Sunday, July 20, 2003

Double Entendre

Probably the most interesting statement in Croatian press last week came from the mouth of Dino Dvornik, one of nation’s best known pop musicians.

Few weeks ago Dvornik appeared as guest of honour on HDZ convention and performed a musical piece that could easily be that party’s election theme song. His presence at the convention created a lot of interest in Croatian media, because Dvornik’s music and lifestyle – indistinguishable from the worst examples of 1970s rock stars – represents the exact opposite of cultural and ethical values promoted by Tudjman and conservatives around him and embodied in turbo folk music.

But times have obviously changed. Ivo Sanader, in an obvious attempt to present himself as a kinder gentler and more “hip” version of Tudjman, hired services of Dvornik whose popularity would get at least some of youth votes. There HDZ fared very badly and most of Croatian rock musicians (or non-folk performers) supported Račan (Racan) in 2000. By agreeing to support HDZ, Dvornik created a lot of interesting reactions among Croatian media. Although his father, famous Split actor Boris Dvornik, had not only supported HDZ but also briefly served as MS in 1992, presence of a “rocker” at HDZ convention was a surprise and some even talked about betrayal.

Cause of Sanader-Dvornik co-operation, however, would be hardly served by some of Dvornik’s statements. In his interview for Globus Dvornik explained that he feels “certain chemistry with Sanader”. This statement could be interpreted in two ways.

First, when the word “chemistry” comes from the mouth of Dino Dvornik, this is hardly in the best possible context. Dvornik is in many circles of Croatian society better known for his long-time drug addiction (resulting in plenty of well-documented incidents, involving air rage) than for his music. Those who don’t like Sanader would undoubtedly compare his influence with heroin, cocaine and other substances that “poison and corrupt Croatian youth”.

Another interpretation would undoubtedly circle around Sanader’s alleged homosexuality, an issue which is slowly entering domain of mainstream politics in Croatia.

However, Dvornik’s statements, no matter what they really mean, would hardly have any effect on the upcoming elections. Sanader’s HDZ make-over is less directed towards young Croatian voters than towards European political establishment, whose members still view Tudjman’s party as hard-line nationalist and therefore unacceptable for EU standards. As for Croatian young voters, experience with previous elections show that they would most likely stay at home and that their political sympathies would hardly affect the outcome, more dependable on older people.


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