Sunday, May 11, 2014

Oh Europe

The Eurovision song contest has been held and the most popular act across the continent was a bearded Austrian gay man in drag, calling himself "Conchita Wurst" (this name being a play on words to refer to female and male genitalia).

Here is the winner:


Mr Wurst appealed for support by drawing on the liberal principles that currently dominate Western thought:
"I created this bearded lady to show the world that you can do whatever you want," said Wurst, the drag persona of 25-year-old Austrian singer Tom Neuwirth, at a recent press conference in Copenhagen.

"If you're not hurting anyone you can do whatever you like with your life and, it's so cheesy, but we've only got one (life)," she added.

He's right that what he does fits in well with liberalism. Liberalism says that what matters is that I choose autonomously for myself what I am and what I do: that I am to self-determine or self-create my own being and identity and that this is what creates meaning or purpose in life.

If that is true, then Conchita Wurst is a better person than the rest of us as he/she is not "limited" by the sex identity that he/she was born with, but has played creatively to mix and match it.

But I don't think it's true at all. There is an emptiness at the heart of liberalism; the assumption is that there is nothing "already there" in life that has intrinsic meaning or value, so the only thing that we can do is to assert such value through acts of unfettered will. But that's lame. Why should we think that the assertion of individual will creates value?

The alternative view is that we fulfil one part of self and identity by being strongly connected to our masculinity (if we are men) or femininity (if women). If we reflect on who we are, and part of the instinctive answer is "I am a man" and that we then have a sense of what is essentially meaningful within masculinity, then we are on track with that one life that we have. It then becomes something to admire if a man is able to represent in his nature and in the way he acts a higher masculine personality.

But what if someone has grown up confused in their identity? My own view is that that is something to be regretted, as a loss of connection between self, identity and objective value. It doesn't mean that that individual can't find other points of significance in life elsewhere, but it's not something to cheer on.

8 comments:

  1. There's a part of me that still believes this is part of some very general society wide adolescent phase.

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  2. Not particularly surprising as Eurovision has a large LGBT following. It's the type of thing that gay people like because it's camp.

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  3. Eurovision, and large part of media world in general are a freak shows. In 1950 12% of US citizens agreed with the sentence: "I am a very important person". In the late 1990's 90% agreed. This same narcissist trend can be seen in Europe. To these kind of people it is all about I, me and myself. According to traditional Christianity the most important thing in life is what you do for others, the self is a side issue. What you do in this life to others defines yourself, and it is a gateway to the afterlife.

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  4. That looks my Greek aunty! Auntie Voula, is that you?

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  5. Mr. Richardson. I sent this to The Thinking Housewife. Hope it draws a smile. Buck.

    Laura,
    It seems, as far as I can tell within my limited awareness, that when we don't concentrate real hard (or use an auto-bot correction program), or care, we will lapse into the appearance of soft tolerance or acceptance, even when we fully intend not to. Over time, I'm convinced, our collective lapses will degrade into a wide tolerance and acquiescent approval.
    "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages." says, one of Shakespeare's characters. Is that what Shakespeare actually thought?
    Tennessee Williams said of the actors taught by Lee Strasberg, who is considered the best-ever teacher of actors, and "father of method acting"; that "They act from the inside out. They communicate emotions [that] they really feel. They give you a sense of life."
    I understand the idea of drawing from personal experience to generate your characters required emotion, but it's still make-believe. Actors pretend to believe, to think, to do and to be what they are not; and to be convincing, even if they hate or disagree with or don't even understand the sentiment that they need to portray.
    Tom Neuwirth is not Conchita Wurst. Tom Neuwirth's act is Conchita Wurst.
    "Wurst’s song of ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ has been compared to a Shirley Bassey James Bond-theme and it’s not surprising that she was able to pull off such a haunting performance."
    Do we live in such an increasingly graying world that we can't make the effort to make the profound distinction between fact and fiction, when the whole purpose of our discussing it is to do so, because the larger audience no longer cares? Neela Debnath of the Independent.co.uk writes "she" in reference to "Wurst's...haunting performance". Is it Wurst's or Neuwirth's performance? Does it depend? Is it subjective? Debnath didn't bother to be precise, because there is no need to be. For whose benefit? Neela Debnath knows that it is a male performing the song as a female. But, why be a killjoy? Conchita Wurst is bringing the joy, not the sad, pathetic Tom Neuwirth. Wait. Which is it?
    I always look forward to entries and comments by Henry McCulloch. No exception here. He always brings and interesting perspective. Not once does he misstep as he navigates through the muddle of he/she/him/her/Tom/Conchita (s). Bravo.
    Here's an example of the muddle of language that troubles me {I'm not really a grammar Nazi or spell Nazi, and certainly I'm not that proficient at writing, but this won't let go of me. Mark Richardson, with whom I've discussed this (gay, gender, etc.), places, in my opinion, insufficient importance on the command and use of certain terms, which I argue is very important if we are to deploy the few tactics that we have. If the effort to recapture and command the use of terms captured and held hostage by modern liberals, then a strict adherence to their defense of use, is not too late or irrelevant, unless what I often hear about a distant, hopeful future is false.}:
    Mr Wurst appealed for support by drawing on the liberal principles that currently dominate Western thought:
    "I created this bearded lady to show the world that you can do whatever you want," said Wurst, the drag persona of 25-year-old Austrian singer Tom Neuwirth, at a recent press conference in Copenhagen.

    "If you're not hurting anyone you can do whatever you like with your life and, it's so cheesy, but we've only got one (life)," she added.

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  6. "Mr. Wurst"? OK. He has me looking down the rabbit hole. I need to get my flashlight. He continues:
    He's [ Mr. Wurst? ] right that what he does fits in well with liberalism. Liberalism says that what matters is that I choose autonomously for myself what I am and what I do: that I am to self-determine or self-create my own being and identity and that this is what creates meaning or purpose in life.

    If that is true, then Conchita Wurst is a better person than the rest of us as he/she is not "limited" by the sex identity that he/she was born with, but has played creatively to mix and match it.
    "Conchita Wurst is a...person..., born with" a sexual identity? "He/she"? Perhaps Mark Richardson is having some creative fun. Certainly I get and agree with the point that he makes so well. Hopefully, the three identities that he refers to will look out for each others well-being.
    Buck

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  7. Another news from France: <>

    http://www.thelocal.fr/20140514/french-schoolboys-asked-to-wear-skirts-to-class

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    Replies
    1. Eugene, thanks. I think the radical liberals have made a mighty mistake in choosing this option. I might post on this later.

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