Sunday, May 23, 2021

The distance between what the UK thinks of itself and how others judge it (EN)

Here is UK's anticipation before last night's Eurovision song contest:

And here are the final results:

So the competitor from the UK was hoping to win... and he came out last with nil (zero!) points.

It's not easy at all to score a clean zero points in an Eurovision contest. Still, the UK has managed this feat twice, and it's the fifth time it has come last.

Sure, you can consider Eurovision - as I do - a largely pointless jamboree with little relation to the quality of the music. Still, as the ranking of each competitor is determined in good part based on voting by the public from the other countries, such extreme results are not irrelevant. And the point I'm making here is not about Eurovision, but about the UK.

I have often admired and envied the capacity of some peoples / countries to think very high of themselves. It's usually helpful and can be put to very positive uses. The 'can do' / 'nothing is impossible' / 'we are the best' attitude has helped achieve great things in history. Lack of self-confidence and assertiveness, on the other hand, is persistently plaguing some countries' capacity to reach their potential.

But, occasionally, the gap between the self-perception and how others see you grows so wide that cheerful self-confidence turns into delusion and a reckoning becomes unavoidable. 

One can wonder whether this Eurovision example isn't a metaphor for other consequential events in recent British history.

1 comment:

  1. Well, Eurovision is just a ridiculous contest, somehow just like basketball competitions before the 1992 Olympics, when the first US Dream Team took part.

    Britain has by far the best pop music of Europe, but no one thought for a second that Adele, Dua Lipa, or Arctic Monkeys could do the Eurovision trick.

    While the FIBA basketball competitions have nonetheless managed to enlist LeBron James, Steph Curry and their mates to honour the World Championship and the Olympics.

    But if the Eurovision contest still exists several decades after its creation, it must surely have its own internal logic and audiences. Even if it knows that there is not about top ten music. And not even top one hundred.

    Otherwise, the Brits thinking their guy should necessarily grapple some prize, well, they have the arrogance to think that every unknown British singer it's a like a top-ten singer compared to its continental competitors. Except that it's not.