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

19/05/2009

Magazine Roundup

Magazine Roundup, which appears every Tuesday at 12 p.m., is originally published by Perlentaucher.

Outlook India | Le Nouvel Observateur | The Economist | La vie des idees | The Atlantic | Magyar Narancs | The Boston Globe | The Spectator | ResetDoc | The New Statesman | Polityka | The New Yorker


Outlook India 18.05.2009 (India)

Not without a flush of (more than understandable) patriotic pride, Vinod Mehta comments on the results of the Indian elections: The triumphant victory of the moderate Congress Party under Manmohan Singh is a "titanic rejection" of the extremist politics of the Hindu BJP and the Communists: "India sends an urgent message through this election. The world's largest democracy, which embraces at once slumdog and real millionaires, remains firmly committed to secular politics. Our neighbours may be flirting with religious and ethnic extremism, but we have manifestly renounced them." The magazine offers a glut of information about the elections and an interactive map showing states and constituencies


Le Nouvel Observateur 14.05.2009 (France)

The Obs dedicates its cover dossier to India. The writer Vikram Chandra explains that the greatest challenges his country faces are domestic: the fight against poverty, corruption and racketeering: "The rise of organised crime is ineluctably bound up with the country's economic growth. The mafiosi are like a corporation which wants a piece of the pie so much that it will stop at nothing to get it. I cannot see these mafia organisations disappearing, instead they will apply their methods to the circumstances. They have an enormously strong influence over all areas of life. The corruption and fear which they spread impairs development, justice, business, politics and everything else besides. And there is no panacea. It will be a long and difficult task to roll back their influence, a dirty job for citizens and state alike."

There is also an interview with the India expert Christophe Jaffrelot, in which he analyses the trump cards and weak spots of the world's largest democracy. In the books section, Philippe Sollers applies himself to the previously unpublished texts of the "absolute misanthrope" Emil Cioran, in which at the age of 22, the author reveals himself to be an ardent follower of Hitler and fascism.


The Economist 15.05.2009 (UK)

In two articles the Economist investigates the state of affairs in the newspaper and news business. While it does not deny the dangers and changes, it steadfastly refuses to break into into the morbid swansongs so popular in Germany. "The only certainty about the future of news is that it will be different from the past. It will no longer be dominated by a few big titles whose front pages determine the story of the day. Public opinion will, rather, be shaped by thousands of different voices, with as many different focuses and points of view. As a result, people will have less in common to chat about around the water-cooler. Those who are not interested in political or economic news will be less likely to come across it; but those who are will be better equipped to hold their rulers to account. Which is, after all, what society needs news for."

A second, informative article presents the new world of the news in more detail. One of the things it looks at are the impersonal aggregators such as Google News. And more personal ones which could play an important role in the future: "Some are eclectic, like the Daily Beast and the Drudge Report—the grandfather of the boutique aggregators. Others are more specific, like Perlentaucher, a German cultural website... Old-fashioned news folk increasingly complain that aggregators are 'parasites' that profit from their work. They are, in a sense; but parasites can be useful. As the quality of journalism becomes more erratic, the job of sifting stories is increasingly vital."


La vie des idees 15.05.2009 (France)

What drives some countries to export their films while others content themselves with imported goods? Monique Dagnaud's essay looks into what makes France, India and the USA the world's successful cinephile nations, with completely different artistic and economic models. As a starting point to her thoughts about how a nation creates and asserts its own identity through the image industry, she outlines three configurations: "Indian cinema cheerfully cultivates its traditions and romanticism for a passionate local audience. The success of this industry is rooted in the country's cultural history. The USA combines the culture of mass cinema with economic efficiency: using mega productions and a variety of genres, it obeys a logic of saturation in domestic and foreign markets alike, but by accumulating talent from all round the world, it furthers the values of the melting pot. France adulates cinema as its own genre of art and zealously guards distribution with state muscle."


The Atlantic 01.06.2009 (USA)

Joshua Wolf Shenk has gained exclusive access to a fascinating long-term scientific study, which has been underway since 1937. It monitors a group of male students who enrolled as undergraduates at Harvard that year. Around half of them are still alive. The study has no less ambitious goal than to find out what makes us happy? The results are more paradoxical than unambiguous, as Schenk emphasises: "But as George Vaillant, who has run the study for more than forty years, points out, longitudinal studies, like wines, improve with age. And as the Grant Study men entered middle age—they spent their 40s in the 1960s—many achieved dramatic success. Four members of the sample ran for the U.S. Senate. One served in a presidential Cabinet, and one was president [this was John F. Kennedy, but his files cannot be opened until 2040 - ed.]. There was a best-selling novelist (not, Vaillant has revealed, Norman Mailer, Harvard class of '43). But hidden amid the shimmering successes were darker hues. As early as 1948, 20 members of the group displayed severe psychiatric difficulties. By age 50, almost a third of the men had at one time or another met Vaillant's criteria for mental illness. Underneath the tweed jackets of these Harvard elites beat troubled hearts. Arlie Bock didn't get it. 'They were normal when I picked them,' he told Vaillant in the 1960s. 'It must have been the psychiatrists who screwed them up.'"

