I do not remember exactly when I first became aware of the contest, but I do remember that my British husband was dismissive. This from a man who knew all the words to all the songs in The Sound of Music! Immediately, I loved the politics of it, as evidenced in the bloc voting, the ethic performances and song lyrics.
This year the UK was punished for Brexit. Did the British expect to be anything other than the only nation to receive a total of zero points from both juries and publics when it trounced the spirit of Eurovision? In fact, every country that competes in Eurovision should join the European Union. This is what I very provocatively said to former Lithuanian President Landsbergis when I moderated the UM’s Ambassadors Lecture Series. He looked blankly at me as if I were unhinged.
Ok, maybe such a union would make things worse. But forums that bring nation-states together to wrangle out their differences in song is a great idea. Let the Ukrainians and the Russians fight out their discrepancies with eerie trees, furry green arms and dancing babushkas. Let Serbia showcase raucous ladies of the night in blond, brunette and red-haired versions. I prefer all of these competitive moves over the more violent ones these countries have shown they are capable of meting out. Plus, encourage Turkey to come back. We should do all we can to counter Turkey’s increasing authoritarianism and moves away from Europe.
Sioux Falls Calling
Which brings me to the title of this column. In texting with one of my former students, who is Italian, congratulating her on her nation’s win, I said the U.S. should have a contest between all 50 states, to fight the culture wars with songs and not attacks on the Capitol. Her response was “But they will have one in 2022!” Glorious! You could see New York going totally Broadway musical, Kentucky pumping-out Blue Grass, Washington state sending a Grunge band and Louisiana tooting out jazz. My native South Dakota might have fight on its hands though, with the west half of the state listening to country music while in the east one finds lovers of Rock & Roll.
Still, fighting over songs is so much better than fighting over gun laws or who has the right to vote. Let the songs begin!