Robert Scott: Market Basket battle as a Ancient Greek epic play


A Market Basket movie!? Not as far-fetched as you would think. This is an epic Greek tale. If Aristophanes or Aeschylus were alive, they would be penning a play based on it called monopolion (monopoly). It has all the  elements of a compelling story.

Arthur T. Demoulas, the protagonist, and  the once and future CEO of the supermarket chain, embodies all the values and virtues of the hero or "The Great Man'' that Aristotle wrote about . He has  integrity, humility, kindness and generosity.


He's also a brilliant strategist, a truly inspiring and effective strategos (general) who had not only the loyalty of the stratou (army -- his employees) but their unfading love.  Such love for a leader is a rare thing in 2014 American society.

Yet ATD’s leadership model is not of our mainstream culture but a hybrid creation of Greek-American culture. ATD’s unwavering adherence to the high-minded standards of our grandparents and parents make this amazingly successful and wealthy man in 2014 America; a true “rock star”.  All I can think is how proud they are of him as they look down from above…. Well done, Anthanasios Telemachus.

His cousin Arthur D. Demoulas,  the antagonist, is a figure that seems cast  out of some ancient Greek epic in the image of ploutokrat pelonexia -- one driven to seek power and wealth above all.

Such a figure is reviled in American society but these ancient playwrights made comic sport of them,  Surrounding ASD is the ploutokratia, his elite Ivy League stratou, whose members believe that their education, wealth and privilege  entitle them to dominate the polis (average citizen).

The stage for the epic is set as these two diametrically opposite forces clash to have mono polein (sole control) of this most valuable entity. ASD’s stratou fires the first shot and sacks ATD and his  management team. The ATD stratou erupts and with their massive numerical advantage bring operations to a dead halt. Then they appeal to their customers to come and support them.


What is truly miraculous is that the customers  supported their neighbors, and ATD’s stratou is now not 25,000 but 2  million strong. Xerxes, the Persian emperor, watched in horror as the underestimated Athenian fleet cleaned his clock!

The playwrights would go to town mocking the hubris of elite lawyers, Wall Street bankers and Global 100 Executives in their luxurious air-conditioned offices while calling for the blessings of the gods upon the virtuous employees and customers protesting/ standing tall in the heat of the midday sun. As each side parried and thrust for six long weeks, the fate of millions  hung in the balance. Who will have mono polein? The ASD stratou of  greed or  the ATD stratou , which seeks to preserve the advantages of their beloved Market Basket.

The amount of the lutoros ( ransom) is agreed on and the painful details of the deal are forged against the backdrop of still more  nasty dialogue and hatred in the family,  as the playwrights examine the many foibles and hypocrisies of the elite.

Virtue prevails and the strategos ATD rises like a protathlitis (the champion leader) while the chorus on both side of the stage proclaim .. "nike, nike, nike''  (victory). There is no doubt in my mind that an epic struggle like this would have a play written about it to memorialize the lessons that it teaches us. It would be a way of instructing  our children and grandchildren about this golden moment  when the privilege of the few was destroyed by the unity of the many.

Is that what Gen.  John Stark meant when he said, “Live or Die” as we rejected  the privilege of monarchs and empowered the citizens of New Hampshire? No doubt in his youth he read Aristophanes and those  desires for dignity and freedom found their source.

So, yes,  I’m all in favor for a Market Basket movie. Who would play ATD?. Ah,  Nicolas Cage.

Robert Scott  is a psychologist,  consultant, writer,  Republican Party activist and former  New Hampshire state representative.  He  lives in Newport, N.H.