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GoetheInstitute

26/10/2006

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 Zeit 26.10.2006

Wolf Biermann sings a typically Biermannesque song of protest about the growing animosity towards Israel in Germany, where for a change the "average German" and the "Elite Pack" are agreed. "There is much under-the-breath muttering, growling and whining of that old chorus: The Jews are to blame for everything! And when faced with reflex accusations of anti-Semitism, today's Jew-haters reply coolly: 'Surely one can criticise one's friends!" The Germans have a steely eye on the Jews in Israel, and a moist eye on the Arabs in Palestine. But the German romantic sympathy for the Islamists in the Middle East conflict has its reasons. To the German mind, the Arabs are maniacs, immature third-class citizens, quite beyond the reaches of humane Enlightenment. This German sympathy is a sort of patronising contempt. The gushing respect for foreigners is nothing but self-satisfied arrogance. I see the multi-cultural rhapsodising of my peers as the flip-side of the sinister racism of yesteryear."
See our feature "The ghosts are leaving the shadows," a review by Wolf Biermann of the film "The Life of Others."

Wolfgang Rihm, one of Germany's leading contemporary composers, talks to Claus Spahn and Thomas Assheuer about how lived experience corresponds to musical expression. "The two don't correlate on a one-to-one basis. But for example I always have a notebook with me where I can jot things down. Here for example (Rihm shows a page of his notebook with a list in point form), that was a talk with one of the best cooks in Strasbourg, Monsieur Emile Jung from Au Crocodile. He explained to me the principle behind spicing. One strong element is complemented by three medium-strength and six weak ones. That's a fantastic doctrine for composition, because it avoids a bland mishmash and gives you a dominant theme orchestrated from different sides. If you arrange the dynamics similarly in music - with one powerful, three intermediate and six weak elements - you get a balanced result, even if the form is asymmetrical. But don't worry, that's not how I cook up my compositions."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 26.10.2006

In an interview marking the publication of his novel "Partir" into German, the Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun talks about migration from North Africa and Europe's closing door: "The message that's meant to come out of my novel 'Partir' is that emigration is no longer the solution. In countries like Morocco, enough work should be created so that young people no longer risk their lives to get somewhere where the people weren't expecting them in the first place. The authorities in the countries of emigration have to do something against this hopelessness, which so often results in tragedy." A further article reviews the German translation "Verlassen".


Süddeutsche Zeitung
26.10.2006

A year ago the French suburbs went up in flames, but still no official narrative of the events has emerged among the youth, French sociologist Michel Wieviorka explains in an interview with Alex Rühle: "And that's because they simply didn't experience the events together. They communicated over mobile phones, came together for brief moments and then split up again. Added to that, these youths have no culture of remembrance. Their lives are not shaped by discourse, they zap from event to event. In the meantime there's been the Star-Academy and the Football World Cup on TV. They haven't had the time to develop a romantic narrative."

The Moscow gallerist Marat Guelman tells Sonja Zekri how he was beaten up by ten men who stormed his gallery. "My co-workers were orderd to stand against the wall, while the intruders tore the pictures from where they were hanging. Then they launched themselves at me." Guelman thinks they were skinheads. "They hate modern art, they hate everything that doesn't fit into their world. This is not necessarily the ideology of the ruling power, but the government has created an atmosphere conducive to this sort of behaviour."


Die Tageszeitung 26.10.2006

At 35, Charlotte Gainsbourg has released her first album "5:55" and Reinhard Krause looks at why she didn't launch her singing career earlier. "It can't be due to lack of interest from the music world. The problem probably goes back a lot further, to 20 years ago when she recorded an album under the auspices of Big Papa. 'Charlotte Forever' was his hymn to his daughter which followed up on the scandalously-titled 'Lemon Incest' from 1984, where the old provacateur at least hinted at the only sexual variation missing from his oeuvre. ... Father Gainsbourg, Charlotte says in retrospect, lovingly committed to vinyl all the little 'mistakes' she made during the recordings, with the consequence that Charlotte will forever be associated with a squeaky voice that keeps slipping out of key."

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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