August 12, 2022

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The Yugoslav wars lasted a years, killed over 130,000 people and displaced an estimated four million. Rimtutituki singer Zoran Cane Kostić later on commented that lots of Serbs appeared to find the lyrics of Listen more sickening than images of cities in debris, required migrants or kids whose lives had actually been torn apart.

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Crowds following the truck through Belgrade were substantial and Listen later on acquired recognition as a symbolic expression of resistance to inter-ethnic conflict and political oppression. The authorities ensured, however, that the songs substantive effect was minimal and the bands included were banned from main media.

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In the early 1990s, as conscription was presented in Serbia, three influential Belgrade rock bands came together to work on a song-project meant to motivate resistance to a military call-up that indicated the start of war and the breakup of Yugoslavia. As Natalia Nowińska-Antoniewicz discusses In Czas Kultury, the supergroup was called Rimtutituki (an anagram of the Serbian Turim ti kitu, approximately translatable as I put my penis in you) and, on 8 March 1992, it carried out a single, quickly effective anti-war tune from a flatbed truck that drove through main Belgrade.

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Offence and French literature

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More cunningly, the song likewise challenged the politicized, low-key peoples music promoted by the Milosevic routine and the formally approved turbo-folk. Crowds following the truck through Belgrade were huge and Listen later gained acknowledgment as a symbolic expression of resistance to inter-ethnic conflict and political oppression. The authorities guaranteed, nevertheless, that the songs substantive impact was negligible and the bands involved were banned from main media.

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The revulsion reflex signals that an imagined natural order has actually been breached, observes Alicja Chwieduk in a section concentrating on themes that upset in current French writing. We are affronted by whatever undermines our identity or sense of the shape of the world; hostility denies that the observer shares anything in common with the observed. The fiction of Michel Houellebecq in particular has actually triggered crucial disgust at a vision that wipes out a readers most essential hopes and expectations.

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Houellebecqs composing evokes pictures of sadism, dismemberment, rape and cannibalism in a world possessed by eroticised consumerism and incorrect promises. The cogs that move his universe clash with our pictured concepts of excellent sex, true love, “right thinking” about females and guys, and human relationships in twenty-first century Europe typically, Chwieduk remarks. However despite looking like a master of ceremonies venturing into taboo territory, Houellebecq produces a narrative area that forces the reader to confront their own perceptiveness and picked requirements of ethical judgement.

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This post is part of the 19/2021 Eurozine review. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter to get updates on reviews and our newest publishing.