A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Eurovision and Wikipedia

Last night I heard the news that the first ever participant to grace a Eurovision stage - Jetty Paerl of the Netherlands - had passed away at the respectable age of 92. I decided to check her up on Wikipedia - as I knew little about her other achievements - and stumbled across another one of these strangely inaccurate "facts" that often surround the Eurovision Song Contest.

Wikipedia screen capture

You can see for yourselves, it bluntly states that this first Eurovision was only broadcast on radio and not on television. A small thing in this large universe, perhaps, but I still believe encyclopedias should be correct. Otherwise I could just as well write my own.

There seems to be a fraction of the eurovision fanbase so desperate to participate and contribute that they don't mind inventing things or, perhaps, just jump to conclusions and never take a second to doubt (or verify) what they came up with.

Even more strange is the fact that the inaccuracies often remain without being corrected or removed. I think if somebody wrote on Wikipedia that the moon is made of cheese or that Ireland is mainly inhabited by elves, it would be corrected rather soon.

The real problem is that the longer an inaccuracy is left to linger, the more people will believe it. Finally it will become a "truth". Like Liechtenstein 1969, for instance.

In 1969, French record label released an EP including the song "Un beau matin", a parody of the typical eurosongs of its time, and the cover stated the song to be the entry of Liechtenstein for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest. Just as a joke. To make sure nobody took it seriously.

Vetty - Un beau matin

Still today, disturbingly often, you see serious texts claim that Liechtenstein really intended to take part in Madrid but for unknown reasons never appeared.

This is just one of the many stories that seem impossible to get rid of. Like dandelions they keep popping up everywhere, reappearing shortly after you think you extinguished them.

Life would be so much easier if people checked their sources and tried to verify their facts a little bit better. Until then, we all have to keep our heads calm and not believe everything we read.

Not even on Wikipedia.

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