Bloggers sing the praises of the "Eurovision Song Contest" winner. Read what they say about Finland's new hero. And, an article about doctors treating women as "forever pregnant" has riled up feminist bloggers. Plus, what happens when you fight back against spammers? Find out below.
Bloggers Take On Eurovision
I confess that when "Eurovision Song Contest" popped up as a most searched topic on the blogs for almost a week straight, I was puzzled, having never heard of it. Apparently I'm not alone, at least among fellow Americans.
"The annual Eurovision Song Contest—now in its 51st year—is one of the world's most watched regular music event," Mike Atkinson writes on Slate.com.
"Despite this, the show remains entirely unknown to all but a handful of Americans."
But the annual contest has taken over the blogosphere. For those not in the know, Eurovision seeks to discover "the best song in Europe," with Europeans voting by telephone. But it basically turns into a kitschy, campy television show. Since most people hear the competing songs just once before casting their votes, each performance must create an instant (good) impression to ensure that it stands out.
The Guardian's CultureVulture blog describes it simply as "a combination of Star Trek convention, Atlantic City floor show and Lourdes."
The basic requirements are that no song can exceed three minutes and the winning country must host the next year's contest. This year, Athens hosted the wacky contest. Previous well-known winners include ABBA in 1974 with "Waterloo," and Celine Dion, who won for Switzerland in 1988.
This Saturday's showdown was broadcast live in 38 countries to a TV audience estimated at 100 million. And about 13,000 fans packed the indoor arena used during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, to see the spectacle live.
And in what many bloggers viewed as a stunning upset, Lordi, a Finnish metal band with monster masks and apocalyptic lyrics, won the contest with their "Hard Rock Hallelujah."
Among some of the early acts was Spain's Las Ketchup, performing "Un Bloody Mary Por Favor." And Germany's entry also drew particular attention from Americans because of its Texas-named artists, Texas Lightning, who performed, "No No Never."
But for many bloggers, the contest was not simply about geography. As a Swedish blogger writes on Andreasviklund.com, "I love listening to the entries from the other countries. And it is always fun to guess which ones that will score high."
And bloggers had lots to say about Lordi's triumph. As Attu Sees All describes it, "The band members wear scary masks, which they refuse to take off, and the lead singer wields a chain-saw. Their song Hard Rock Hallelujah is a radical departure from the folk songs usually associated with Eurovision."
Toni, a Finnish blogger, describes reaction out of Finland. "Our country went absolutely BANANAS after our monster-of-an-artist LORDI did the unthinkable and ranked #1! People went out in the streets, celebrating together, singing the winning song and a bunch of other national party anthems... I can't even imagine the sheer amount of press coverage next week! Whoah," he writes.
John, blogging from the UK, writes, "My hat goes off to any band who can get great lyrics such as 'the day of rockening' into their songs somehow. Never have lyrics been so rockin' great since examples from Twisted Sister ('I pledge alligence/ to the United States of rock...')."
But some Russians sensed a scandal was afoot, claiming the vote was skewed against their country's group, Bilan. Bilan's performance of "Never Let You Go" featured an white-clad actor climbing out of a white piano and received one of the highest finishes for a Russian performer in the history of the 51-year-old contest.
Kittan-Man explains the voting is largely political. "The problem with this scheme is that the voting then becomes political, so the East Block all vote for Mother Russia, the Nordic Countries support each other and countries such as Greece and the other Mediterranean countries share votes too. Resulting in some rather strange results," he writes.
Americans may soon learn what the contest is all about. NBC announced it will be developing a U.S. version of Eurovision, in which the 40-odd competing European nations will be replaced by the 50 states of the union.
The Post reports that new federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
Or as Pandagon summarizes it, "The general gist of the article is that America's high infant mortality rate is best addressed by scolding women for not acting like they are pregnant all the time or about to be."
According to the article, women "between first menstrual period and menopause" are supposed to take supplements of folic acid, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and watch chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes. Women are also advised to stay away from cat feces and "discuss the danger alcohol poses to a developing fetus."
"Pause. Breathe. OK. What?," Rebecca Traister writes on Salon.com. "So even when we're not pregnant, or have no intention of becoming pregnant, or have already been pregnant and are done having babies, we should make our theoretically possible but wholly imaginary fetuses our priorities."
But is this what the CDC really recommended, some bloggers like Amanda at Pandagon ask? She say the CDC is only asking doctors to get women to plan their pregnancies and be aware of how to manage their health when those pregnancies are planned to occur.
Amanda says the Washington Post ignored this detail fearing a political backlash. "I think it's because it's a political hot potato to openly admit that the two most important steps towards reducing the infant mortality rate and improving the health of newborns in general is to get health care to every woman and to empower women with the knowledge and tools they need to get pregnant only when they want to," Amanda says.
Majikthise agrees there's politics at play. "The political climate in Bush's America is such that we can't even discuss public health, let alone women's healthcare, except under the pretext of making women better baby factories," she writes.