Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ceca ante portas

Croatian media is doing anything in their power to make Niko Kranjčar's transfer from Dinamo to Hajduk this into a cosmic event. However, despite Kranjčar being greeted by thousands of enthusiastic Hajduk fans in Split, lot of gloating on Slobodna Dalmacija pages and disgruntled Dinamo fans wrecking police car and sending one policeman to hospital, this story isn't going to be exploited much further.

The Transfer of the Decade is going to be overshadowed by the Interview of the Decade.

Nova TV, privately owned national TV station which had lost most of ratings war in 2004, is apparently ready to do anything in order to bring viewers to screens. For Petar Vlahov, host of Drugo lice talk show, "anything" means having a show with the most controversial guest imaginable.

The guest of the show, which is going to be aired on Thursday, is Ceca Ražnjatović-Veličković (Ceca Raznjatovic-Velickovic), Serbian turbo folk star, which is also known as the widow of notorious Serbian paramilitary Željko Ražnjatović (Zeljko Raznjatovic) a.k.a. Arkan.

Ceca, despite Arkan's militia being responsible for all kinds of atrocities in during the war in Croatia and despite standing for her late husband and everything he had symbolised, enjoys incredible popularity in Croatia, especially among the people whose political sympathies are set far to the right. The more someone rants against reconciliation with Serbs and any other "insult to the memory of Patriotic War and thousands of martyrs slain by Serbs", the more likely is for that person to enjoy Ceca's music.

The interview, during which Ceca is going to express her view on 1990s wars and share some untold stories about her incarceration after Đinđić (Djindjic) assassination, is almost certainly going to be among the highest rated shows in the history of Croatian television. Needless to say, it is going to spark enormous controversy and that controversy is, of course, going to bring even those viewers who would, under normal circumstances, avoid Ceca na her music like plague.

To say that Vlahov and Nova TV are being criticised is understatement of the century. Many claim that they lowered the standards of Croatian television and that it is simply unacceptable for Croatian television with national license to host the widow of a man "who has done Croatia so much harm" and whose personal wealth comes from the plunder of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Even some on the Croatian liberal left are joining the chorus of outrage, albeit for somewhat different reasons – for them Ceca is unacceptable because she promotes "turbo folk", music which is anti-thesis of everything modern progressive liberal and urban Europe of 21st Century stands for.

Both groups of critics have valid points, but they are wrong for at least two reasons.

First, nobody saw interview and nobody knows what the interview would look like. Perhaps Vlahov had some sort of journalistic epiphany and asked the right (and for Ceca unpleasant) questions. Although his previous interviews don't give much hope for that, he should be given benefit of the doubt.

Second, even if Vlahov didn't ask proper questions, he or Nova TV shouldn't be accused of some unforgivable crime. All they did was for the sole purpose of increasing ratings and they wouldn't have done if not for one very simple reason – Ceca is popular among Croatians. Without that popularity there wouldn't have been any interview.

The real problem is not in Nova TV. It is in all those hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Croatians who don't see anything wrong with Ceca's music.

So, anyone who criticises Nova TV is only shooting at the messenger.


Blogger Yakima_Gulag said...

Well I found it wierd in both BiH and Croatia how much turbofolk I heard. I remember reading a story of how Ceca was on a T.V. talk show wearing a very lovely gold necklace and a Muslim lady from Bosnia called and said 'I like yoru necklace, it looks like Arkan did too, for he stole it from me!'
I can't say I like turbofolk, real folk music for sure, but not that dreadful stuff. It's like the narco-corridos the Mexican people go in for now, not as good as the real thing at all.

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the outcome of that interview? Does she open up the sensible issues from the 90-ties?

8:46 PM  

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