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GoetheInstitute

04/04/2008

From the Feuilletons

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Frankfurter Rundschau 04.04.2008

In an essay Robert Kaltenbrunner notes that our cities are becoming increasingly inhospitable while star architects such as Foster, Hadid and Gehry build ever more sensational individual "show" buildings. "The contempt for, say, today's industrial estates echoes the antipathy for the tenement estates of the 1920s. Just as people lashed out at the lack of hygiene and the over density of those buildings in the past, today they badmouth the sprawl, facelessness, and the focus on individual traffic. The world's eyes are firmly fixed on the new cathedrals: museums, government buildings, concert halls, offices. The 'grey belts' remain an architectural terra incognita – ignored at best, endured with a shrug of the shoulders, traversed as quickly as possible if there's no other option."


Die Tageszeitung 03.04.2008

Michael Braun portrays the Italian cabaret artist and political activist Beppe Grillo, whose blog is among the top ten most visited in the world and whose "kiss-my-ass-day" campaign has made him the country's leading non-parliamentary opposition leader. In an interview Grillo explains his motivation: "350,000 citizens signed a "clean parliament" initiative. As we speak Italy has 24 members of parliament who are convicted criminals and 74 who are under criminal investigation. We wanted to publish this list of names four years ago but no one wanted to print it. Eventually we bought a page in the Herald Tribune and published the list there. And this was then distributed online."


Der Standard 02.04.2008

In the run up to the Nato summit in Bucharest, Bernard-Henri Levy and Andre Glucksmann penned a joint letter to Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy to demand that they open the way to let Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance. "Is the world so kindly-disposed towards us that we can refuse to make allies of the few countries who are willing to adopt our political model at their own risk? For decades we have supported champions of human rights and persecuted democrats around the world. This one time in Bucharest the issue at hand is not to condemn a dictatorship or a boycott a tyrant, but to recognise the path of free choice of a free people and to integrate them in our political-military family. What is being demanded of us is very simple. And yet everything seems strangely complicated. The problem, once again, is that our community of nations is divided. Due to the obsessive mantra of worry about not provoking Russia, certain governments are reluctant to support the young democracies of Georgia and Ukraine."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 01.04.2008

Peter Hagmann was awe-struck by the production of "Wozzeck" in Paris which conductor Sylvain Cambreling has entirely transformed. "The brilliance and agility of the orchestra at the Paris Opera National is audible in the opening bars. The musical language might be atonal but it is delivered with such alacrity that you suddenly seem to sense it on another level of hearing. Yet - and this is no paradox - Berg's modernity emerges to the full. There is no watering down or smoothing off in this interpretation, the dissonant frictions cut through the musical fabric in all their sharpness. And yet they are suspended and embedded in all their colourful brilliance... And then there's this unbelievable warmth which rises from the orchestra pit."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
31.03.2008

Mark Siemons interviewed Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei who believes that his country would not be having such problems with Tibet if it allowed a free discussion to take place. "I often ask myself why we can't have a society with improved media and no censorship? What have we got to hide? What is so dangerous about the truth? Of course when the majority of the people have only restricted access to information it is easier to manipulate them. Information is power. But before we decide who is right and who is wrong, we have to know all the facts. That is always important. We have never had this and it is about time that we did."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 29.03.2008

Serbian writer Vladimir Arsenijevic demands that his fellow Serbs face up to the reality of an independent Kosovo. He thinks it absurd that politicians in Belgrade have declared "resistance to plain common sense" as a patriotic duty. "With the help of the populist media, they are managing to impress the aggressive anger of the loser on a frustrated and traumatised Serbian society. The credo is that Serbia cannot give in. Serbia has proudly decided to deny reality. It simply refuses to accept it! Not just now, but never again. To hell with reality! 'Kosovo is Serbia! And that's that!!" (See our feature "Our negroes, our enemies" by Arsenijevic.)


Die Welt 29.03.2008

Eckhard Fuhr was deeply impressed by the exhibition in the art museum in Solingen which has been transformed into a "Museum of Persecuted Arts". The exhibits are based on the collection of exile researcher Jürgen Serke, who has been investigating the fate of writers persecuted under both the National Socialist and the communist dictatorships. Serke himself writes about his collection in the Literature section of Die Welt and remembers the photographer Wilfried Bauer whose images of persecuted poets are currently showing in Solingen. "Today it is obvious to all that as witnesses of the truth, they defied the great death mills of the 20th century. Their lives are and unrelenting lesson on the subject of literature and morality in the second half of the 20th century. It was they who fought against the snares of the unequivocal, of ideologies, systems, and the banal consumption of this unique existence that won't be pinned down. In his photographs Bauer lifts up the heretics against communism from an epoch filled with evil – in the West too, where people refused to understand them for a long time."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 29.03.2008

