The Eurovision Song Contest – climaxing this weekend – has an incipient star and possible winner in Austria’s Conchita Wurst, which is almost a drag name. Her familiar style is a classic ballad belter, which often does well in the strange but compelling spectacle of high camp and low pop an entire continent soaks up once a year. Somehow, I don’t know how well she’d do on American Idol:
I have to say I am unsurprised by reactionary cultural and populist movements on the right in Europe and Russia these days. A bearded drag queen as a finalist in a continent-wide song contest is something many will find bewildering, and not a little unsettling. But what’s just as striking is the fearlessness and fierceness of the new cultural order.