NPR logo 'Life Rumbles On, In A Collective Trance, Shot Through With Gallows Humor'


'Life Rumbles On, In A Collective Trance, Shot Through With Gallows Humor'

Athens, Feb. 12, 2012 Milos Bicanski/Getty Images hide caption

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Milos Bicanski/Getty Images


Where the economy shrank by 7 percent last year alone, according to figures released today. Where the rioting never ends, and where national bankruptcy is a given.

It's easy to get numb to it all. But this long New York Times Magazine story does a very good job of making it feel still fresh and real:

... he mentioned that he had not been paid by his newspaper, the major left-leaning daily, in four months. Nor had any of his colleagues at the paper. Yet despite the lack of paychecks, few if any employees had left the paper (which has since filed for bankruptcy), for the good reason that there was nowhere else to go.

Which pretty much sums up Greece. Everyone talks incessantly about the economy ... but somehow everyday life rumbles on, in a collective trance, shot through with gallows humor.

By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. ...

For more from Greece, see these stories our own Chana Joffe-Walt:

In Greece, A Technocrat Faces Life In Prison

How A Computer Scientist Tried To Save Greece