On Amy Winehouse debacle

Note: This post started as my take on Amy Winehouse disastrous concert in Belgrade, but somehow transformed into a personal rant on hate speech against Serbia.

In case you didn’t hear, Amy Winehouse’s Belgrade concert turned out to be a complete debacle. There are various videos to prove it what happened a few nights ago at the Belgrade fortress.

The author of these videos is my friend Iva. One of her YT video gained a huge popularity, but then YT disabled it without offering a good reason. The fact it’s a bootleg wasn’t the reason given; after all, so many other concert videos are still there. No. They called my friend a spammer and a scammer. So, I guess somebody doesn’t want people to see this video, which is silly; you can’t stop the Internet. AP has it, and it’s virtually everywhere at the moment.

To watch it and read the full story, visit Iva’s website. But please, remember this is not an opportunity to laugh at Amy Winehouse and her condition.

Amy Winehouse video disabled on YT

But, there’s more. The Amy Winehouse thing is a popular stuff at the moment, and it’s saddening to see how little respect certain journalists (and others) have. I’m not talking about Amy at the moment (though that one is saddening, too), I’m talking about my country.

Amy’s newest embarrassing performance happened in Belgrade, Serbia, and not in London, UK; and for some reason, there are reporters who seem to think that it’s quite different because it happened on the Balkans. That the audience and the country somehow deserve less respect than, say, US audience in New York. Or that it’s somehow our fault or our embarrassment.

But in a way, the situation IS different for us. First of all, it’s much, much more difficult for us here to spend 40 euros on a concert ticket (many people work for less than 200 euros per month). It doesn’t mean we deserve a special treatment, but is it so difficult to grasp how disappointing and humiliating this was for people here?

The latest slap in the face came from Chelsea Handler (who the heck is this person anyway?), who tried to mock Amy Winehouse, but ended up throwing hateful comments on Serbia. This kind of ignorant junk we haven’t heard since… Well, yesterday. It never stopped; the hate speech against Serbia is still going strong. But do we need yet another ignorant Westerner and her hate speech? Is this really what Americans see as funny? Laughing at other cultures?

I am quite upset will all of this. And I’m not even sure why; I’m sure not particularly patriotic (and nationalists call people like me “traitors”). But I do feel hurt, and I do feel insulted, and I do feel so fucking tired of being reminded how unworthy, evil and disgusting my country and its people are. I’ve been listening that since I was 10. I’ve been hungry, and humiliated and treated as inferior, and I was forced to hide in the basement while the bombs were falling. I’m tired, and I’m so fucking angry and sick of it.

Here’s the thing. People in Serbia love good music. And my generation lacked the opportunity to see and hear their favourite musicians. It might seem disrespectful, or simplified, to illustrate all the mess and humiliation and hunger and embargo and war and bombing and other shit with the fact we were unable to go to concerts… But it’s a telling example.

I rarely resort to “you don’t know what is like” speech, but, seriously, do you know what is like to be desperate for this kind of events? It’s not just the concerts, though my generation IS desperate for it. Musicians visiting our country – that simple thing (that was taken for granted in the generation before mine, and yes, it was during socialism, btw), that simple thing means so much to us here.

We’re all sick of being insulted as a nation, and called names (and compared to Nazis: which hurts tremendously, because this country had suffered a lot during WWII and people here were never Nazi supporters), and seen as a source of all evil (accompanied with the usual hate and disgust for the Balkans), and humiliated and treated as inferior. It continues even today. And I’m sick and tired of it.

19 thoughts on “On Amy Winehouse debacle

  1. Sigg3

    Google bends over to the entertainment industry. Probably doesn’t have anything to do WHATSOEVER with “journalism”.

    They do this all the time, you MUST mark your video with “FAIR USE” if it is FAIR US. Youtube is US territory:P

  2. Mira

    I hear you, but the problem wasn’t copyright. According to YT, it’s disabled because it was a video promoting spam.

  3. zek j evets

    Wow. Just wow.

    Not being a fan of Amy Winehouse I wouldn’t have ever known about this, but I’m not surprised. That woman is a discredit to Jews everywhere =/

    That said, WTH is with people hating on Serbia??? I mean, I guess I am surprised and very disappointed because while I know OF Serbia, I never really knew enough to say anything bad (or good!) about it other than to comment on how I hoped they recovered from their conflict in the 80’s-90’s.

    But when people hate on a country they hardly know, THAT’S messed-up. And just another depressing example of American arrogance/ignorance… Le sigh.

    But anyhoo, I’m not surprised YouTube removed the video. Ever since they merged with Google and other corporations started backing them, they’ve become VERY corporate and controlling of media. You have to go through very specific channels to put anything out there with a lot of press. Besides, YouTube also can’t seem to stand the idea of public domain, or free shit online. The net is getting so damned closed-off, so restricted, like how the Great Plains of American got fenced off when we kicked out the Indians, killed the bison, and started raising cows everywhere.

