Friday, February 24, 2006

Showbusiness Ethnopolitics: Severina

Part 1 of many, no doubt...

The Gazette realises it's coming more and more to resemble Severina's press clippings service this week, but there's nothing wrong with that when newspapers like 24 sata are making it so easy.

Imagine you're a Croatian tabloid with a Severina-shaped hole in the showbusiness pages, a scandal in Belgrade to catch up with, and the Bregović-arranged hook line of Moja štikla running through your head. Who might you contact for suitably outraged comments?

Maybe the former president of HČSP (Croatian Pure Party of Right), Luka Podrug. And maybe the president of the Split branch of the disabled war veterans' association, Goran Zlopaša.

Zlopaša says darkly that 'I don't approve of any sort of violence, but I don't even think what the reaction of Splićani will be' (sorry, but she's not exactly Gotovina, is she?), and Podrug has been even more obliging:

'In the deluge of bad taste and violent Balkanisation which has been forced into every pore of our lives, I'm not surprised by Severina's new outrage. I consider her song a provocation and I know that she could not have got used to such music in Split. [?!] The main culprit here is HTV which, playing the prime motivator [glavnog dresera] of the Balkanisation of Croatia, has been wiping out Croatian pop [zabavnu] music for years and waging the terror of bad taste over the majority of the Croatian people.'

The Gazette doesn't find itself agreeing with Podrug all that often, but 'provocation' is a fair point this time around. After all, whether through military chic (Hrvatica) or remaking a certain other video with inflatable dolls (Adam i Seva), Severina's done little else for the past two years. Given the nature of her most widespread media exposure, it only makes sense.

And so, as if by magic, 24 sata is able to proclaim that 'the release of Severina's song Moja štikla, which will compete in this year's Dora, has provoked reactions from the main veterans' associations and right-wing political parties because, allegedly, it contains explicit parts of Serbian beats'.

24 sata's Seve coverage is already outdoing the 2003 Dora scandal (is Maja Šuput the reincarnation of Lepa Brena? Discuss) to quite some extent, and rests on the questionable linguistics that Moja štikla contains a line in ekavian, ie. Serbian, namely the lines sung by her male backing vocalists 'Sojčice, devojčice, daj obuci čarapice'. Using the Croatian (ijekavian) form, they should instead be singing 'Sojčice, djevojčice' - as a woman whose greatest hits include Djevojka (rather than Devojka) sa sela ought to know.

Much ado about a vowel and a half? The word in question has even been transcribed in other places as 'divojčice'. What's more, that might just be the most plausible suggestion - since it uses the ikavian form, which is widely used in the home region of Seve's backing vocalists. And also across Dalmatia, including Split.

But that wouldn't help 24 sata, which seems set on concluding that 'Split is shocked by Seve's turbo-folk song'. And maybe it is (although, so far, not shocked enough for Split's own newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija to take any notice). But evidently it's not half as shocked as 24 sata.


At 12:02 pm, February 25, 2006, Blogger estavisti said...

The funny thing is, no matter if she says devojčice, divojčice or djevokčice, from a Serbian point of view, that's all Serbian. In any sane world ekavica would be counted as "Croatian" given that the majority (if not 99%) of Croats in Vojvodina and Belgrade speak it. It's kind of a funny joke: by trying to prove they have nothing to do with Serbs and the Balkans (and are, by extension, superior), they're suffering from a text book example of the pejoratively named "Balkan mentality" :D


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