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12/02/2010

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.

Der Tagesspiegel 06.02.2010

Five years ago in Berlin, 23-year-old Hatun Sürücü was shot three times in the face by her 18-year-old brother Ayran. The young Turkish woman, who had a German boyfriend and a belly-button piercing, was murdered to restore the "honour" of her family. The clan behind the murder has now scattered across Europe, but Ayran "is in the juvenile detention centre in Plötzensee, the so-called 'murder house,'" as Ferda Ataman reports. "He is studying for his school-leaving exams and training to be a carpenter, and apparently enjoys the respect of his fellow inmates. 'The worse your crime, the more respect you get in there,' says a former inmate who knows and obviously likes Ayhan. 'Everyone in there thinks he did the right thing,' he says."


From the blogs 08.02.2010

"Axolotl Roadkill", the heavily hyped debut novel by 17-year-old Helene Hegeman has now been revealed to be the product of a lot of copying and pasting. The scandal broke after questions starting being asked about how a 16-year-old could write so convincingly about Berlin's nightclub Berghain. "The strict door policy in Berghain means that people who even look like they might be under 21 are refused entry," according to Deef Pirmasens in his blog Gefühlskonserve, who traced the passages back to the underground techno novel "Strobo" by a writer called Airen. A day later the blog announced: "Helene Hegemann apologises." Her full apology is published at buchmarkt de. "Airen, from whom I copied a whole page of writing, without changing much, copied more or less directly, is a great writer," she said.


Die Welt 09.02.2010

In an interview with Cosima Lutz, Helene Hegemann had the following to say about the accusations of plagiarism: "I don't see it as stealing because I have used the material in a completely different context which is entirely my own. And I have never pretended that any of this stuff was mine. When people insist on reinterpreting what I have written as the novel of the Noughties, then they have to recognise that the writing process is also a product of its time. This means that whole copyright excess has been replaced by the right to copy and transform."


Frankfurter Rundschau
08.02.2010

The paper prints a speech by the senior prosecutor of the anti-mafia directorate in Palermo, Roberto Scarpinato, in which he blames the deregulated market, what he calls "the rogue economy", for the globalisation of the mafia. "One of the effects of the corrosion of political power is that criminal aristocracies now represent a structural component of the new global capitalism, and they are involved in the new formation of states and are able to infiltrate the structure of weaker states."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 10.02.2010

The bloody beginnings of the new Romania and the mystery that still resides around Ceausescu's murder are a weight around the nation's neck, according to psychiatrist and writer Ion Viona: "We have never really found out who gave the orders to shoot the dictator on that day in December. And the terrible suspicion that the thousand or more people who died in the revolution could be the victims of another farce of even greater proportions, lies at the heart of post-communist Romania. But twenty years after the Romanian revolution, the files on those events have been closed, and at the same time, our nation is being condemned by international courts. Romania today is standing in the quicksand of lies about the events of December 21 to 25. And if historical facts are sinking ever deeper into this quicksand, so are our chances of ever finding the historical truth."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 10.02.2010

Three years down the line and the farcical trial into the murder of journalist Hrant Dink has yet to deliver justice. But last Monday his widow entered the courtroom, this time not alone, but accompanied by family members of twenty other victims of unsolved murders, as Kai Strittmacher reports. "Twenty murders, the families believe, that were carried out by the 'deep state': the networks and death squadrons of self-proclaimed protectors of the fatherland, who have been nesting in the catacombs of the nation since its birth in 1923. There has never been such a show of solidarity from its victims."


Der Tagesspiegel 11.02.2010

The Berlinale opens today in the German capital. After ten years with Dieter Kosslick at the helm, the Competition section is starting to feel deep neglect, Jan Schulz-Ojala complains. "At the press conference it was once again painfully obvious how little interest Kosslick has in the main section of the festival which is under his control - how infrequently he talks about this selection with any cineastic verve. Instead he proudly announced that tickets for the Culinary Cinema section - in which star cooks serve up their wares after screenings related to food, love and the environment - had sold out immediately. Even before the films had been announced." Moreover, Schulz-Ojala continues, the only world-class director at the festival this year is Michael Winterbottom. "This puts the Competition on a par with Locarno - or within Germany - with the young emerging talent festival in Saarbrücken."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 11.02.2010

As president of this year's Berlinale jury Werner Herzog remembers his high expectations of the festival back in 1968, when his first film "Signs of Life" was screened in the Competition. But he was deeply disappointed by what he found and decided to go it alone. "When I got to Berlin I found the festival to be a dusty affair. It was still stuck in the Fifties, and full of film functionaries introducing clapped-out old stars from the Nazi era. So I got together a handful of films, rented a cinema in Neukölln and put on my own little festival. I just wanted to kick the door down."

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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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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.
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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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