    But I digress… My best wishes go out to the Serbian peeps who want to just listen to some damn music, and to those saboteur journalists just trying to report what’s happened! Take the world by storm ya’ll! =)

  4. Mariana

    I’m not shocked about Amy, and in HER case I don’t think her performance had nothing to do with the fact that she is in Serbia. Is just that she’s that weird. I probably can’t say the same for other artists.

    This happens quite a lot here in Brazil, we are THAT desperate to see our favorite singers/bands and they rarely come. And believe me, this is way more expensive here. I spent 150 Reais (around 450 Euro) to see Iron Maiden and counting tickets/plane tickets/accomodation in São Paulo almost 800 Reais to see U2. Because people simply don’t come to this PART of Brazil. I live in one of the most mocked part of it. Brazilian artists often make fun of us when they come around. So, I sort of get the feeling.

    I don’t get all the hate towards Serbia, because people really know little about everything that happened. I can’t understand how that happens.

  5. Mira

    Zek,

    I had no idea she was Jewish, but it’s besides the point. I know a lot about the scandals surrounding her. I used to work for an online news portal and I was the editor of the entertainment section… Let me tell you, there were so many scandals about her, her divorce, etc.

    This isn’t the first time she ruined the concert or made a scandal. I do hope she’ll be fine, eventually.

    That said, WTH is with people hating on Serbia???

    Don’t you know? We’re considered the worst thing that happened to Europe since Nazis. Plus, we’re seen as accessible targets for the filmmakers and comedians because it’s PC to make trash about us (we’re white, Christian, and not influential as a community). It’s PC to throw jokes about us, just like it’s PC to joke about stupid, childish men (but not stupid childish women).

    But these things are taken quite seriously, because media images are quite powerful.

    People here think the world talks about us all the time, and 99.9% of the news are bad. I understand that many people don’t really hear those news and know nothing about Serbia, which is a relief.

    Still, it’s quite bothering to people here.

  6. Mira

    Mariana,

    Oh, I know that Amy wasn’t discriminating against us. She would have done the same in London or NY, I think. Actually, at one point she said: Good evening, Athens! New York! (or something to that extend). I don’t blame Amy for this.

    For crappy concert, I blame her crew for letting her perform that night (so now people can’t ask for their money back), and for not taking a better care of her (she’s in a really bad condition and should seek medical help).

    For hate speech, I blame journalists and media personalities such as this Chelsea girl who made offensive comments about Serbia and Serbs, as if it’s our fault Amy had a debacle.

    A journalist even insisted on Serbian audience not being able to tell what a good performance is, because we don’t know that jazz performance is full of improvisations. I mean, really. Do you think he’s say something like that if the debacle concert was in NY? (Or wherever in the West)? That’s a clear sign of disrespecting the audience.

  7. Mira

    But from anthropological point of view, I must say, this whole thing is a win. The whole nation is pissed, and the comments people leave on message boards… They are a story for itself.

    The average comment goes along the lines of good old: “what do Americans know? My garden fence is older than their country!”, “everybody hates us because we’re the best and they’re jealous of us”, “Americans committed the biggest genocide in history: where are Native Americans now?”, “Chelsea Handler can suck my dick”, and, my favourite: “so, they think we’re bad as Kazakhstan?” (as if Kazakhstan is truly inferior and nobody would like to be compared to it).

    Seriously, one could do a true research on this incident.

  8. Mel

    Chelsea Handler is a bitter/cynical “comedian” who takes jabs at people who are better-looking than her.

    Anyway, people condescending about people in “second” and “third” world countries is not new.

    Good for you for sticking up for your country. You know it better than them.

  9. Mel

    The Kazakhstan comment is likely due to Sasha Baron Cohen and “Borat.” I remember the president of the country trying to do damage control by going to the U.S. to show the real country.

  10. Iva

    This is what happens when you don’t let me know about an article, I discover it through backlinks. :)

    @Mel: Kazakhstan and Serbia cannot really be compared. Kazakhstan is not a free country, it’s known for blocking various Internet services (the other day, they blocked WordPress.com

    The most imporant thing in the article stands. “my generation lacked the opportunity to see and hear their favourite musicians.” We missed on a lot.

  11. Alee

    I would’ve liked to have seen that video. But I can imagine it since it’s not like Amy hasn’t appeared to be “not all there” before.

    Chelsea Handler… yeah, whatever. Who even cares about her?

  12. serpentus

    Sheesh. Lazy American. Amy Winehouse just reinforces the stereotype (which has some truth to it) that Americans are fat, ignorant, and lazy.

  13. serpentus

    “But Amy isn’t American.”

    Whoops. I don’t watch TV that much or follow celebrities.

  14. Alee

    ^^ :(

    I hate that she didn’t get more help. I’ll miss Amy. She was truly an original and memorable artist.

  15. Mira

    Yes. This is so sad. Her debacle concert in Belgrade turned out to be her last concert. She had such a wonderful voice. But I guess she wasn’t ready for the fame and everything it brings.

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