most books on it so I figured I’d share it.
Here’s what’s on my shelf from left to right.
1. A shitload of Star Wars novels—People talk like these are an embarrassment, but Star Wars is the best movie so it’s no surprise that it is also subject of the best books. These are great because you can get them for a dollar or less at any Salvation Army or the dump. They are the kind of books you can buy by the pound and you get your money’s worth. If you want to know what Luke, Han, and Leia did before and after the movies you can read a book and it’ll tell you. I’d buy that for a dollar.
2. Guns of the Third Reich—Nazis sucked and we kicked their asses bad, but everyone will relent and admit that they were superior in a lot of aesthetic ways. Mausers, Lugers—those are rad guns. Most guns are pretty cool, but Nazi guns were beautiful. Sorry.
3. NO by Boyd Rice—Some hear Boyd Rice’s name and instantly get angry and accuse you of being a bad guy and say, “How can you have this in your house?” He’s really funny, is how, and also has good stuff to say. Did you know he was visiting Charles Manson in prison on a regular basis? Not everybody got to do that.
4. How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure by Lou Paget—This book was written by a girl and she dedicated it to “My father, the first man I ever loved.” There’s no way that isn’t gross. This book was a gift from my first girlfriend. It’s inscribed to her older brother, from his girlfriend at the time. Most of it is pretty stupid, but there’s a funny diagram of a dildo that you strap to your head called “The Accommodator” and it juts out of your chin, making you look like a New Yorker caricature of Jay Leno.
5. Holocaust book—I got this at Dachau. It’s weird that a Holocaust museum has a gift shop. Looking back, it’s also weird that I was moved to buy a book so that I could remember it always.
6. Faces of the Enemy—It’s good to know who your enemies are. You get to the last page of the book and it’s a mirror. Not really. I can’t remember what this book is about and I am too lazy to look.
7. Guns of the Reich—This is another of my books about guns that Nazis used. I wish I could subscribe to a Nazi-gun-book-of-the-month club.
8. Statuette of the devil with huge boner—I bought this from three homos in Hell’s Kitchen. They told me that they’d painstakingly scrubbed paint off of it and that I could use his giant golden penis to keep rings on.
9. Six issues of Playboy from the 60s in a Playboy binder—This is a big binder with old Playboys in it. I jerk off to women who are either dead or very haggard now.
10. The New Encyclopedia of Handguns & Small Arms—I think it’s important to have this so that people see that I have some books about American guns too and don’t just think I’m a freak who’s totally into Nazi guns exclusively. This is my beard. I don’t care about most American guns.
….read the rest of the list here!