Mind your step, Theresa!

“A little tiny cockroach, little Tereza / stepped on the Teza / and… teza! (dead) / Out came her family to get Tereza / they stepped on the Teza / and… teza!”

So went the jingle from a 1980s Greek TV ad for Teza brand cockroach spray. It was so catchy that it runs through my head regularly, over 30 years later, particularly since Theresa May became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

It’s not Mrs May’s fault. I don’t wish an untimely death on her, least of all death by chemical weapons. All the same, I can’t help reflecting that she came to power much like the proverbial cockroach in the nuclear holocaust, after all her rivals had dropped, er, out. And I wouldn’t mind seeing her hoist by her own opportunistic petard – though sadly I doubt that any electoral upset will be big enough to prove even figuratively terminal.

Bravo, then, to the makers of the Teza ad, for creating a message that truly resonates across the decades. I don’t know how long the ad ran for, for all I know it might still be running (Teza is still available in exciting new formulations for all your roach extermination needs, a great success of Greek chemical manufacturing). Its longevity is clearly down to its high irritant factor (the ad, one hopes, not the spray). Children quickly picked up the jingle and repeated it at every occasion. New words were adapted to the tune, often riffing on the twin themes of prostitution and cockroaches (sex and death). Boys and girls impersonated the handbag-twiddling streetwalking cockroach Tereza. Miming the twiddling of the handbag and the swinging from the lamp post while whistling the jingle became a playground shorthand for prostitution. No parent had a hope in hell of undoing it.

The semiotics of the ad are puzzling, too, but whichever way you look at it there is no politically correct interpretation. Is the ad saying that streetwalkers are like cockroaches? Or does the cockroach deserve to be zapped because she is a streetwalker? Is she even a streetwalker? When she is zapped, her anthropomorphic cockroach family come out after her and get zapped too – so maybe she is just a good girl-cockroach, maybe a touch over/underdressed, on her way to a girls’ night out. Or maybe the whole family was relying on her for income? Will we ever know?

Whatever is going on here, the warning is from 1980s Greek adland clear: Mind your step, Theresa!


More politically incorrect Greek ads, more 80s nostalgia

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Mind your step, Theresa!

Know your Brexit from your Grexit

Tizian_085

It’s that time of year again, when our elected leaders kick the ball into the stands, and ask the “sovereign people” to get them out of a pickle by posing a “once in a generation” EU-related question. Last year it was Greece, this year it’s the UK. Are you having trouble telling your Brexit from your Grexit, your Greferendum from your Breferendum? Or do you still think they are halitosis remedies? We have put together a handy disambiguator for the confused.

GREXIT REFERENDUM

BREXIT REFERENDUM

“That is the question…”
Do you agree with this expired bailout ultimatum which requires a postgraduate degree in economics to understand and definitely won’t fit on the ballot paper, YES (NAI) or NO (OXI). Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

(or, if you are Welsh, “A ddylai’r Deyrnas Unedig aros yn aelod o’r Undeb Ewropeaidd neu adael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd?”).

Ah, but it’s really about…
Austerity, national currency, national dignity, the European Project, the Establishment, the Germans. Self-determination, trade agreements, national security, the Establishment, the Germans, but mainly IMMIGRATION (Polish plumbers, Syrian refugees, ISIS terrorists and everything in between – excluding Russian and Chinese oligarchs, and global kleptocrat property investors).
Ah but it’s really, REALLY about..
Ingenue politician’s (in)ability to lead own party. Ingenue politician’s (in)ability to lead own party.
Any wider consequences of Grexit/Brexit I should be concerned about?
The first step towards the end of the world as we know it. Allegedly. The first step towards the end of the world as we know it. Allegedly.
The Government Line
OXI REMAIN
How much time do I have to decide?
How long does it take to print ballot papers? Referendum announced 1am on 27 June 2015; referendum held 5 July 2015. Since Maggie was ousted. But officially… Referendum pledged January 2013; polling date and question announced February 2016: official campaigning started April 2016; referendum to be held 23 June 2016.
Any aggravating factors?
Capital controls. Y’know, access to cash, money transfers etc. … How’s the traffic to Glastonbury?
Where do I get the information to help me decide?
Scripted political addresses, mass rallies, poster campaigns, social media war. Information packs, debates, Q&As, campaign “battle buses”, facts, “facts”, factoids, rebuttals, fearmongering, flotillas, social media war.
Any good internet memes?
#thisisacoup #CatsAgainstBrexit #Mutts4Remain
What country will I wake up in if OXI/LEAVE prevails (according to OXI/LEAVE proponents)?
Venezuela (Chavez era): a resource-rich, “socially equitable”, fiercely independent world power. Norway: a resource-rich, “socially equitable”, fiercely independent world power.
What country will I wake up in if OXI/LEAVE prevails (according to NAI/REMAIN proponents)?
Venezuela (Maduro era): toilet paper shortages Guernsey
How would a Marxist firebrand/Keynsian economist vote?
OXI: Alexis Tsipras and Yianis Varoufakis, supported by US-based Nobel prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, and promoted by UK-based embedded cheerleader Paul Mason. REMAIN: all named in left hand column; readers are advised not to attempt new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s “RELUCTANTLY REMAIN” acrobatics in the polling booth, as it will almost certainly be counted as a spoiled ballot.
How would an ordoliberal German Finance Minister vote?
OXI means OUT, NAI means OUT. IN is IN, OUT is OUT.
How would a xenophobe vote?
OXI if you’re a Greek who dislikes foreigners;

OXI if you’re a foreigner who dislikes Greeks.

LEAVE if you’re in the UK;

REMAIN if you’re Jeremy Clarkson and your gut tells you so;

LEAVE if you’re outside the UK, in the EU but anti-EU (see France’s Mme Frexit);

REMAIN if you’re outside the UK, in the EU and desperate for allies to support your xenophobic agenda (see Hungary’s Orbán);

LEAVE if you’re a self-absorbed populist outside the EU (see Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump).

Does public discourse conform to “Godwin’s Law” (“As an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches 1”) (a.k.a. the Basil Fawlty Asymptote)?
Yup. NAI supporters were branded γερμανοτσολιαδες, δοσιλογοι, Τσολακογλου (German collaborators/appeasers).

Ironically, OXI-supporting Golden Dawn are renowned for their love of Nazi insignia and adulation of Adolf Hitler.

Yup. REMAIN supporters have been branded traitors, David Cameron has been likened to Neville Chamberlain. Leading LEAVE campaigner Michael Gove slyly likened experts to Nazis.

Ironically, LEAVE-supporting UKIP are the ones who recycled Nazi anti-immigration propaganda.

High profile casualties?
Older gent photographed enjoying an Aperol spritzer during NAI rally trolled on social media. Labour MP, REMAIN supporter and mother of two Jo Cox, attacked and killed in real life by man identifying himself as “death to traitors, freedom for Britain”.
Will this answer the question once and for all?
As black is white. Definitely. Maybe.

We hope this has been helpful. Those of us entitled to a vote have cast it, and may our British friends make the right decision. No pressure. As the summer solstice aligns with a full moon, we’re absolutely confident nothing can go wrong!

Image: Titian’s “The Rape of Europa”.

 

 

Know your Brexit from your Grexit