Eurosong Diplomacy

31 May 10

It takes an event of global importance for this blog to come to life. Fortunately for the South Eastern European blogosphere (and world peace in general), this interruption is brought to you by this year Eurovision song contest.

Eurovision has been, for decades now, much more than just a parade of poor taste and cheesy ring-tone music. Only last year Eurosong caused a minor diplomatic incident when the winning nation (and it is the entire nation that claims the victory in this competition) felt insulted by tongue in cheek scurrilous tongue reporting by The Guardian.

I am an ardent follower of Eurosong, which comes as no surprise given that Serbia, ever since it won in 2007, has a “take no prisoner” approach to this competition.

The reasoning is somewhere among these lines: Given all the injustices committed against Serbs over the years, each “national” success, like a sports or Eurosong victory, goes to prove just how maltreated we are and will force powerful introspection upon the rest of the world about the role of Serbia and its people.

However, ever since the victory of Marija Serifovic a few years back, Serbian entries were received mildly by Europe. This has been both painfull to the nation as a whole, as well as to our publicly funded television station: RTS, which takes great pride in the 2008 Eurosong which was organized in Belgrade, and would like to repeat that success.

To remedy the problem, the people in charge decided to commission Goran Bregovic to create the winning Eurosong entry. Bregovic was picked for this because he is in business of selling diluted Serbian Roma music to the world, and the reasoning was that he would come up with a recipe for victory.

Bregovic wrote a song of utter imbecility. The lyrics are a string of meaningless terms (Belgrade, Balkans, kissing, howitzer) and repetition of “three times”. The singer is the latest turbo folk wunderkid, whose main quality is his unusual hair cut which prompted this unusually long debate on his sexuality.

This Cohenian act (to quote an anonymous contributor: music by Borat, performance by Bruno) of trumpets and falsetto was to represent Serbia in Oslo – and like for other Eastern Europeans, a way to instant national glory.

Before the act, another diplomatic fuck up took place: just before each song, a dotted representation of respective country’s geographical shape appeared before dispersing in thin air. In order to avoid dealing with the issue of whether or not Kosovo should be drawn on the Serbian map, the organizers just showed a lump of dots not really resembling any map at all.

Still, our exaggerated act took place normally. To me, the song was no better or worse than most other entries to Eurovision. Like most other songs that night, it was over-complicated for a song, it was kitsch, it was hard to place in any particular genre of music and it was definitely something that you would never appear on any radio’s play-list.

I was really hoping for two outcomes: either the song would win and we would get a circus back in our town, or the song would be dead last and would silence its creators for a while. Neither happened – the song was placed 13th – right at the place were no introspection of any sort will happen. Neither the world will rethink their prejudice against Serbs nor the Serbs will rethink their priorities, and perhaps place them in spheres of individual’s life.

A mockney song by Germany won instead and somehow I doubt that Germany will be in the same profound state of trans in which Serbia would be if it won. In the country such as Serbia, where there is very little personal success and achievements are few and far in between, a collective victory goes a long way in helping feel good about oneself .

At least we have another shot at the World Cup…

Leave a comment

  1. Rupert Wolfe Murray
    Jun 1, 04:23 PM #

    Before feeling sick and retiring to bed I was wondering who to vote for in the Eurovision: it was a toss up betweeen Serbia and Russia for me and for some reason I cant really explain I went for the Serbs. I think it was the singers charisma

  2. Arianit
    Jun 2, 04:37 PM #

    Should we mention that Marija is also a Roma and lesbian? Thank you!

  3. ana-maria
    Jun 2, 06:58 PM #

    I don’t think Milan’s quality is his haircut. He has a wonderful voice and I almost didn’t listen to the song when I saw his haircut. Even though I don’t get his look I guess the fact that it raises controversy, of any kind, is a very good thing. Another debate is weather Milan is copying a korean pop singer. The fact that asian fanatics are talking about an eastern european singer seems very funny to me. I am romanian and the only thing I knew about Serbia (to my shame), was the Kosovo conflict. But now I also know about Milan Stankovic. And I am on your blog reading your post because I googled Milan :)). And after reading it I realized that serbs and romanians share some common ideas.

  4. Philipp
    Jun 3, 11:52 AM #

    I must add that Germany INDEED was and is in a profound state of party – and most people still cannot believe it. You must bear in mind that in the ESC, songs do not always win for their quality – they win for having faithful neighbouring countries donating their 12 points (hello to Greece and Cyprus), they win for giving the best show of the evening (Halleluja, Lordi!) or the biggest tits (remember Ukraine? Turkey?). In Germany, since 1982, people kept living with the impression that no matter if we send quality or shit, we will never win. For the sole fact that we’re Germans and for the fact that we represent a somewhat uneasy history. – Something that Serbs should be able to understand by now. Seeing that we can indeed win a competition that is based on spontaneous sympathy rather than own hard work and a little luck, has left this country emotionally stirred up in the most wonderful way. And for 2011, we promise, we’ll deliver the best show since the soccer world championships when all of Germany was a huge peaceful party zone.

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