The Null Device
Eurovision explained, by a blogger/sociologist type. You know, I may have to watch/tape the replay next weekend.
The songs themselves have evolved in interesting ways. Diggi-loo Diggi-ley represents the high-point of the nonsense-chorus Eurovision song, designed to appeal to the multi-lingual audience. This lowest common denominator approach produced successes throughout the first thirty years of the contest, including such classics as Boom-Bang-a-Bang (UK), Ding Dinge Dong (Netherlands), A-ba-ni-bi (Israel) and of course Diggey-loo Diggi-ley. (I promise I am not making these up.)
The breakup of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union in the 1990s caused all kinds of problems for the contest (too many countries) but also injected a fresh dose of bad taste. Countries like Slovenia, Estonia and Romania can use odd native instruments to produce Euro-Heritage songs, and also have the advantage of being 10 or 20 years behind the rest of the world in terms of popular music genres.
The winners of the nerve.com Bad Erotica Contest, a sort of specialised version of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, only devoted to bad erotic prose, of the sort more suited to inspiring laughter (and possibly celibacy) than lust.
His wiry hands grasped desperately at her continental breasts, his breath coming hoarse and urgent, like a sailor onboard ship first spotting a sea-cow. "Oh, Marija!" he panted.
Was the UK's catastrophic loss in the Eurovision contest the result of European resentment of Britain's strong ties to the U.S.? The Graun suggests it might be. But what is Britain (the birthplace of laissez-faire capitalism, spiritual home of the Anglosphere and to America what Greece was to Rome) doing hanging around with those cheese-eating communist surrender monkeys in the first place?
Perhaps this is a clear sign that a closer union between Britain and the E.U. is a bad idea, and Britain (most of whose economy is run from the U.S. anyway) doesn't belong amongst the Euroweenies and should, in the immortal words of Vanilla Ice, ditch the zero and get with the hero: sever its ties with Brussels, make the pound sterling a denomination of the Greenback and seek union with the mainland of America. (Mind you, chances are only the crackpot fringe of the Conservative Party would actually advocate that; Washington certainly wouldn't, as London is useful for relaying orders to Brussels where it is right now. Besides, if Britons got the vote in Congress, they may object to their island being used as a missile shield for the continental 48 states and such, or even push to abolish the death penalty, liberalise drug laws, restrict assault rifle ownership or do other such outlandishly un-American things. 59 million new Americans would tend to skew things quite a bit, and possibly even threaten the Republicans' winning streak.)
And now, some answers to the timeless question of what does "fo' shizzle my nizzle" mean: (via MeFi)
Originated in medival England in the 17th century, this phrase has changed in meaning completely, from the orignal shorthand denotation of "Alas! An advasary has come upon us! To the catupults!" to the modern definition of "Please grease up my penis."
nah, ya'lls know dat dis chea' mean, "for sure my endearing African-American acquaintance".
Numerous commentators have pointed out that the phrase is considered offensive when used by white people. Though aren't most people who say "fo' shizzle my nizzle" white suburban kids in big yellow shorts?
China's Internet censorship regime, with its Cisco-powered "great firewall" and armies of censors waging relentless war on criticism, is often cited as disproof of the old cyber-utopian saw that the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it; its apparent success against all odds has undoubtedly been heartening to other proponents of keeping a firm hand, from Singapore to Cuba, and from Saudi Arabia to our own Senator Alston. But as Reporters Without Borders investigator Gao Zheng is finding out (through a form of controlled forum trolling), the censors' grip is slipping:
Gao provisionally rates every bit of text on a scale of 1 to 10 before he posts it. His initial "sensitivity" rating is usually a good indication of the time the posting will last on the public area of the news site. A "1" is something totally unthreatening, while a "10" would be lucky to get online at all and would remain for just minutes if it did.
"Look at this one," Gao says, pointing to another comment made by a user on Sina.com some hours before. "It says, 'Why arent we protesting in the streets against this war like other countries are doing and like we did after the U.S. bombing of our embassy in Yugoslavia?'" "Its been there for several hours already. Surprising it would be allowed to stay so long. I mean, this isnt just foreign policy chitchat; this is a call for people to go out into the streets. This is an eight or a nine, certainly. Very dangerous."