First of all, there is an addendum to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, for Thomas Schreiber, the guy in charge of entertainment at the public TV channel ARD and therefore ultimately responsible for the German entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, blames the poor performance of German contestant Cascada not on the fact that the song was crap, never mind a blatant copy of last year’s winner, nor on the rather unfortunate outfit of singer Natalie Horler but on Angela Merkel of all people. Now if Angela Merkel had actually written or sung the German entry “Glorious” (The mental image is now stuck in my head), Schreiber might be correct. However, his reasoning for blaming Merkel is that her strict austerity policy has made many people particularly in Southern Europe hate Germany and so they decided to punish us by… voting for a Danish waif, an Ukrainian siren carried by a giant and a cute Azerbaijani guy in a glass box instead of Cascada. Sure, right.
So how does he explain that Spain, one of the countries hit hard by austerity measures, gave Germany three points (okay, those were probably due to German holidaymakers in Spain). Or that Israel – not affected by austerity measures, but a country with every reason not to like Germany – gave Cascada six points. Or that the Netherlands, another country in favour of strict austerity measures, made it into the top ten. Nope, the reason for the German Eurovision failure is far simpler. The song was crap and a blatant copy of last year’s winner. And the only one the ARD has to blame is themselves and their so-called “expert jury” which caused a song no one wanted (the expert jury had favoured a different song altogether) to be nominated.
By the way, I heard the delightful Greek entry “Alcohol is free” on the radio today. I’ve not yet heard the forgettable Danish waif who won on the radio yet nor Cascada’s insipid song for that matter.
That’s it for Eurovision and now on to feminism:
At A Dribble of Ink, Kameron Hurley has a great guest post how the prevalent “woman as appendix of some man” narrative is wrong, because women have always done pretty everything, including such supposedly male provinces as fighting and going to war.
For Books Sake has a great post by Rebecca Winson in which she reminds us how subversive Jane Austen or the Brontes really were and asks – in reference to the (usually male) trolls that plague every article and blogpost about or by women writers – whether feminists aren’t the true trolls, since feminist writing is all about subverting the status quo, while those comment trolls are just pitiful wannabes.
Talking of woman centered genres, The Atlantic jumps on the “chick lit is dead” bandwagon and declares that the replacement is something they dub “farm lit”, books about women who leave the big city to enjoy the simple life in the country with a hunky cowboy or rancher. The conclusion the article draws from this is that simple country life, hunky cowboys and flat shoes are more suited to the current economic situation than stiletto heels and martinis and going clubbing in the big city. Never mind that chick lit was never just about stiletto heels and martinis and going clubbing, but about a young woman in the big city finding her place in the world. And such stories have been with us for far longer than since the mid 1990s. Check out this fimic example from 1928 starring a very young Joan Crawford. And they will be with us in some form for a long time yet. Indeed, the “young woman tries to find her place in the world” aspect of chick lit seems to have transferred to the so-called new adult genre, a name that’s even stupider than chick lit, which takes omse doing. Only that new adult fiction seems to have lost much of the humour that characterized chick lit, much to its detriment IMO.
As for stories about women, usually slightly older than the typical chick lit heroine, finding happiness, romance and domestic bliss while renovating cottages and baking cupcakes in the country – duh, those stories have been around for a long time as well. Harlequin has whole lines dedicated to finding domestic bliss with a hot and preferably rich rancher. In the UK, the books about people renovating cottages in the countryside have been mixed in with the single girl in the big city novels for years now and they’re all called chick lit and all packaged with graphic covers. And in Germany, there were complaints about a glut of books about renovating Tuscan villas more than ten years ago, i.e. while chick lit still ruled supreme. Indeed – going for another filmic example – the delightful Christmas in Connecticut from 1945 could be considered an early example of the trend – and indeed a lot more feminist than many latter examples, which takes some doing in traditionally sexist Hollywood.
Finally, let’s get back to music: In memoriam of The Doors keyboarder Ray Manzarek, who died of cancer aged 74, I offer you this wonderful clip from the German TV program kulturzeit, in which Ray Manzarek explains how Riders on the Storm came about – with musical examples.