08/12/2006

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 08.12.2006

On the media and IT page, Mona Sarkis looks at the situation of the media in Lebanon and concludes that it, like the country as a whole, is strongly polarised. Shortly after the war with Israel, a new newspaper, the Al-Akhbar, went into business. "The newspaper, which started up in the middle of August, is pulling all out the stops – from its modern, puristic layout, to short articles – to attract the young and particularly the educated among them. According to editor in chief Joseph Samaha, it is working. Most of the sales of the 20,000 copy-strong editions take place in front of the universities. Withing three months, the paper is hot on the heels of the county's main daily, the An-Nahar (39,500 copies). But this will not be enough to sustain the newspaper which was launched with a major injection of capital. And so rumours are flying that cash is flowing in from Iran, Syria, at least from a source close to Hizbullah. When asked about money, Samaha's resonse is ambiguous. Why shouldn't it be? In Lebanon, where no newspaper can survive on sales and advertising alone and where the Hariri family takes care to provide almost all the important media with 'donations', it is hardly surprising if the other side digs deep into its pockets as well."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
08.12.2006

Sonja Zekri has paid a visit to Georgian author Aka Morchiladze, whose book "Santa Esperanza" has just appeared in German. Zekri calls it "probably the boldest and the craziest publishing effort this season." The book is "the fictive chronicle of a fictive group of islands in the Black Sea. But in fact, says Morchiladze, it's really about Georgia. More exactly, about a utopian Georgia that was never annexed by Russia and never bore the Soviet yoke. Georgians, Turks, Jews and Britons live on the island. Yes, Britons. In 1919, the Ottoman pasha Sari Beg leased the group of islands to the British colonel Rollston. The archipelago is due to be given back 145 years later, and Morchiladze's story, which takes place in 2002, is focussed on this event. 'It's a Hong Kong story,' he says. But without a happy end."

Marcus Jauer visited Prince Bernhard of Baden (the chap on the left) at his family estate, Schloss Salem, where the prince grew up. The building costs the family roughly one million euros per year in maintenance. To meet these costs, he recently hit upon the idea of selling off medieval manuscripts which had been in the keeping of the Baden State Library. The plan backfired, however, and provoked a wave of public protest. "The family ruled Baden for 800 years. Then the monarchy became a republic, and state and family were separated. Since then both have tried to clarify what belongs to whom. In many other regions this was cleared up, but not here... The manuscripts are valued at over 250 million euros. In the settlement worked out between Prince Bernhard and the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, the prince renounced ownership of all the contentious art objects. In return he wanted 70 million euros to pay off his family's debts and start up a foundation for the preservation of the castle. The manuscripts were supposed to bring in this sum... The castle was closer to him than the books, but the public saw things differently, and opposed their sale."


Frankfurter Allgemeing Zeitung 09.12.2006

Regina Mönch managed to find her way to a newly opened museum, hidden away in a shabby back courtyard in the centre of the shiny new Berlin Mitte district. The museum is a former workshop for the blind which was run by Otto Weidt, who during the Nazi era employed blind and deaf Jews, "the weakest of the threatened." "When Otto Weidt fetched back his workers a final time from the deportation collection point in the Große Hamburger Straße in January 1942, he is said to have walked at the head of the line of blind brush-binders, leading them round the corner into his workshop, for all to see. This is the story people told of this astounding man who was himself blind. And what, for writer Inge Deutschkron, made the brush-manufacturer from the Berlin back courtyard a hero, a man to whom she, and many others, owes her life. He employed her with false papers and hid other people at night in a back room whose door he blocked with a cupboard."


Die Welt
08.12.2006

The Berlin rapper Sido, whose name is Paul Würdig when he takes off his silver skull mask, has recently turned his attention to social realism a la Berlin Reinickendorf, relates Michael Pilz with a certain satisfaction. '"I am a street kid, not a gangster,' is the main statement on the new record. Not that his fans had not suspected as much. But Sido has now well and truly distanced himself from the boring and outrageous worlds of German HipHop. Not to mention the older rappers from the rows of semidetached houses in the provincial suburbs. And now Sido is also leaving his brawling neighbours to stand around stupidly in their problem neighbourhoods. Migration and a precarious financial situation alone do not make a ghetto ganster."

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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

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Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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