Metafilter loves Eurovision.
And who doesn't? It is campy silly fun. But this year, Azerbaijan is hosting. Can this annual celebration of pop still be a good time when the host country is a dictatorship?
In the past decade, many post-Soviet states have joined Eurovision and the contest has changed.
While Western and Northern Europeans view it as a joke (although with a strong preteen and gay following), the post-Soviet states see the competition as a matter of national pride.
Last year, newcomer Azerbaijan spent a great deal of money on a catchy pop song
produced by famous Swedish pop producers and won.
Azerbaijan is a Muslim petrostate that has grown more authoritarian each year. (Long summaries here
[full disclosure, I am the author of one of the chapters of this book], short summary here
Azerbaijan has spent over $700 billion
to prepare for the competition, with much
of the construction funds benefiting the president's family. Hundreds of families were forcibly evicted from their homes to make room for Eurovision infrastructure.
Some ask why
or are drawing attention to a
[full disclosure I am a co-author on this piece] country with
such a bad human rights record and lack of media freedom is allowed to host the event.
The German media's critiques of this behavior have angered
Azerbaijan. In the past week, the British papers have started to post similar articles. (Linked above.)
Many questions remain - will any of the Eurovision viewers care? Will this have any effect on the human rights situation? How will visiting LGBT Eurovision fans be treated?