Greece, birthplace of philosophy and home to most of modern man’s more memorable monuments, has made world headlines again, though not over its impending economic cataclysm but because of a local pop starlets conspiratorial sex tape.

Centrefold Julia Alexandratou’s 30 minute video, featuring naked shenanigans with an anonymous male, has caught the attention of the nation’s men, selling over 250,000 copies since its March 3 release and grossing an estimated 5 million euros.

The publicity-hungry starlet’s explanation for her scandalous bestselling x-rated romp – “I met a French guy without knowing who he really was, we went out to eat a few times, had a nice time together and of course we ended up in a hotel” – though she later admitted that the footage was “shot with my knowledge but circulated without it.”

But whereas Alexandratou’s banal sex romp is just a smidge more interesting than One Night in Paris, what is genuinely interesting is how it was coincidently released on the same day that Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou announced his governments plan to prevent the country declaring bankruptcy if it fails to cover its $400 billion debt.

Greece’s monstrous deficit, caused by legendary fiscal mismanagement and a public spending binge which includes questionable decisions like doubling the wages of public-sector workers, has caused their deficit to be more than four times what it’s supposed to be, but their plan to get their fiscal house in order is the stuff of Greek tragedy.

The government’s March 3rd announcement featured $6.5 billion of savings via cuts to civil service workers’ entitlements and increased taxation on clothing, food and medicine. Knowing this wasn’t going to go over well with the populace, and rather than facing voter backlash head on, they neutered the issue by diverting everyone’s attention using a bait-and-switch that turned a B Grade celebrity into a ‘happy tissue’ legend almost overnight.

Proof that their strategy was flawless? A fiscally frugal populace who should have been tightening their belts instead rushed out like Pavlov’s pooches to purchase the belt-tightening DVD, keeping them briefly distracted and putting DVD sales tax revenue in the coffers, getting Greece 0.0001% closer to solving their pesky deficit problem!

But Alexandratou’s coincidental cinematic début got me thinking; if the fiscally flawed Greek government can pull off a successful media coup with a blatant bait-and-switch using a little T&A, why cant David Hicks? A sex tape scandal is just what our beleaguered terrorist wannabe needs to help him overcome residual negative public sentiment and to help him to move on with his goal of being “just an ordinary bloke”.

Hicks is no fool, he knows how the media works. In a letter penned to his family during his elongated stint at Camp Delta Guantanamo Bay he said “I’ve been told that the media is running some stupid stories about me. I’m sure you know that I’m not ten Rambo’s fitted in to one person. There are lots of rumours flying about.”

The Hicks family understand that sensation sells in the media – case in point Terry Hicks, David’s father. His admirable efforts to get his son returned home included him spending a day posing for news cameras in a Guantanamo detainee sized cage in the streets of New York and staring in a doco entitled The President Versus David Hicks.

So what could be more sensational and more distracting for a nation who considers you to be Australia’s own bastard child of Bin Laden than turning misfortune into fame by making a down-under version of John Wayne Bobbitt’s self titled porn ‘Uncut’?

We live in a media saturated era where we salivate at the thought of the next salacious scandal, even when we know there’s a chance we’re being punk’d. Look at how we happily bought into CHK-CHK-BOOM gal Claire’s racist rant. Racist comments apparently aren’t deemed truly offensive if they’re part of a big joke or when they’re delivered by a spunky 20-something, her upcoming TV hosting role proves that.

Today, Hicks is a PR professional’s nightmare, he’s sullen, camera shy and ineloquent. But with a TV special rumoured to be appearing on SBS or ABC in the next few months he should take a note out of Claire’s book and get some outside help to turn things around in the eyes of the very media that vilified him and hung him out to dry.

In all fairness his only real crime was choosing to involve himself in a war for reasons most of us don’t understand because of the media. It’s not illegal to fight in another country’s army. Yes he was trained by Al Qaeda, as are all Taliban troops, but the Taliban aren’t our enemy. And he never fought against allied troops so labelling him an enemy of the state is unfair, as is continually referring to him as a terrorist.

Sadly the only way he stands a chance of losing the terrorist label and moving to a more mild moniker, like ‘Australia’s misunderstood progeny’, is by shifting the media’s focus. So maybe if he made a sex tape which was ‘accidentally’ leaked to the media, and which forced him into the limelight to talk about the more palatable issue of on-camera sex, rather than terrorism, he could earn back a bit of our respect as just a normal everyday guy who did something really dumb.

Either that or he continues to play the role of the villain, joins the cast of Hey, Hey it’s Saturday, replacing Red Symons as the bad guy, and we lash out at him the next time they decide to do the black faces sketch…

Final note: My suggestion for fixing Greece’s deficit – have their government give Ms Alexandratou a call and work with her to create a sequel called “My Big Fat Greek Deficit” – if that doesn’t get money in the coffers then they’re more screwed than she is!

Written by Chris Rhyss

Labels du jour: writer / interweb evangelist / runner / caffeinated raconteur / a man.