Sunday, February 01, 2004

The End of "Thompson"?

Last week Catholic Church officials in Croatia have publicly distanced themselves from controversial "turbo folk" singer Marko Perković "Thompson" (Marko Perkovic "Thompson") by saying that the lyrics of "Jasenovac and Gradiška Stara" (Jasenovac i Gradiska Stara) – song explicitly praising genocide of Serbs in Croatia during WW2 – aren't compatible with Catholic teaching. That followed flood of condemnations by public figures in Croatia, many associated with right-wing politics or having expressed understanding or sympathy for "Thompson" in the past. There are calls for actions more explicit than the famous Internet petition that had asked "Croatia Records" record label to drop "Thompson" – some argue that the singer should be prosecuted for enticing racial hatred.

Is this the end of "Thompson"?

Probably not. His following among young and expatriate Croatians is too strong, his songs (among other things, due to the controversy) can top music charts and he is still able to fill concert halls all over the country (and in those neighbouring countries that don't have anti-Nazi legislation similar to Netherlands).

But he is probably not going to enjoy royal treatment by Croatian "regular" media and have pop concerts with stadium-filling crowds airing live on national television. There would be none of the "serious" music critics, politicians and media personalities trying to paint him as "innocent and honest" Croatian patriot. Politicians, reporters, judges, fellow pop stars and other establishment figures are going to stay clear of his concerts.


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