Father’s Lament for Conchita

You remember Conchita Wurst? She/he won the Eurovision Song Competition for Austria, held in Copenhagen two weeks ago.

Someone didn’t like that.

“A girl with a beard. That is paganism unleashed.” This comes from Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Roman Catholic priest most known in Poland for the Radio Maryja station he founded and runs (yes, “Maryja” as in “The Virgin Maryja”), the voice of ultra-conservative Polish Catholicism: no divorce, no abortion, everything like that. (Still, you can listen to Radio Maryja on tunein if you like, it has 19,000 followers there! Be forwarned: It’s basically exclusively spoken-word in Polish.)

I seriously doubt Father Rydzyk was tuned in to Eurovision back on May 10. The result must have percolated to him slowly, probably further delayed by a wall of sheer incredulity. It’s still interesting to quote the good Father’s reaction here at length:

We must educate people, because look at what’s happening. Good Lord, we must educate people! Because look at what’s happening! This flood of paganism isn’t coming from this country. Really, look, is that normal, that a country-boy makes himself up like a woman, that boy there, I don’t know who he is supposed to be, with a beard, he performs and wins first place in Europe as a singer! Really, like he’s some Pavarotti!

Here Father Rydzyk had to pause: he was live-broadcasting these remarks to an audience in a church via a closed-circuit link, and everyone had started laughing.

But he soon continued:

Who voted for that? I can even see girls laughing at this, and quite right. After all, who’s ever seen something like that? A girl with a beard. Maybe it just stuck to her. But look, that is so abnormal – we understand that. And we laugh at it, because it is so laughable. Or would be, if it weren’t so tragic.

Truly, Radio Maryja represents the sort of outmoded religious values that find no sympathy with me. But does that mean that I posted Father Rzdzyk’s remarks to mock them? Not at all; on the contrary: well said, Father!

A couple of other points:

  • As this article in Flanders’ De Morgen that came out immediately after Eurovision put it, who tunes into Eurovision anymore looking for a good tune? Some of us – most of us, I would think – actually believe in music, rather than the sort of provocative shock-cabaret that Eurovision has become.


  • Ms. Wurst’s Eurovision triumph was also timed very unfortunately from a geopolitical standpoint. What better confirmation could have been provided to Russian – and East Ukrainian – politicians who have been trying to paint Europe as a depraved civilization? Now, I don’t believe that is accurate; probably Father Rzydyk is not even willing to go that far. But this is a matter of competing perceptions in a propaganda war, and Europe just shot itself in the foot.

    PS: It now looks like Twitter has made a deal with Microsoft to have the Bing Search Engine provide translations to tweets that are not in English.

    So check out that last De Morgen tweet: How do you like your “Watching anyone still really a good song to Eurovision to discover”? Or the Gazeta tweet up top: I have no idea where the Bing software is getting all those “number fives”! Is that code for “girl with beard”?

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