Magyar Narancs 14.05.2009 (Hungary)

The 8th of May seems to have passed unnoticed in Hungary. Does this date means nothing to Hungarians? Don't they know how to celebrate or what they should be celebrating? Obviously Hungary was not on the winning side, but the Germans can and want to celebrate this date. "Does this make them traitors and us Hungarians the guardians of the flame? What is that divide opening up under our feet?" the weekly paper Magyar Narancs asks anxiously. "Behind this profound, ominous silence, in which the only thing you hear is the lack of national consensus about fascism and Hungary's fascist past; behind this paravent of embarrassing silence, the events of the past weeks and months are beginning to emerge: incidents of racist violence, black uniforms on the streets of Hungarian villages, hate speeches which are becoming part of our daily lives; and the powerlessness of the law. But this is not all. The silence is also an affront to Europe. Because it is this antifascist consensus that holds together this community: the fundamental and irrefutable knowledge that fascism, National Socialism and everything this leads to - like the Second World War – represents the darkest chapter in the history of mankind. And the end of WWII, the day of the German surrender, is the greatest day in this community."


The Boston Globe 18.05.2009 (USA)

Richard Thompson Ford, professor of law, human rights activist, and one of America's leading black intellectuals, assesses the current state of racial discrimination in the US under the new black president. Discrimination is no longer the key problem, Ford argues; but racial segregation - the legacy of past racism - is. "The biggest racial problem facing the country isn't discrimination, but rather the deep inequality that has created almost two different Americas, one black and poor and the other a more prosperous, multi-racial mainstream. Many poor inner-city blacks have no contact with the mainstream of American society or with the conventional job market. Fathers who are unable to support their families walk away from them; young single mothers, overwhelmed with the challenges of parenthood, abandon education and any hope for upward mobility. In isolation, ghetto residents develop distinctive speech patterns and affectations that can be off-putting to potential employers, exacerbating the lack of economic opportunity. Deprived of legitimate job opportunities, many hustle in the quasi-legal gray market; others turn to full-fledged crime."


The Spectator 16.05.2009 (UK)

Only a medievalist can understand the present, declares Dan Jones, and draws a number of parallels between the 14th and the 21st centuries."It's time for the world to recognise that the problems with which we now wrestle were experienced and dealt with in spooky parallel by our ancestors some 700 years ago. Where Geoffrey Chaucer and his fellows had the Black Death, the Peasants' Revolt, the Hundred Years War and the Mediaeval Warm Period, so we have Swine Flu, the G20 riots, Afghanistan and Al Gore. The names have changed, but the horsemen ain't. Take the G20 riots in London. Many of the protestors no doubt felt very modern, as they used their mobile phones, Facebook etc to arrange their meeting, marching, camping, hollering and bottle-chucking. To the mediaevalist it was all old hat. In fact, the G20 protest was organised, fomented, executed and eventually dispelled in much the same way as Wat Tyler's rebellion in 1381. There was no camp on Blackheath or battle at Smithfield, but much else was there intact."


ResetDoc 16.05.2009 (Italy)

The infamous new marital laws for Shiites in Afghanistan break with the Qur'an, writes the liberal Islamic thinker Nasr Abu-Zayd in the intercultural magazine ResetDoc.org. "The Qur'an changed the long practised Arabian tradition of making the eldest son the only heir of the deceased father's wealth and distributes it among all the sons, the daughters and the wife. Ironically, in the context of inheritance, the Qur'an speaks only about one wife, no mention is made of wives of the deceased. Women were thus included to take their share. Marriage is presented in the Qur'an in terms of tranquillity and mutual love; the husband is his wife's own dress and she is his. They contain each other. Compared with the definition of marriage in Shari'a where the marriage contract consists of buying and selling, the woman is the merchandise, while the Qur'an provides marriage with a high status."


