A former Karolian homeland minister has criticised the irrelevant video satirising what is being called ‘the Bluesage affair’ by rapper Da Bomb, released on the internet on Thursday. In an article published in Aamupostet and an interview on RTK1’s Paaeva morning news programme, Jaan Toppos, who was Homeland Minister between 1988-1994, said that it was “pathetic” that “nobody in the Riikskogu is prepared to speak up and condemn a cruel and crude publicity stunt that only worsens the state of affairs between the two countries. In my view, the video is of little musical or artistic merit and is simply an opportunistic attempt to stir up trouble by somebody who is completely ignorant of the real situation. ‘Da Bomb’ should withdraw the video and apologise to both the people of Karolia and Belphenia.” Asked whether he supported artistic freedom of expression, Toppos replied “I uphold both this constitutional right and the responsibility not to abuse it. And in any case, that’s not the real issue here, despite the news media trying to make it so”.
Toppos was also critical of an “irreverent” editorial on the affair in Ekspress yesterday, which he described as “aiding and abetting in a totally irresponsible manner unacceptable for a national newspaper.” Ekspress have not offered a comment in response.
The video has divided opinion strongly in Karolia. Many of the younger generation, who view Belphenia as a joke country where the population are enslaved by strict religious laws and have what are viewed as weird guilds and (particularly legendary) ‘volcano roads’, have been the most active proponents of the rapper’s satire, not only playing the video but creating satirical artworks and internet memes of their own. “Comments on the site where it’s hosted – and there are over eight thousand and counting – are generally along the lines of how hilarious it is and how annoyed the Belphenians will be, with some directly insulting the country”. according to Joona Sapsi, internet critic of Muusi rock magazine. “There has also been a hint of far-right nationalism amongst the reception, with a couple of people trying to stake ‘Karolian values’ as being the key issue in this situation.” Others are less impressed and even shocked by the provocative rap, either through its explicit lyrics or its personal attacks on Gordon Itani and the country in general. Often the darker side of the internet comment emerges. “This isn’t even funny, it’s lame and it’s cruel” wrote one user, attracting a retaliatory stream of obscene personal attacks in the subsequent comments. Many have praised Toppos for his interview. “Shows our (former) leaders aren’t just spineless robots” wrote one.
History suggests the affair will blow over but some fear damage to Karolian business and reputation abroad. It remains to be seen what the longer-term consequences will be.