- “JUST BECAUSE,” SAYS MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY ABOUT HIS NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK
- Septemvriana: A Night of Terror for Greeks in Constantinople
- THE DARK DAY OF THE DISTOMO MASSACRE BY THE NAZIS
- The Hellenic Initiative’s 11th Annual Gala to Honor Ted Leonsis
- Full Circle: Indie Film Reconnects a Filmmaker with His Former Teacher-Turned Screenwriter
KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE
I remember going to a dinner several years ago with a group of very young and very bright Greek Americans who were going to the best schools and already had the connections to get the best jobs. Some of them were content with that, but some of them were not. “What else are you looking for?” I asked the ones who were not content. One of them, very earnest, said he had a safe job in the entertainment industry, at one of the signature media companies, but he wanted to do something on his own. A start-up? I asked. “Not for me,” he said. “But something that will really interest me and also make a difference in the world.” A tall order, and youthful hubris? (But he went on to leave his cushy job and move abroad and do these very personal documentaries about his adopted homeland of Turkey and about how Greeks and Turks share so many things despite all the politicians’ saber-rattling.)
Another bright young woman, a classicist at an Ivy league school, was fighting the stereotype that a young Greek woman had to either get married, or find a decent career—and get married right away! I don’t know what happened to her, but I imagined in her quiet fortitude she pursued her career, or if not, is now an intelligent member of her community and elevates the conversation.
They had all talked lovingly of their families, their papoudes and yiayiades and parents, and been to Greece, and had stories to tell, but there was nothing to communicate their appreciation of each other—it was all personal and familial. “That’s why we need this magazine,” I told them. “To bridge the generation gap and give a forum to them and to you—so you can talk about them and they can talk about you and you can find out about each other.” They said it was a great idea, they wished us well, but typical of Greeks of any generation, none of them subscribed to the magazine or showed any other support.
But we’ve been at it for eighteen years, anyway, through the perseverance of our stalwart compatriot, Dimitri Rhompotis, who shared the idea of the magazine with me, since the days when we worked at Kyrika together and he used to walk in with his Panama hat and bag full of fat New York bagels that I used to call truck tires. He has kept the idea alive, through the boggy swamps of Greek politics and media and culture, with the sustenance of friends and his own persistence, and it’s a miracle and a milestone in the culture and media of our Greek American community that we’re still here and still publishing. The dream is still alive, the need is still here: to survive as a community we need to replenish ourselves and bring the new generation into the fold. It has to be interested, it has to participate in our Greek American life, it has to open connections with all our generations, and NEO Magazine has tried to do its part to bridge the gap of the generations in our existence as a magazine all these years. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re still at it. Help us keep the dream alive: because it’s vital for our Greek-American community.