The New Statesman 14.05.2009 (UK)

The New Statesman features a number of articles on Saudi Arabia – a land torn between fundamentalist Islam and oil-fuelled modernity. David Gardner outlines the effects of totalitarian Wahhabism on everyday life: ""The state created by Ibn Saud has remained essentially static, while its subjects have been dragged into a modernity that rests on the shakiest foundations, imported like the air-conditioners that cool the gleaming malls and gated residential compounds. Within loudspeaker distance of a fire-and-brimstone mosque in Riyadh, close to the hotels where I have stayed many times, a shimmering mall houses a Harvey Nichols emporium with an outlet for La Senza, the lingerie chain. It is identical, in all respects except the gaudier range, to a similar shop anywhere else. But there is one fundamental difference. Because women may not mix with men outside their family and are kept in a mixture of seclusion and segregation, it follows that they cannot work in a lingerie boutique – which is therefore staffed entirely by men."

Further articles: Sophie Elmhirst portrays Abdul Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism. The jazz critic Sholto Byrnes remembers his childhood in Saudi Arabia.


Polityka 13.05.2009 (Poland)

Jazz, once so alive and kicking in Poland, is fading into the background in the country's bars. Polityka features an article (here in German) by Dorota Szwarcman, who attended a conference in Kattowitz about the history of jazz in Poland. She cites the critic Tomasz Szachowski: "They play mainstream or Hard Bop, in the style of Adderley, say, because Charlie Parker would be too difficult for them. Free Jazz no longer gets a look in. There are only stylisations, wonderful stylisations, but old-fashioned. It would be fantastic if young musicians would still surprise us with their own visions. But this is not happening."


The New Yorker 25.05.2009 (USA)

On the seventieth anniversary of "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" and the publication of two good books, David Denby remembers the almost forgotten man behind these two Hollwood classics, director Victor Fleming. "On the 'Gone with the Wind' set, Fleming teased and cajoled Leigh; at times, they battled as much as Rhett and Scarlett. Walking off after a bad day, he said, 'Miss Leigh, you can stick this script up your royal British ass,' a not particularly elegant variant of 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.' But their dislike for each other may have kept the movie dramatically alive. In one of the scenes in which Rhett moves in on Scarlett, Fleming instructed her, 'Resist but don't resist too much.' Yet, as Gable reached for her, she slapped him. This particular blow, one imagines, may have been a retaliatory act aimed as much at Fleming as at Rhett. In any case, Fleming was very pleased with the scene ('That's swell!'), and it stayed in the movie."

Other articles: Jeffrey Toobin portrays the Supreme Court's "stealth hardliner", John Roberts. Paul Goldberger congratulates the Guggenheim on its 50th birthday. And David Denby also watched "Angels and Demons" by Ron Howard and "Summer Hours" ("L'heure d'ete") by Olivier Assayas. There is also a short story "Ava's Apartment" by Jonathan Lethem and poems by Robert Gibb and Philip Levine.

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

 
More articles

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 27 March, 2012

The Republicans are waging a war against women, the New York Magazine declares. Perhaps it's because women are so unabashed about reading porn in public - that's according to publisher Beatriz de Moura in El Pais Semanal, at least. Polityka remembers Operation Reinhard. Tensions are growing between Poland and Hungary as Victor Orban spreads his influence, prompting ruminations on East European absurdity from both Elet es Irodalom and salon.eu.sk. Wired is keeping its eyes peeled on the only unassuming sounding Utah Data Center.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 20 March, 2012

In Telerama, Benjamin Stora grabs hold of the Algerian boomerang. In Eurozine, Slavenka Drakulic tells the Venetians that they should be very scared of Chinese money. Bela Tarr tells the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Berliner Zeitung that his "Turin Horse", which ends in total darkness was not intended to depress. In die Welt, historian Dan Diner cannot agree with Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands": National Socialism was not like Communism - because of Auschwitz.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 13 March, 2012

In Perfil author Martin Kohn explains why Argentina would be less Argentinian if it won back the Falklands. In Il sole 24 ore, Armando Massarenti describes the Italians as a pack of illiterates sitting atop a treasure trove. Polityka introduces the Polish bestseller of the season: Danuta Walesa's autobiography. L'Express looks into the state of Japanese literature one year after Fukushima.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 6 March, 2012

In Merkur, Stephan Wackwitz muses on poetry and absurdity in Tiflis. Outlook India happens on the 1980s Indian answer to "The Artist". Bloomberg Businessweek climbs into the cuckoo's nest with the German Samwar brothers. Salon.eu.sk learns how to line the pockets of a Slovenian politician. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Navid Kermani reports back impressed from the Karachi Literature Festival.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 28 February, 2012

In La Vie des idees, historian Anastassios Anastassiadis explains why we should go easy on Greece. Author Aleksandar Hemon describes in Guernica how ethnic identity is indoctrinated in the classroom in Bosnia and Herzogovina. In Eurozine, Klaus-Michael Bogdal examines how Europe invented the Gypsies. Elet es Irodalon praises the hygiene obsession of German journalists. And Polityka pinpoints Polish schizophrenia.

