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WORD OF THE WEEK

Wurst

AUSTRIAN drag queen and recent Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst may bear a passing resemblance to a certain Slovak cabinet member, but that is not the main reason why the competition should be noticed in Slovakia. It also illustrates a good point about the Slovak public broadcaster.

AUSTRIAN drag queen and recent Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst may bear a passing resemblance to a certain Slovak cabinet member, but that is not the main reason why the competition should be noticed in Slovakia. It also illustrates a good point about the Slovak public broadcaster.

A few years back it seemed the most sensible thing to do with the RTVS was to shut it down. Huge debts, a tradition of political abuse, over-employment and terrible programming, especially at the TV branch, were nothing to brag about, and participation at Eurovision didn’t help one bit. The politically driven decision to merge the television and radio divisions, and frequent changes of directors, didn’t offer much hope for improvement. But things do seem to be slowly moving in a better direction.

There is nothing wrong with transvestites or televised kitsch. But why, exactly, should it remain a mystery what public money is spent on? Not joining in the fun doesn’t mean that things are perfect at the RTVS. But at least it shows some lucidity. Along with more significant measures, such as plans to vacate the monstrous building the RTVS occupies and a decent selection of shows and films, the institution may yet prove to have a future other than serving as a wurst that feeds whichever clique happens to be in charge.

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