This editorial is written from the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the other editors, the EBU or escYOUnited as a whole.
During my tenure with ESC United, I have spent a lot of time advocating for the Eurovision fans (recent examples here and here). As previously noted, they are an integral part of the ESC community, promoting the event more than any traditional media ever could. However, it stops today.
We do not stand united. Rather than celebrating the diversity of our musical interests, we rather attack one another on forums and comment boards. Rather than letting these stay as safe spaces for Eurovision fans to express their opinions, people take it as an opportunity to personally attack one another. Not liking one’s taste in music seems to equates to more hating their even existence; and if you dare to not to like a country’s song, you are accused of hating the country and its citizens all together.
At the same time, there is lack of self-censorship in which people feel it is okay to spew outlandish whoppers. People crying about not being allowed to like “Fast Food” music guilt free and saying Eurovision is ruined because one artist made an off-the-cuff remark as he stood unprepared to give a victory speech. People spreading xenophobic messages simply because a French duo were inspired by the birth of a migrant child as her mother sought a better life for them. Quite frankly, I am sick of it.
But I am to blame as well. As much I wish I could say that I could simply avoid reading the message boards and comments sections, there is a part of me that keeps going back to see if things can get any more ridiculous. This Eurovision season, my wish came true. And sadly, a part of me thinks the comments sections remain because the websites know that a good number of clicks they receive may be to simply follow the shit-show.
When did we lose what made us human? The ability to de-escalate conflict and simply accept differences in musical taste? The ability to feel sympathy and empathy for those who do not have the privileges that we have, be it because we were born or live in countries that provide for us? As I wrote this, I also thought about how can I help to be part of the solution. Perhaps, this editorial is my start.
There is a boiling point that has reached its peak and all of us are accountable. As fans, we need to better hold those spreading some vitriolic Eurovision hate accountable. As members of the Eurovision media, we need to better monitor our websites. Obviously, no section can be completely controlled, but a good set of rules or standard practices are integral (such as those provided on our own forum).
And for us as we review songs, we have to be careful to make sure we make it about the songs and never personal attacks against the artists. We never know when we are being watched (my reaction at the Semi-Final 1 qualifiers in Kyiv last year – sarcastic claps and all – is a great example of that; yes, I too, need to do better).
Let’s take a moment to imagine ourselves in the artists’ shoes. It takes so much courage to put oneself out there and to be judged by the masses. Many of these artists are still relatively new to the business, still learning the steps. We should be supportive and help them use Eurovision as a stepping stone to nurture and enrich their musical identity, not hide behind our computer screens attacking them.
We have to do better. Because let’s be honest. The artists may not be following every Eurovision website, but I guarantee you that someone from their press team is. A delegation that feels slighted by a website or its readership will not give it any access whatsoever. And I would not blame them. Not being a jerk provides a lot of goodwill, not just when it comes to Eurovision, but life in general. #lifelessons2018
What do #YOU think? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE, or join the discussion on social media and below!