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Eurovision

The Eurovision Song Contest was held this evening in Rotterdam. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s the annual competition that launched ABBA into the stratosphere in the 1970s, and was the subject of the wonderful movie starring Rachel McAdams and Will Ferrell last year.

While I wasn’t surprised at the outcome of the competition itself, I was surprised at the reaction to the outcome by a number of people I know.

Before getting around to that, it’s worth noting that in my mind the Eurovision Song Contest has some significant problems.

Because of the number of countries now involved, “Semi Finals” are held – meaning many of the more original bands are filtered out by juries of “professionals” that select the finalists. Unfortunately those juries tend to vote politically – meaning that neighbouring countries vote for each other.

Thankfully half of the vote in the finals is made up by a public vote – which often redresses the balance – but it’s too late for the bands that have already been removed from the competition by the afore mentioned biased juries.

There’s a damning phrase about committees (called juries in this case) – “designed by committee” often means the end result is a watered down mess that nobody actually wanted, but they are willing to live with if it means they don’t have to do anything more.

Getting back to the actual subject of this post, I headed to Facebook and Twitter after the competition finished, and started reading people’s reactions. I was stunned.

“The winner was terrible – nowhere near as good as (insert winner from 30 years ago)”

“Everyone in Europe hates us – what do you expect?”

“Most of the music was terrible – nothing I would ever listen to!”

“Did you see what half of them were wearing? I would be embarrassed!”

I could go on – for quite some time.

I suppose I’m just surprised (and not surprised at all) about the blinkered, insular view that seems to be so prevalent throughout a wide cross-section of people here.

So many people seem to think that their opinions are shared by the majority, because they are shared by the small circle of people that re-inforce their often bigoted, prejudiced, narrow minded, racist, sexist, or outdated opinions on music, fashion, style, culture, and everything in-between.

The social networks have a part to play in this of course – I’ve written about this before – about the algorithmic timeline surrounding people with concordant views. It’s dangerous. Unless we are challenged, we do not learn or grow. Plato wrote about it sixteen hundred years go in his “Allegory of the Cave”. It seems many people still haven’t learned.

How do I turn this around?

Perhaps with the admission that our entry into the competition was really, really awful – and that I loved many of the more spirited, individual acts that performed throughout this year’s show.

I just wish there were a few more people with open minds, and open hearts taking notice of the direction the world is headed, who might make a quiet stand against it with me.

20 replies on “Eurovision”

It’s frustrating, isn’t it. I suppose the worst thing is the prejudice seems to be a generational thing – where the older people get, the more they feel free to spout small minded nonsense.

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Yes, it is. And sadly, it’s going to get more frustrating because people do not care what they say. Yes, I understand. Say what you feel. Is there any consideration to others no and how your “statement could damage someone? You’re right. I have noticed that as well the older people get, the ruder they are. Sad how society is getting. And over something like this.

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Oh gosh, I’m such a provincial American, I have never heard of Eurovision. I mean, perhaps somewhere in the back of my mind, but not much. I’ve never seen it. I do have family and friends in Europe who were posting about it today, and thus I was aware, but I haven’t seen any of it. I have read Plato’s allegory of the cave, many times, and I think it is a perfect description of social media and how circular it can be.

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You are absolutely on the money on this. I agree with all your observations. I watched the contest and yes the end results are often not a reflection of the most deserving contestants because sadly politics dominates the landscape but for me it is about the music and the British entry was poor. Didn’t think much of the song but the singer perhaps due to nerves was out of tune more than once. Italy was not amazing enough either to win it and quite frankly my joy at their victory ended when I saw footage of the lead sniffing a line of cocaine at the table. Not the greatest example for the millions of younger people watching for one thing.

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I didn’t see that footage. Surely that should have been grounds for immediate disqualification? I just think it’s a shame that Molly Sanden wasn’t there to sing Husavik – at least one of the actors from the movie delivered the Icelandic vote, and demanded they play Ja Ja Ding Dong 🙂

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Yeah I wasn’t in on the joke from the Icelandic Vote guy. Didn’t see the movie. Re cocaine, you can see the footage on my Twitter timeline from yesterday but I’m sure it’s all over YouTube by now. It was pretty unmistakable.

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I love Eurovison but for some reason we always seem to stand out like a sore thumb. We never seem to embrace the spirit of the occasion like other countries do (apart from Scooch?!) I cringed at Amanda Holden and I loved the lady in the blue dress (Sweden?) getting a brush down as much as Graham Norton did. I thought I’d imagined the Italian singer being nudged by his mate as the camera caught him seemingly snorting a line but it looks like another of your readers saw it too 😱 Great post!

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It’s a shame – the semi finals have removed much of what was great about Eurovision – those that were willing to challenge the status quo – to be different – to stand out. It’s all become quite bland and boring as a result. If the jury voting was removed, it would be transformed.

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I didn’t think much of the UK entry nor the winner and my fave was Greece.

You’re right that there is a high proportion of small minded people on social media. I keep noticing this. Often I’m best staying out of a small minded “debate” on facebook, or somewhere lol.

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The band “Europe” came out of Eurovision as well. Actually, I believe their winning song was “Final Countdown”. Since those days, music has taken a different direction. Not one I agree with, but my parents said the same thing about my generation’s music.

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The band “Europe” are not connected to the Eurovision song contest at all – they have never taken part in it. They *did* take part in a TV competition in Sweden in the early 80s – but the band formed several years before that. Final Countdown was their breakthrough single, but again – nothing to do with the song contest.

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