CNBC: 'America! Here’s what to expect from your first Eurovision song contest'

May 13, 2016

Robert Deam Tobin, Henry J. Leir Chair in Language, Literature and Culture at Clark, was quoted in a CNBC article about the role of European politics in the popular Eurovision song contest, which will be broadcast to an American audience for the first time on Saturday.

Here, an excerpt:

"Eurovision may strictly prohibit politics, but it somehow seems to find its way into the competition. For 2016, Eurovision's 'Come Together' theme hopes to promote unity, yet topics such as the refugee crisis and Russia could impact this. Russia's entry, Sergey Lazarev with 'You are the only one' is seen as one of 2016's favorites, like last's year's runner-up, Polina Gagarina. However, tensions are known to arise, with 'anti-booing' technology reportedly put in place in 2015, to mask any potential jeering during Gagarina's performance. Ukraine's Jamala is singing '1944,' which is believed to be about Stalin's mass deportation of the Tatars and incorporates a phrase about building a 'future where people are free to live and love'; a song that has sparked controversy in Russia.

"'Because of the strong showing of Russia and Ukraine, the most clear political lineage is the question of how to handle Russia and its relationship to Europe,' Robert Deam Tobin, Henry J. Leir Chair in Language Literature and Culture at Clark University, told CNBC via email. 'The refugee crisis is there a little more subtly, in the form of strong appeals to multiculturalism in many of the performances (as indicated by France and Germany, for instance). Brexit is, perhaps surprisingly, not explicitly there, but the hope for a unified Europe undergirds the competition,' Tobin added."