OPINION

The spirit of adaptation

Fortunately, we Greeks do not have a monopoly on vanity and hyperbole. Excitement has led many other peoples (or their media) to thoughtless declarations. In the same way that we rush to brag that this or the other success in a sports or artistic competition is evidence of our racial superiority, the Turkish media hurried to celebrate their wins in the Eurovision song contest and the Cannes film festival as unshakeable proof of Turkey’s Europeanism and to denounce those who insist that coming out on top in a singing or movie contest doesn’t carry the same weight as the death of one of the more than 100 hunger strikers. As we, annoyed as we are by criticism, see an anti-Greek conspiracy in everything – even in the letter sent by a tourist complaining of the condition of the toilets at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus – the British media (particularly the sentimentalist tabloids) sought and found exactly what they wanted to find: namely, a Pan-European conspiracy against them, a politically motivated plot trying to deprive their song of any reward at Eurovision’s contest in bad taste. Of course, they could assume that their failure to score a single point constitutes symbolic patricide. Since all countries (including Greece) have adopted Britain’s ecumenical language and its pop style of music, it was unavoidable that the British would, at some point, try to free themselves of the motif. The dogma of a la Eurovision globalization is simple: In order to stand out, you must first conform. A small dose of ethnic (a «tsifteteli» dance in the Turkish song, some Celtic color in Belgium’s, coupled with improvised lingo) will not harm anyone – especially the universalist spirit of imitation. Quite the opposite, in fact, it works as the pretext for a diversity that has the right to exist only if it accepts the terms of its adaptation.