Sunday, March 04, 2007


In the society created by Ray Bradbury in his novel Fahrenheit 451 most books are banned and critical thought is suppressed. The job of the central character is to act as a fireman or book burner; the novel is named for the temperature at which paper catches fire and burns.

According to Wikipedia the novel "reflects several major concerns of the time of its writing: what Bradbury has called 'the thought-destroying force' of censorship in the 1950s, the book-burnings in Nazi Germany starting in 1933, Stalin's suppression of authors and books in the Soviet Union, and the horrible consequences of an explosion of a nuclear weapon. 'I meant all kinds of tyrannies anywhere in the world at any time, right, left, or middle', Bradbury has said."

Today the book burners are in charge of the Eurovision Song Contest and they are readying to follow suit - Israel's Eurovision entry faces ban.

Kjell Ekholm, an organiser of the contest, has indicated that one particular entry, "Push the Button", might be banned because of its 'inappropriate' political message.

And what’s 'inappropriate' about the message of the song sung in English, French and Hebrew by the Israeli group Teapacks?

It seems that the lyrics of this song which refer to "demonic" and "crazy rulers", and which uses the words "he's gonna blow us up to … kingdom come" refer indirectly to Iran's nuclear ambitions and to its maniac leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The band members however, have denied that the song is about Iran.

But even if it was about Iran, is there anything inappropriate about a contemporary protest song warning about the dangers of what Bradbury called "the horrible consequences of the explosion of a nuclear weapon"? Is this the only song entered in the competition's fifty-two year history of popular and folk songs that addresses issues critical to the existence modern society?

Was last year's winner, the monster rock group Lordi - ironically from Ekholm's native Finland - and whose lyrics said: "On the day of Rockoning/It's who dares, wins/You will see the jokers soon'll be the new kings" any more appropriate?

One wonders if the fireman, would be reacting differently if the entry came from Bosnia and Herzegovina or perhaps from Lithuania which provided last year's sixth placegetter, a song called "We Are the Winners" and described in one place as "the seminal protest song"?


Andrew said...

Greece entered a song in 1976 which told the story of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and the demolishing of the island by the Turkish armies who "sow death and destuction everywhere they go".

It wasn't banned.

This is just a poor excuse by the fireman to ban Israel for any excuse he can find.

Here are the words of "Push the Button" -

The world is full of terror,
If someone makes an error,
He's gonna blow us up to biddy biddy kingdom come,
There are some crazy rulers they hide and try to fool us,
With demonic, technologic willingness to harm,
They're gonna push the button,
push the button push the bu,
push the bu push the button
And I don't want to die,
I want to see the flowers bloom,
Don't want a go capoot ka boom,
And I don't want to cry,
I wanna have a lot of fun,
Just sitting in the sun ...

Does that sound inappropriate to anyone?

Anonymous said...

In 1982 the Finnish entry was a very political song solely about bombs, and nobody had a problem with that. Maybe because the bombs they feared weren't Iranian but American.
Yet again Israel is singled out.
Please expose this hypocrisy.

Enclosed is a link to the (very poorly translated) words to the Finnish entry back in 1982.
The song title literally means "Sleep while bombs are falling" ie to be unaware of imminent danger and/or oversleep.
And here's the hilariously inept video for the song