Two days ago, I declared on social media that I felt compelled to watch this edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Not because I wished to endorse genocide in any form, but because, as a philosopher and writer, I was intrigued to observe it as it began to peak in interest. I did not regret this decision, for it turned out to be the most bizarre Eurovision of all times.

From the start, what made this festival the most twisted ever was the statement by the European Broadcasting Union that Eurovision is not a political event and—note this—in the very next breath, they announced that Israel had to modify its entry because this is supposedly not a political event. Let that sink in.

Of course, the absence of Belarus or Russia is enough to puncture this lie—a grotesque argument, as everyone knows that Eurovision is perhaps the most political event of the year. Furthermore, this particular argument (namely, that you can censor musicians’ lyrics while claiming to be apolitical) doesn’t sit well with me. I’m no fan of the Israeli propaganda that would have come through in that song, but I’m even less a fan of the nanny super-state that claims the right to modify everything we see and hear into a never-ending episode of ‘The Sound of Music’.

The 2024 edition of Eurovision was an utter failure. Never before had there been such vehement booing at the festival that the atmosphere turned excruciatingly painful. A near-Stalinist effort to maintain faux cheeriness was the result. Host Petra Mede seemed like a psychotic version of Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with a twisted, sinister smile as if the clock had just struck twelve.

And then there’s the Joost Oomen parody, Joost Klein, arguably the most psychotic contestant the Netherlands ever sent. With some orphan story, a nursery rhyme (yes, even if you’re into hardcore) that was also terribly pro-Europe in a childishly eerie way, Klein, in an Oomen-esque manner, constantly wore that creepy, smiling toddler mask that you know can’t end well. And it didn’t. A Pierrot sheds a tear: Joost’s suppressed feelings violently surfaced backstage. The boy, preyed upon by the voracious Dutch media, already fancied himself a global celebrity, and at his first global stage, the pills no longer sufficed.

Welkom in Europa, ik blijf hier tot ik doodga
(Welcome to Europe, I stay here till I die.)

It seems a completely innocuous line until your brain wakes up and you realize that linking Eurocentrism with the idea of death sounds almost like a threat. You stay here till you die. Oh, really? According to the logic of censorship, such a line would be forced to change, because that’s how censorship works: once allowed, it opens the gates for almost any text to be written by someone from the politburo.

A Klein clad entirely in Israeli colors—probably the only way to lure Dutch politicians who otherwise permanently wave Israeli flags while debating foreign interference as a significant danger—even this color brainwashing didn’t help. We turn the camera to Geert Wilders. Not a word about Joost Klein’s banishment from this hero of Normalo-Right (the most accurate term, I find, because ‘extreme right’ implies that there’s a ‘reasonable middle’ to be found in politics): our uber-normalo found the banishment of Klein not worth a tweet, though playing the victim is his main hobby. Just lots of love for Israel, so much so you’d think his life depended on it, a love linked to an enormous hatred for Muslims, a hatred that drives all his decisions in the background. Or would this Joost Klein count as woke for him? Wilders dropped his anti-Europe positions at the first glimmer of power. Welcome to Europe, I stay here till I die—that would actually appeal to him as a lyric, wouldn’t it? Not to me, however, because I was never a fan during the pandemic of a state that can dictate where you can travel.

Unfortunately, the Eurovision Song Contest is also primarily an idea that originated with Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels often organized song festivals because he found them to be one of the best political propaganda tools—political, therefore, according to the inventor of modern propaganda.

Welcome to Europe, I stay here till I die.

The line sounds just a bit too direct, so that a censor would wake up from it. CAN this be allowed? Shouldn’t there be a disclaimer about suicide accompanying the song?

Why was Joost Klein really disqualified? That incident could have easily been smoothed over. Yet, they conspicuously chose not to. Now, exactly as Normalo-Right pretends Joost Klein doesn’t exist. One suspects something else was going on behind the scenes, but what?

For this looked very strange indeed: a Eurovision final full of booing and replete with the typical robotic ‘unanimity’—the Swiss entry was good, but not so good as to explain that unanimity. Let me mention Norway, too. The country received few points, but I would swear they were the only real musicians in the entire selection, and it is absolutely inexplicable why they didn’t score higher, as there’s no musical rationale for it. Too paganistic, perhaps? But the darkly pagan Ireland performed rather well, even though they received scant votes from typically Christian countries. With at least three clearly pagan entries—Ireland, Norway, and Slovenia—there was a clear trend away from the usual saccharine, pseudo-Christian rose-scented and Britney-tuned entries.

What amazed me is that when I expressed on social media my satisfaction that this year less smiley entries had a chance—songs with genuine tristesse are rarely seen at this festival—uproar ensued, and even people who ‘identify as shaman’ proclaimed that the Irish darkness was utterly unacceptable, preferring the song about roses and sunshine from Moldova. Darkness should be avoided, just as the song festival couldn’t spare a second to mention ongoing genocides, how money is being squandered by neocons to uphold sick capitalism, and so forth. No, the Eurovision Song Contest is not political.

The cancelling of Joost Klein was presumably not political either. Some sow doubts that the booing wasn’t easily construed as pro or contra Israel. You could lose yourself in that debate in a Heideggerian way for centuries, but the smooth, plastic faces are probably already busy with next year’s censorship.

Welcome to Davos, I live because I love us.

Indeed, the ‘havenots’ here serves as a form of silent rhyme.