The theme proposed for discussion in the 16th Debate was strongly welcomed by the speakers and especially by the Project's permanent expert Igor Boţan, the director of the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT. It was appreciated for its originality, its appeal for the general public and effectiveness for the Project's goals concerning the development of political culture. The debate centered on the political message of recent folklore – featuring in particular three popular musical parodies dedicated to the leaders of the former Eurointegration Alliance, as well as epigrams and jokes – and on the effects that they have on the general public, including on the Moldovan society's political culture. The issues highlighted in the debate included: political crisis as an element of political life: notions, reasons, solutions; the folk art factor (musical parodies, epigrams, jokes etc.) as an element shaping political culture; folk art in periods of political crisis: promoters, specific features, opportunities, objectives; expectations and reactions; the artistic message as a component part of the political message, addressed by society to the political class; domestic and European models of promoting artistic messages in periods of crisis; voters as a collective actor and arbiter in political crisis situations;
The debate's speakers included Vitalie Călugăreanu, program director at Radio Plai, political analyst; Valentin Portas, fabulist and author of epigrams; and Andrei Batereanu, leader of the Youth Movement "Together for Future", who were assisted by the Project's expert Igor Boţan.
The speakers agreed that Moldovan society is politicized and oversaturated with political messages, and the musical parodies on political themes that appeared recently facilitate the expression and perception of political ideas in a different form, contributing to increasing the population’s level of political culture.
“The musical parodies about the Moldovan political leaders produced by the radio station Plai pursued a number of goals. One of the goals was to bring new elements that are popular with the public on the media market of Moldova. The second goal is related to the fact that Moldovan society started to be extremely politicized. A lot of political information appeared and the people got tired of politics. That’s why we identified a method of conveying political messages taking into account the topicality, so as to deliver the same messages of the news, but in humoristic way to the listeners”, said the station's program director Vitalie Călugăreanu.
Vitalie Călugăreanu added that the station produced four parodies of the kind, dedicated mainly to the leaders of the former ruling alliance, and the experiment was successful.
The Project's permanent expert Igor Boţan said that the value of the messages conveyed by the recent musical parodies is much greater than the messages of any political analysis. “There are many TV channels where analysts explain the people what happens. But these messages can lead only to despair. The static phenomenon has an entirely different impact. The difference is that the people, after drawing conclusions based on the comments they hear, start to hate those who lied to them. The people feel that revenge is taken by these parodies and they smile”.
The expert added that, besides being an artistic creation popular with the public, the parody has a very subtle and efficient message. “Politicians have grown insensitive to harsh statements, including those made by other politicians and analysts. But they can do nothing against these parodies. “This phenomenon must be cultivated. This initiative starts to create a wave and our politicians will have to watch out”.
Andrei Batereanu, leader of the Youth Movement “Together for the Future”, remembered the sad experience of the April 7, 2009 events, when society wanted to make itself heard, but didn’t manage to. “As a leader of youth movement, I pondered often how to sensitize the people and the government so that they hear us. When you find an interesting method of making yourself heard, you become the focus of attention. Satire does well”.
In the same connection, Valentin Portas, author of fables and epigrams, said that the lack of healthy humor and satire is felt in Moldova and the satiric genres may disappear in the near future. “Political culture starts from a certain general level of political culture of people. They speak about political culture as something separate. But it cannot exist without general culture. Unfortunately, the general culture in Moldovan society is declining,” said Valentin Portas, adding that satire and humor will make society cleaner.
The Agency published 2 news reports on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md: on 04.04.13, “Society is politicized, while musical parodies deliver political messages in a different form ” - http://www.ipn.md/en/arhiva/53476, on 05.04.13, “Politicians and society react differently to musical parodies on political themes” - http://www.ipn.md/en/arhiva/53479.
Valeriu Vasilica, IPN director
6 April 2013