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16/04/2010

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.

Frankfurter Rundschau 10.04.2010

Julia Kospach talked to the writer Ilse Helbich, who was born in 1923 and published her first novel at the age of eighty. The conversation revolves around feeling old: "I would love to just skid down a cliff face! Or swim in the sea again, without worrying about drowning. These things are so overwhelming. Another overwhelming thing is that old age is not idyllic or peaceful. Some hole in my memory always lets things into my head that are incredibly hard and which I never would have dared to think when I was younger.... I just have the feeling that it's irrelevant whether something is terribly tragic or terribly funny. This levelling of things is difficult to understand for younger people. They want old age and the end to be peaceful."


Berliner Zeitung
10.04.2010

In Bucharest, Thomas Schmid pays a visit to the former professional footballer Teodor Maries, who went on hunger strike to try to force out the truth about who was responsible for shooting into the crowds during the 1989 revolution, killing hundreds of people: "Teodor Maries has been on hunger strike for 70 days and despite his considerable height of 1,85 metres, he now weighs only 55 kilos and his body temperature has dropped to 35 degrees."


Die Welt
12.04.2010

The German reggae star Gentleman (aka Tilman Otto) said it in the taz and he says it again in Die Welt: gay is not okay in Jamaica. "I cannot expect other cultures to be like my own. I do not have to go around handing out condoms in the Vatican City or tearing headscarves off women's heads in Iran. I cannot condemn homophobia in Jamaica. There are things that just do not fit with the Rastaman's religion, and you have to accept that."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
13.04.2010

Pope bashing has become so fashionable, but the SZ is not for turning. Andreas Zielcke delivers a fierce condemnation of the "attack against faith, religion and Church", by those ghastly atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who, earlier in the week, made public their plans to have the Pope arrested for "crimes against humanity", as soon as he touches British soil this coming September. "The Pope as common criminal or a criminal against humanity? Firstly, he can't be prosecuted in Britain, and secondly, the allegation alone is grotesque."


Frankfurter Rundschau
14.04.2010

The German film director Werner Schroeter died this week. His former lover, fellow director and rival, Rosa von Praunheim, bids his farewell with a love letter: "You were one of the greatest outsiders of the German cinema and theatre, a perverse poet, a magician of light and beauty who raised himself so refreshingly above the masses of cinematic realism. Even Fassbinder praised you, and then he went on to steal your Genet project 'Querelle'".


Der Tagesspiegel 14.04.2010

At the start of the Berlin blogger conference Re:Publica, Matthias Spielkamp of Immateriblog asks whether the state should really be shoring up the business models of the entertainment and cultural industries: "There is no such thing as the right to profit. Above all, the state cannot be allowed to place restrictions on human rights just to help a business sector. This is what will be happening if the copyright industries – rather than the creatives – are allowed to push through their demands to have citizens placed under surveillance, their laptops searched at airports for 'illegal' music and their access to the Internet denied due to violations of copyright. This is not some theoretical horror scenario, this is what plenty of exploitation rights holders want from the politicians and it is already in place in countries like France and Britain."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
15.04.2010

With the black cloud of mourning still hanging heavy over Poland, the writer Pawel Huelle tries to provide a balanced assessment of the two sides of Lech Kaczynski. "The Poles have not mourned on this scale since the death of John Paul II: the apotheosis of Lech Kaczynski is well under way. He was an outstanding statesman, he loved children, athletes, the poor, intellectuals, all Poles. He was a true father of the nation. Private media stations who never liked him before (TVN for example) are suddenly tripping over themselves to prove that Lech Kaczynski was the greatest Pole of the 20th century. No one today has the courage to say that he also made a significant contribution to the destruction of the legend of Lech Walesa, by accusing the former dock worker and president of being in cahoots with the communist secret services."


Die Zeit 15.04.2010

In an interview with Jörg Lau, the Hungarian writer Peter Nadas talks about why Hungary made such a dramatic swing to the right. And he is annoyed that the west is turning its back in disgust again, before it had even begun to show any real interest in "poor, dull" East Europe. "It's important to acknowledge one's own shortcomings too. Big German and French businesses behave like colonial masters in Hungary. They are the only employers around and trade unions are in short supply. So you shouldn't be surprised at Jobbik's popularity if desperate family men are constantly being laid off only to be rehired under worse conditions."


Die Welt 16.04.2010

"He's screwed it up", writes historian Michael Wolffsohn in a scathing assessment of Benedict XVI's pontificate to date, although he is not talking about sex abuse so much as the relationship with Judaism and Islam: "Benedict XVI is the most intellectual and most theologically important Pope in a long time. But he has put neither this God-given reservoir nor the religious powers of his own making to good use. This German Pope had a unique opportunity, and indeed obligation, to build bridges with the Jews and Muslims alike. Instead we have an interfaith shambles on our hands."

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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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