They?re Still Painting, and More: The Leipzig Art Scene

First a success, then a bubble: the hype surrounding the ?New Leipzig School? put the city on the map of the art world, but also blinkered its vision.... more more

GoetheInstitute

30/01/2009

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 Allgemeine Zeitung 24.01.2009

Bernard-Henri Levy is travelling through Israel and Egypt to get a better picture of the situation there. One of the people he talked to was Ehud Barack, who described for him the Israeli dilemma: "'Two possibilities,' he explained to me in a tone of voice which, I swear, betrayed the curiosity of a strategist faced with an unknown tactic. 'Either we are informed in time and don't shoot and then they win. Or we don't know the environment, end up shooting, they film the victims, send the pictures to a TV station and then they've won again.'" The full article is here is French.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 26.01.2009

Writer and businessman Ernst-Wilhelm Händler remembers how his father steered his business through the oil crisis and has this to say about the current recession: 'Short-term profit maximisation is less a question of greed than an illusion of economic control. The profit target is a superior planning instrument because it is both wide in scope and rich in detail. But it only applies to the short term. Management knows that they can only plan in long-term block by grouping together short-term blocks. When this doesn't work they look all surprised and start talking about structural rifts."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 26.01.2009

Author Martin Pollack was horrified to discover that photographs taken by German soldiers during WWII are for sale on Ebay. "As well as sites of interest and fellow soldiers, military equipment, war-torn land and cityscapes, the soldiers also photographed crimes committed, scenes of violence and humiliation of people they regarded as 'the enemy', principally Jews and gypsies. These sort of images have remained under lock and key until now but suddenly they are being dug out of drawers and suitcases, plucked out of albums and turned into money. By children and grandchildren who no longer fear recriminations, and who obviously no longer feel any shame."


Die Welt 27.01.2009

Wilhelm II was not the leading warmonger in 1914, his biographer John G.G Röhl explains in an interview: it was Helmuth von Moltke, the Chief of the General Staff. "Among the real leaders of German politics such as Moltke the Younger and Reich's Chancellor von Behmann Hollweg, Wilhelm was regarded as a loose cannon which should be neutralised if need be. And this was one of the motivations for packing off the Kaiser on a tour of the North. After his return to Potsdam and Berlin, the higly agitated Monarch was handed manipulated telegrams and his orders were silently overruled. However indiscreet, racist and war-crazed his behaviour during the July crisis of 1914, it was not Wilhelm II but Moltke who would gloat at having 'prepared and triggered' the Great War."


Die Tageszeitung 28.01.2009

Cigdem Akyol comments on a new integration study in which the Turks performed particularly poorly. For Akyol is is "right to assess integration according to ethnic criteria. It is controversial, it is still a taboo, but it is not wrong. Anyone who dons a muzzle out of fear of breaking taboos will never get anywhere. Anyone who believes that poor education has social rather than cultural causes, should look at the example set by the Vietnamese."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 28.01.2009

Franz Haas reports on how Italian crime writer Cesare Battisti has put a significant strain on relations between Brazil and Italy. For the last thirty years Italy has been calling in vain for France to hand over the former terrorist and crime writer, Cesare Battisti, who had been taken under the wing of French high society. "When in June 2004 the French judiciary had as good as decided to hand him over, Battisti went into hiding and escaped to Brazil where he lived with the financial support of French bestselling detective novellist Fred Vargas. When he was in hiding, Vargas had published a passionate defence of her fellow author, 'La verite sur Cesare Battisti'. Eventually the police were able to track down Battisti after a listening in on a phone call between the two writers. He was detained by Brazilian police but they appeared to be in no hurry to verify Italy's request for extradition. Now almost two years later, Brazil has formally refused to hand him over, freezing the already chilled diplomatic stand-off."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
30.01.2009

Hoo Nam Seelmann describes the draconian measures that Korea has undertaken to combat the financial downturn, as predicted by the mysterious blogger Minerva. "When his pessimistic blog which was highly critical of the government became increasingly popular with readers, the government started to fear that the already shaky trust in their economic policy would be buried forever. They announced that they would seek him out and bring him to justice. They didn't know how else to defend themselves against the subversive power of words from the virtual world, which the people seemed to trust more than their own government. On January 10th, Minerva had his cover blown and was thrown into prison." Oh and by the way: "Minerva is a 31-year old unemployed male named Park Dae Seung, who dropped out of college after just two years."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
30.01.2009

For British historian Richard J. Evans, Count von Stauffenberg does not rank as a moral role model because he was a member of the military resistance to Hitler that was chiefly motivated by the fear that "the war was unwinnable. To launch it, they believed, would cause incalculable harm to Germany. It was this, rather than any fundamental opposition to National Socialism as such, that motivated the leading members of the military-aristocratic resistance in the late 1930s and at the beginning of the 1940s. Like them, Stauffenberg thought of himself first and foremost as a soldier, in the centuries-old tradition of his family, and for a long while, this military identity outweighed the influences he had imbibed through his membership of the Stefan George circle.

Karl Heinz Bohrer disagrees. He believes it is bigoted to say that someone with the 'wrong' political ideas cannot act morally. "There is no question that like Ernst Jünger and Gottfried Benn, Stauffenberg's first spiritual influence, Stefan George, entertained proto-fascist fantasies. And there is also no question that the young Stauffenberg's reverence for the medieval 'reich' was reactionary – in a similar vein to Novalis's ideas in 'Die Christenheit oder Europa'. But what does that mean? Neither of them had political ideas that could in any way have served as a model for democratic European societies in the second half of the twentieth century. But to fundamentalise this tautological insight and effectively deny the conspirators any moral or cultural relevance is a blinkered approach and constitutes intellectual bigotry."

Get the signandsight newsletter for regular updates on feature articles.
signandsight.com - let's talk european.

 
More articles

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.
read more

From the Feuilletons

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more