While I hate the term 'guilty pleasure', for the reasons elaborated by Chuck Klosterman, the term does fit the very particular pleasure I get from this event. But its not pure camptastic; there is also the wounded national pride (which I also try to hide), the deep gratitude one feels when we Scandinavians again send some love each other's way. While I tend to, rhetorically at least, proclaim my love for the event in a-political terms, this only concerns the first part of the event.
In the first part - the part with the musical performances - I indulge in outdatedness of the whole thing: the big dresses, the weird historical re-visits to pop-music long passé. And, of course, the BIG feelings: one of the defining things of camp after all is that it is art which presents itself so seriously, art which tries so hard, so earnest, but cannot be taken altogether serious. Susan Sontag described it as 'failed seriousness'. When Sweden enter a girl who takes a ballad way to serious (and the background music is sorta up-tempo Euro-techno, it is funny in the campy way.)
The second part, the voting part, for me is less about indulging the senses and more about interpreting and analyzing the results; explaining, as it were, the possible motivations and reasons for the various tendencies. To those who don't know, political voting has sorta been curtailed in that now, SMS-voting by the public only counts for 50%, the latter 50 being determined by professional national juries. This makes the votes less difficult to 'determine' by the geopolitically interested Eurovision fanatic.
Still, 50% is still something, and what I am wondering is whether or not Europe will embrace Greece or rather dismiss them because of what has happened, with the bailout and whatnot? I, for one, am really curious.
That's one other reason to be interested in Eurovision. Not only because it is the most fantastically silly television event known to man, but also because it - not the EU parliamentary elections - is the most obvious example of a European public sphere. This is when and where we actually reveal how we (the Europeans) feel about each other.
The big favorite for many is the German entry, yet Germany usually never get any love in Eurovision (then again, they usually send bull####, though I loved their performance last year - Europe didn't agree with me). Denmark's entry actually really catchy. Its starts out with an almost ripoff of The Police and 'Every Breath You Take' in the intro, goes into an ABBA thing in the middle part, and goes Tina Turner "" in the chores. But visually its weird; the guy is tall, has huge curls and supposedly is a big name in Eastern Europe, whist the Girl is small. Can't tell if it’s cute or just weird.
And here in a language we all understand, namely odds: http://www.online-betting-guide.co.uk/eurovision.htm
Yeah, I agree. In some ways, Eurovision is the pinnacle of the 'European idea'. Without wanting to sound too dramatic here, but I really do feel that the night of Eurovision is the one time every year when all of our different cultures and languages truly feel like we're part of something bigger, no matter how silly that something may be.
Mantus, I wondered yesterday evening, did you ever check into voting behavior towards Israel? In some ways, I'd imagine countries like Turkey and other countries with a large muslim presence wouldn't give high votes to Israel regardless of the material (and vice versa to some extent). Then again, you can't vote against candidates in Eurovision, so a bias against certain countries may be harder to pin down than preferences (like the perennial Scandinavian back pats).