Europe’s silly soirée

Sometimes people mock me for loving Eurovision, bringing out the usual guns: “The songs are so bad”, ”The Balkans always vote for each other”, and “It is just so silly”. But if that is how you think about Eurovision, then I feel you are completely missing the point.

The history of Europe is what you might call a bloody mess. Since the beginning of nation states, we have had wars, genocides, revolutions and political ideologies of varying evil. In truth, there have only been two periods of relative peace: the Pax Romana of yonder, led by the fists of the Roman emperors, and the current Pax Europa, administered by bureaucrats.

But what does an annual competition of mediocrity have to do with the horrors of our continent, you may ask. It’s the beauty of being silly.

Once every year, the different nations of Europe gather around their television sets, from Azerbaijan in the east, to Iceland in the west. Feelings of serious conflicts and past grievances are exchanged for a happy rivalry saturated with glitter. We take our minds off grave international politics and focus instead on how cute that Norwegian man with the violin is, or how much skin the competitor from Greece is showing.

So it is every year that we set aside real difference and start fighting about silliness and about who can make the best bad song.

Read more in our special Eurovision section.