Yesterday the German comedian Jan Böhmerman claimed responsibility for a YouTube video where Yanis Varoufakis, the current Finance Minister of Greece, had allegedly stuck the finger to Germany. The video had been featured in Germany’s most popular Sunday evening talk show “Günther Jauch“. Confronted with this video as a guest of the show, Yanis Varoufakis denied the accuracy of the footage and instead claimed that the video had been “doctored”. However, most of the German media were convinced by the video, the German tabloid “Bild” even explicitly called Varoufakis a “Lügner” (“liar”):

In the video below (English subtitles start at 3:00 min), Böhmermann now describes in a very detailed manner how he and his team (allegedly?) had faked the segment of the video where Varoufakis shows his middle finger and claims that he had conspired with the organizers of the Croation conference where the video had been made to spread the fake version of the video.

The main debate immediatly following the publication of this epic comedy stunt then mainly centered around one question: is the fake authentic, or is it a clever fake of a fake?

Blogger Gero Nagel on his blog “zweifeln” (German for “being doubtful of”) believes the fake is original. His main argument is that planning and executing the whole fake of the fake would not have been possible within the three days after the show “Jauch” had been on air. And he also points to the fact that it was Böhmermann himself, who had made sure that the segment with Varoufakis middle finger reached wider audiences in Germany by featuring it at the end of his video “V for Varoufakis” (published in February 2015):

In the end, as Austrian journalist Claudia Zettel put it on Twitter, “Böhmermann wins” either way – whether the fake is authentic or fake, he definitely made several important points. For instance, journalists ought to be careful when using found footage. And raising the question, why the whole story was such a big deal in the first place.

Why blog about #Varoufake on a research blog? Several reasons come to mind. For one, the story raises questions of originality and remix, which have been recurrent themes on this blog. For another, the background story about Greece, Germany, the Eurozone and the EU is definitely a case of governance across borders. Most importantly, however, it is because Böhmermann’s video is just plain awesome.