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05/09/2008

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.

Jungle World 30.08.2008

In a dossier on the statistics of power, Cord Reichelman decries Gaussian distribution and the theory of probability as instruments of suppression. "Crime rate predictions for particular sections of the population do as little to change the crime rate as other preventative measures such as electronic tagging or gated communities. The weather report does not stop the hurricane, and earthquake predictions will never halt a Tsunami so long as the sea rests on an earth whose plates are in constant friction. Predictions have long since parted ways with their subjects, and we can only escape their calming and controlling effects if we find a way back to these subjects. Only then willl we see an end to the blind effects of statistical abstractions which mould school pupils according to Gaussian distribution or which drive entire swathes of the populations or urban areas in the loop of plan realisation."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
30.08.2008

The entire first page of the feuilleton bids a grand farewell to the nigh on sixty-year rule of Wolfgang Wagner, the Bayreuth patriarch. Gustav Seibt is largely dismissive of the artistic trends that have graced the stage in Bayreuth recently. "The last productions, some of which were better than others, all bent over backwards to show modernity as a space for installation and association. An opulent thereabouts has replaced the formal stringency of abstraction which, in Sefan Herheim's 'Parzifal', turned up as just one of many local colours. The future here looks arbitrary." Joachim Kaiser looks back and ahead: "A big thank you for everything. Bayreuth exists, as it has always done, as the Church of Wagner, as a crowd puller. But is has been struggling to maintain the standards of a world class opera institution. There's a hard road ahead for the next generation."


Frankfurter Rundschau 02.09.2008

All in all Hans-Jürgen Linke is not dissatisfied with the unsurprising decision that Wolfgang Wagner will be handing the over reigns to his daughters Katharina and Eva. "It is the end of an era on the green hill. And we have known about the new things that lie in store for us for ages now, with the exception of a few potentially original details. And Nike Wagner (Wolfgang's niece) should be happy that she doesn't have to take on the direction of Bayreuth. Unlike Katharina, she never would have just been able to just keep things ticking over. She would have had to change everything and justify her very move. "


Süddeutsche Zeitung 02.09.2008

Under the title "The Fight for Paradise", writer Navid Kermani expresses his concern at the lack of media coverage of the conflict in Kashmir, where 600,000 Indian soldiers are stationed: "When I travelled through Kashmir last autumn, the uprising seem to have run out of steam. Fed up was the expression I heard most, fed up with the nightly searches, fed up with the passport controls, the street blockades, the arrests, the raping and the kidnapping, all of which was being documented by the relevant human rights organisations, fed up with all the whims of these foreign soldiers who seemed to be guarding every last chicken coop with their loaded machine guns. So it came as no surprise when the Indian government announced that they had quashed the militant uprising. But now another protest movement has sprung out of nowhere, seemingly unassisted by political leaders, and it's as strong as the one in 1989."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03.09.2008

Novelist Ulf Erdmann Ziegler, who has personal experience of both East and West Germany, can only laugh at Hans-Ulrich Wehler's over-simplistic comparison of the two societies in his new book. "I found Hans-Ulrich Wehler's 'Social History' very amusing, although this was surely not the author's intent. It is riddled with political wishes and flag-waving ideological particles. The lion's share of his book is dedicated to the Bundesrepublic, while the GDR is relegated to the margins. It's true that the constitution was strong enough to close the files of the GDR's state apparatus. But this should not signal the end of the history of mentality, but the beginning. What a shame that Niklas Luhmann is no longer around to provide a systematic comparison of this comparison of systems. Luhmann was not just a hard worker. He also had a heart."


Die Tageszeitung 04.09.2008

Andreas Dresen's new film' "Cloud 9" which looks at sex in old age has made the front page. Under the headline "Yes we can!" Dirk Knipphals comments: "Anyone whose youth was inspired by the summer of love, is hardly going to be talked out of their hard-won sexual freedoms forty years down the line. And I'm not talking 'Harald and Maude'! Today's sandwich generation of fortysomething's should start preparing right now: they won't only have to manage inheritance issues and nursing homes for their parents, but probably the fallout of emotional escapades as well."


Die Welt 05.09.2008

Director Christoph Schlingensief talks to Wilfried Mommert about his "Fluxus Oratorium" which goes by the title "A church of fear before the alien in me", and for the first time, about the lung cancer for which he has been successfully treated: "I can't deal with all the Catholic stuff which I was I brought up with any more, even if Catholicism is is still closer to me, more tangible, more archaic, more unpleasant, it stinks and fascinates more than any Calvinism or dried up sectarian stuff. But when I see the enormous suffering in the world and all the personal tragedies in the wards or in the chemo and radiotherapy waiting rooms, this gets under my skin so strongly than I can relativise my own life-threatening illness. There are always people who are worse off, but what I experienced was like a sort of pre-Hell, and I hope that they will take that into account in purgatory, even if the Pope spreads about other nonsense there."'


Other papers 05.09.2008

In the Catholic Tages-Post, Ingo Langner picks apart a recent speech by gas-man Gerhard Schröder on Russia. "Under orders from 'His Master's Voice', Schröder did not omit to mention that 'in his view' Georgia's Nato bid was quite unthinkable – Ukraine's too. And since Schröder's view is probably almost identical to Putin's, he thinks that Nato should start preparing for a military conflict on the Ukrainian border. Because as we know, there are plenty of people in Ukraine with Russian passports, and according to a law that was waved through by the Russian parliament in 2006, it is the duty of every Russian soldier not to refuse fraternal help to his landsmen, even outside Russia's borders..."


Jungle World 05.09.2008

After several weeks of feuilleton debate about where criticism of Israel ends and anti-Semitism begins, we thought we should cite a commemorative article about the philosopher, court reporter, cultural critic and psychologist Theodor Lessing. "One of Lessing's best known books addresses 'Jewish self-hatred', and anyone interested in anti-Semitism today, in which Jewish anti-Semites also play a role (particularly in 'left-wing academic anti-Semitism) should read it. To explain why history has always thrown up radical Jewish anti-Semites, Lessing (who, it should be said, also hurled anti-Semitic invective against a literature critic he loathed) writes: ''One of the deepest and most reliable findings to emerge from anthropological psychology is that of all peoples of the world, the Jews were perhaps the only ones to look inside themselves to locate blame for the state of the world. Since time immemorial, Jewish teachings have responded to the question 'Why don't they love us?' with 'Because we're guilty'."

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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

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Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

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Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

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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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