In the ongoing debate surrounding the anti-Islam film "Fitna", Nils Minkmar sides with its maker, Geert Wilders, who has been receiving death threats. The most powerful weapons in our democratic arsenal are the basic rights, Minkmar argues. "One of these core values is the freedom of expression. There is no reason to chip away at this preventively if Geert Wilders chooses to exercise it. But these core values also include the veto on torture and war of aggression. People like Jan Peter Balkenende who first support the war against Iraq and then want to prevent citizens from expressing their fears are betraying western principles. But those European Muslims who condemn the censorship of 'Fitna' but work on an artistic or media riposte, are holding them high."

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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

A clutch of German newspapers launch an appeal against the criminalisation of Wikileaks. Vera Lengsfeld remembers GDR dissident Jürgen Fuchs and how he met death in his cell. All the papers were bowled over Xavier Beauvois' film "Of Gods and Men." The FR enjoys a joke but not a picnic at a staging of Stravinsky's "Rake's Progress" in Berlin. Gustav Seibt provides a lurid description of Napoleonic soap in the SZ. German-Turkish Dogan Akhanli author explains what it feels like to be Josef K.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 December

Colombian writer Hector Abad defends Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa against European Latin-America romantics. Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg criticises the new publication policy of his former employer. The Sprengel Museum has put on a show of child nudes by die Brücke artists. The SZ takes a walk through the Internet woods with FAZ prophet of doom Frank Schirrmacher. The FAZ is troubled by Christian Thielemann's unstable tempo in the Beethoven cycle. And the FR meets China Free Press publisher, Bao Pu.
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From the feuilletons

Saturday 27 November - Friday 3 December

Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

Dieter Schlesak levels grave accusations against his former friend and colleague, Oskar Pastior, who spied on him for the Securitate. Banat-Swabian author and vice chairman of the Oskar Pastior Foundation, Ernest Wichner, turns on Schlesak for spreading malicious rumours. Die Zeit portrays the Berlin rapper Harris, and the moment he knew he was German. Dutch author Cees Nooteboom meditates on the near lust for physical torture in the paintings of Francisco de Zurburan. An exhibition in Mannheim displays the dream house photography of Julius Schulman.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

Now that German TV has just beatified Pope Pius XII, Rolf Hochmuth tells die Welt where he got the idea for his play "The Deputy". The FR celebrates Elfriede Jelinek's "brilliantly malicious" farce about the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. "Carlos" director Olivier Assayas makes it clear that the revolutionary subject is a figment of the imagination. The SZ returns from the Shanghai Expo with a cloying after-taste of sweet 'n' sour. And historian Wang Hui tells the NZZ that China's intellectuals have plenty of freedom to pose critical questions.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

Author Doron Rabinovici protests against the concessions of moderate Austrian politicians to the FPÖ: recently in Vienna, children were sent back to Kosovo at gunpoint. Ian McEwan wonders why major German novelists didn't mention the Wall. The NZZ looks through the Priz Goncourt shortlist and finds plenty of writers with more bite than Houellebecq. The FAZ outs two of Germany's leading journalists who fiercely guarded the German Foreign Ministry's Nazi past. Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt analyse the symptoms of culturalism, left and right. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstratively yawns at German debate.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

A new book chronicles the revolt of revolting "third persons" at Suhrkamp publishers in the wild days of 1968. Necla Kelek is appalled by the speech of the very Christian Christian Wulff, the German president, in Turkey. The taz met a new faction of hardcore Palestinians who are fighting for separate sex hairdressing in Gaza. Sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the new Chinese willingness to restructure the heart. And the Cologne band Erdmöbel celebrate the famous halo around the frying pan.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
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From the feuilletons

Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare explains why his country has become uninhabitable. German Book Prize winner Melinda Nadj Abonji says Switzerland only pretends to be liberal. German author Monika Maron is not sure that Islam really does belong to Germany. Russian writer Oleg Yuriev explains the disastrous effects of postmodernism on the Petersburg Hermitage. Argentinian author Martin Caparros describes how the Kirchners have co-opted the country's revolutionary history. And publisher Damian Tabarovsky explains why 2001 was such an explosively creative year for Argentina.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin has buckled under the stress of the past two weeks and resigned from the board of the Central Bank. His book, "Germany is abolishing itself", however, continues to keep Germany locked in a debate about education and immigration and intelligence. Also this week, Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been awarded the M100 prize for defending freedom of opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the award ceremony: "The secret of freedom is courage". The FAZ interviewed Westergaard, who expressed his disappointment that the only people who had shown him no support were those of his own class.
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