read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 21 February, 2012

The New Republic sees a war being waged in the USA against women's rights. For Rue89, people who put naked women on the front page of a newspaper should not be surprised if they go to jail. In Elet es Irodalom, historian Mirta Nunez Daaz-Balart explains why the wounds of the Franco regime never healed. In Eurozine, Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev see little in common between the protests in Russia and those in the Arab world.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 14 February, 2012

In Letras Libras Enrique Krauze and Javier Sicilia fight over anarchy levels. In Elet es Irodalom Balint Kadar wants Budapest to jump on the Berlin bandwagon. In Le Monde Imre Kertesz has given up practically all hope for a democratic Hungary. Polityka ponders poetic inspiration and Wislawa Szymborska's "I don't know". In Espressso, Umberto Eco gets eschatological.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 7 February, 2012

Poland's youth have taken to the streets to protest against Acta and Donald Tusk has listened, Polityka explains. Himal and the Economist report on the repression of homosexuality in the Muslim world. Outlook India doesn't understand why there will be no "Dragon Tattoo" film in India. And in Eurozine, Slavenka Drakulic looks at how close the Serbs are to eating grass.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 31 January, 2012

In the French Huffington Post, philosopher Catherine Clement explains why the griot Youssou N'Dour had next to no chance of becoming Senegal's president. Peter Sloterdijk (in Le Monde) and Umberto Eco (in Espresso) share their thoughts about forgetting. Al Ahram examines the post-electoral depression of Egypt's young revolutionaries. And in Eurozine, Kenan Malik defends freedom of opinion against those who want the world to go to sleep.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 24 January, 2012

TeaserPicIl Sole Ore weeps at the death of a laughing Vincenzo Consolo. In Babelia, Javier Goma Lanzon cries: Praise me, please! Osteuropa asks: Hungaria, quo vadis? The newborn French Huffington Post heralds the birth of the individual in the wake of the Arab Spring. Outlook India is infuriated by the cowardliness of Indian politicians in the face of religious fanatics.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 17 January, 2012

TeaserPicIn Nepszabadsag the dramatist György Spiro recognises 19th century France in Hungary today. Peter Nadas, though, in Lettre International and salon.eu.sk, is holding out hope for his country's modernisation. In Open Democracy, Boris Akunin and Alexei Navalny wish Russia was as influential as America - or China. And in Lettras Libras, Peter Hamill compares Mexico with a mafia film by the Maquis de Sade.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 10 January, 2012

Are books about to become a sort of author-translator wiki, asks Il Sole 24 Ore. Rue 89 reports on the "Tango Wars" in downtown Buenos Aires. Elet es Irodalom posits a future for political poetry. In Merkur, Mikhail Shishkin encounters Russian pain in Switzerland. Die Welt discovers the terror of the new inside the collapse of the old in Andrea Breth's staging of Isaak Babel's "Maria". And Poetry Foundation waits for refugees in Lampedusa.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Wednesday 4 January, 2012

TeaserPicTechnology Review sees Apple as the next Big Brother. In Eurozine, Per Wirten still fears the demons of the European project. Al Ahram Weekly features Youssef Rakha's sarcastic "The honourable citizen manifesto". Revista Piaui profiles Iraqi-Norwegian geologist Farouk Al-Kasim. Slate.fr comments on the free e-book versions of Celine's work. And Die Welt celebrates the return of Palais Schaumburg.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 13 December, 2011

TeaserPicAndre Glucksman in Tagesspiegel looks at the impact of the Putinist plague on Russia and Europe. In Letras Libras Martin Caparros celebrates the Kindle as book. György Dalos has little hope that Hungary's intellectuals can help get their country out of the doldrums. Le Monde finds Cioran with his head up the skirt of a young German woman. The NYT celebrates the spread of N'Ko, the West African text messaging alphabet.
read more

Magazine Roundup

Tuesday 6 December, 2011

TeaserPicMicroMega cheers recent landmark Mafia convictions in Milan. Volltext champions Hermann Broch. Elet es Irodalom calls the Orban government’s attack on cultural heritage "Talibanisation". Magyar Narancs is ambiguous about new negotiations with the IMF. Telerama recommends the icon of anti-colonialism Frantz Fanon. Salon.eu.sk quips about the dubious election results in Russia, and voices in the German press mark the passing of Christa Wolf. And in the Anglophone press Wired profiles Jeff Bezos, while the Columbia Journalism Review polemicises the future of internet journalism.
read more