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17/09/2010

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.

Die Tageszeitung 13.09.2010

The taz publishes an appeal by a list of prominent Muslim intellectuals including Feridun Zaimoglu, Fatih Akin and Katajun Amirpur and the Central Council of Muslims to the new Federal President Christinan Wulff, protesting against the intelligence theories propagated by Thilo Sarrazin in his book 'Germany is abolishing itself" (more here, here and here). They appeal to Wulff as their president to "make a stand for a culture of mutual respect": "Muslim women and men cannot even go and buy the newspaper today without having to worry about what headline, what stereotype will be waiting to greet them."


Frankfurter Rundschau 14.09.2010

For Peter Schneider, it is the media which has come out worse in the Sarrazin debate. "A second parallel society has shown its face, the parallel society of politicians and opinion leaders who certainly do not send their children to the problems schools where 90 percent of the children are Muslim. They failed to realise until it was too late that their hysterical reaction was turning Sarrazin into a popular hero, thus further deepening the divide between themselves and a majority which is refusing to keep quiet any longer."


Frankfurter Rundschau
15.09.2010

The former gangster and author Cem Gülay describes the fate of the various generations of Turkish immigrants in Germany. "My generation, officially termed the second generation, somehow made it – with the exception of myself, of course. My [male] cousin, is an engineer, my [female] cousin, is a member of the Berlin House of Representatives (SPD). But what I am reading here in der Spiegel? They are leaving all leaving Germany? And taking their children with them? Why? According to der Spiegel, nearly half of all professionally-qualified German-Turks are leaving Germany because it's getting more and more difficult to find work here. And who is staying? ...Those who are not qualified enough to leave. So only its the angry generation who are staying. And what do they have going for them? Crime and religion. No? Angry minus opportunity = crime and fundamentalism. It's a simple calculation."


Der Freitag 16.09.2010

Thilo Sarrazin's recourse to eugenic and genetic argumentation is utter nonsense and completely unscientific, according to Veronika Lipphardt, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. "Genes code proteins, not characteristics. Science has yet to produce causal connections between gene products and characteristics. All that has been demonstrated is that certain gene allels – in other worlds versions of genes – correlate conspicuously often with observations of behaviour. But this says nothing about the cause of these correlations. This can be an artefact, a statistical distortion, it can be culturally determined or caused by something else entirely."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 16.09.2010

Lena Wilde introduces a recent Shell study on German youth. The upcoming generation is deeply pragmatic and entertains no dreams of advancement or resistance. "Those with a home life that is halfway decent hope, at the very most, that they will not have to experience a significant drop in their living standards. Klaus Hurrelmann, who carried out the study put it this way: 'They are content at the prospect of re-living the life of their parents.' And for this reason there is no talk of rebellion. More than 90 percent of the youth have a positive relationship with their parents and most of them would adopt their parents' methods of child-raising."


Die Zeit 16.09.2010

For Katja Nicodemus, this year's Venice film festival was all about ugly men doing ugly things. "One day you were follwing a silent hero into a Chilean morgue and watching him perform autopsies on the victims of the Chilean civil war (Pablo Larrain's 'Post Mortem'). The next you watching a lover chopping up the face of his rival (Alex de la Iglesias' 'Ballada triste de trompeta'). Or a half-starving prisoner boiling a rat for lunch in a Chinese prison camp ('The Trench' by Wang Bing). I have never been to a festival where the human form has been so tormented, maltreated and reduced to pure creatureliness."


Frankfurter Rundschau 17.09.2010

Literary critic, biographer and novelist Fritz J. Raddatz was the head of die Zeit feuilleton from 1976 to 1985. He was a highly extravagant figure who injected glamour into the world of the German feuilleton, transforming it into a forum for international writing. Arno Widmann relished his freshly published diaries, "our bonfire of the vanities", in which the intellectual life of the Bundesrepublik is viewed though the "cruellest and most adoring eyes". "You can read the diaries as a endless serialised novel on the decadent life of the cultural industry. Behind the grand words of the feuilletons lie little more than petty vanities, a pecking order built on vitriol and bickering. The finely sculpted sentences are formed from envy and hatred."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
17.09.2010

As a member of the minority ethnic German community, the poet Oskar Pastior spent 5 years in a Soviet labour camp after WWII. It is his life there that Nobel laureate Herta Müller describes in her last novel "Everything I Own I Carry With Me" (excerpt in English). Now a German historian has just uncovered a declaration of commitment to the Romanian Securitate signed by Oskar Pastior in 1961, as Lother Müller and Christopher Schmidt report. Stefan Sienerth, the director of the Institute for German Culture and History of Southern East Europe at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University, who discovered the document will present his findings at a talk on Sunday. "Admittedly the historian has only found a single report implicating Pastior. But 'in all these years there is not a single record of an attempt by Pastior to terminate his work for the Romanian secret police or to undertake any steps to free himself from this psychological burden,' Sienerth writes in the manuscript." Muller and Schmidt add that Pastior's homosexuality and labour-camp experience would have made him particularly vulnerable to blackmail.

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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 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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