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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 March 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 MARCH 2019 25 OPINION Schadenfraude and the college admission’s scandal We would give up our lives for our children in a heartbeat, but we’d draw the line at fraud Schadenfreude is defined as pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune. The college admissions scandal has all the elements of schadenfreude as we condemn Hollywood A-Listers doing all they can to plough their children’s way towards success. It’s a case of life imitating art, and now, as a result of the fraud, old interviews and excerpts from Full House (redubbed Full Jail House) show Lori Loughlin (renamed ‘Locked in’) doing all she could as Aunt Becky to help the kids. Vintage footage becomes far more entertaining in retrospect. Schadenfreude builds to a crescendo with self-righteous heckling as fake SCU rower Olympia Jade is dropped by Sephora and other brands to the glee of tabloids around the world. “Serves her right for being a fake,” is the average sentiment of fickle fans who feel duped. Were they really so naive as to think that the whole concept of being a Youtube influencer and Instagram queen wasn’t superficial in the first place? As for the parents, we condemn them for the way they’ve raised their children and the values they’ve instilled. Of course, it’s easy for most par- Under, and they’d probably say - “Το έκανα για τα παιδιά” (I did it for the children). They probably would have stuck it out being underpaid and unemployed in a land of unpredictability, but they wanted better prospects for their kids. So they grabbed the opportunity, packed their belongings and moved to ξενιτιά (foreign lands). Lori Loughlin with her daughters Isabella Rose and Olivia Jade Giannulli. PHOTO: PINTEREST ents to do. After all, we would like to believe that if we had $500,000 at our disposal we would spend the money getting children tutors and immersing them in an educational experience rather than lie and cheat for them. We know that we would give up our lives in a heart beat if it were necessary, but we wouldn’t commit fraud. Or would we? And that’s what makes the college admissions scandal unfolding in the United States particularly titillating. Sure, it examines the entitlement of the nation’s elite and the inequality of the education system, but it A Nemean ode to Nemesis BRADY KIESLING "Operation Iraqi Freedom" began 16 years ago today, on March 19, 2003, so perhaps this is a good day to nod respectfully to Nemesis. After resigning (24 February, 2003), I invited my U.S. Embassy now-ex-colleagues to join me at the most beautiful (and least known) archaeological site in Attica. I poured out a libation of Nemean wine on the altar of Nemesis, who happens to be the patron goddess of Rhamnous, with a fine temple just behind the altar, aimed at the battlefield of Plataia. She was rather hard on the Persians in 479 BCE, and I didn't want her to be equally hard on the USA. We went back to Rhamnous (Ραμνούντα) last Sunday with friends for another look. Still a gorgeous spot, in full spring flowering. Nemesis was in a good mood, apparently. The lower site isn't normally open before summer (lack of staff) but the Ephoreia of Antiquities of Eastern Attiki very kindly let us in, and the superb site guard Thodoris showed us the storeroom in which the marble superstructure of the 5th century BC Nemesis temple has been pieced together. The deme site is on a promontory between an ancient creek port and another little harbour, walled off in the 4th century to become a major Athenian fortress. It has been excavated and partly restored by Vasilios Petrakos, Secretary General of the Archaeological Society, but the remoteness and lack of mobile phone coverage means that no Athenian ever goes there – most have never heard of it. Thus a pristine landscape. Nemesis presumably gets her name from the verb νεμειν, to apportion (or to graze), and she is a goddess who probably first earned her devotion by painfully reeducating the jerks who pastured an unsustainable number of goats on their neighbour's hillside. She likes to work by indirection, hence the idea, probably hers, of losing Helen of Troy on a world that even back then suffered from poor impulse control. "When Jupiter, moved by desire, had begun to love Nemesis, and couldn't persuade her to lie with him, he relieved his passion by the following plan. He bade Venus, in the form of an eagle, pursue him; he, changed to a swan, as if in flight from the eagle, took refuge with Nemesis and lighted in her lap. Nemesis did not thrust him away, but holding him in her arms, fell into a deep sleep. While she slept, Jupiter embraced her, and then flew away … Nemesis, as if wedded to the tribe of birds, when her months were ended, bore an egg. Mercury took it away and carried it to Sparta and threw it in Leda's lap. From it sprang Helen, who excelled all other girls in beauty. Leda called her her own daughter. Others say that Jove, in the form of a swan, lay with Leda. We shall leave the matter undecided." (Hyginus 2.8) Brady Kiesling is a former political counsellor of the US Embassy in Athens who now lives in Greece. Looking down on the fortified deme site of Rhamnous (massive gate on left) from the hilltop above. PHOTO: BRADY KIESLING also delves into how far parents would go for their children. For some, it’s all the way to jail. For others, it’s to the other side of the world. Ask most Greek migrants with children to tell you what prompted them to leave their homeland for better life Down And rather than be told that uprooting themselves may have been taking it too far, they’re looked upon with respect for giving up friends, family and all the things they loved so their kids could have it easy - or at least easier than they would have otherwise. This, of course, begs one question: Where should you draw the line when it comes to helping your kids? A good rule of thumb is to do only what is legally possible. But what’s legal isn’t always what is moral. How far would you go? Every day as parents we face a myriad of decisions about what is best for our children. As good parents, we should question the morals and ethics of our decisions, knowing that our children are watching us every step of the way and learning by our example. But there’s no denying that if we had the opportunity of waving around a magic wand, we would want to create a life strewn with roses for our children. We’d zap them into a picture-perfect world of happiness and beauty. Billions of dollars could be as good as a magic wand in the hands of parents of kids like Olivia Jade. In her case, she seemingly had everything except for an Ivy League education, which she probably could have had with a bit of studying and didn’t really seem to need at the end of the day. For most of us that would have been the obvious thing to do, but in the Giannulli-Loughlin household it was easier to just pay a bribe and cheat. But it all backfired leaving us to question the fine line between helping and hindering. Too much help can harm, not enough can destroy. Children are fragile like butterflies that emerge from the chrysalises with soft wings and bodies that haven’t been hardened by life yet. They need to climb and hang so their wings can expand properly. Too much help can doom them. Do we care that the Holly- wood A-Listers have doomed their kids? Schadenfreude.
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