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07/02/2007

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 07.02.2007

Tomas Urban writes on right-wing attacks against Polish newspaperman Adam Michnik: "There's a new word in the Polish press: Michnikowszczyzna, the reign of Michnik. It sounds ugly, and that's how it's meant. The word refers to a purported decline in values for which the Polish Right blames Adam Michnik, the left-liberal chief editor of the Gazeta Wyborcza who is now critically ill. Michnik, who has been repeatedly honoured in the West for his struggle for democracy, is painted as the cause of almost everything bad about democracy in Poland today. His supposed motive: to protect his former communist cronies." See our feature "in search of lost sense" by Adam Michnik.


Berliner Zeitung
07.02.2007

Since 2000, Turkish applications for German citizenship have dropped by over a third. In an interview, ethnologist Werner Schiffauer lays the blame with the Germans' negative attitude towards integration, which is deterring second generation immigrants. "This second generation is now aged between 30 and 35. It is made up of educated citizens who have attended German schools and universities, and were it not for outside pressure in the aftermath of September 11, they would not have landed in positions of leadership to such an extent. Because the communities were far too patriarchal. This is an opportunity that has come about due to public hysteria, because this second generation wants to push through wide-reaching reforms in their communities and anchor them in Europe. On the other side the prevailing mistrust is stymieing many of these efforts. Reform positions are often perceived in majority society as a facade, construed as duplicity and manipulation. This in turn confirms the position of those in the communities who believe that German society will never accept Islam anyway and that as a Muslim, one can basically only live in an Islamic society."


Der Tagesspiegel
07.02.2007

Armin Petras, the new artistic director of Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, talks in an interview about the play "Mala Zementbaum," which he wrote together with actor Thomas Lawinky. Lawinky, who made the headlines a year ago when he tore the notepad from the hands of critic Gerhard Stadelmaier (more here), came out afterwards as an unofficial informer for the East German secret police. Petras explains the relevance of this act: "That's just one of the themes we're delving into with our plays, which also include 'Baumeister Solness,' Prinz Friedrich von Homburg' and 'Café Vaterland.' These are all part of a programmatic investigation into what happened in this city in the last twenty, one hundred or three hundred years. For us it was clear that the chapter dealing with the Stasi and the collapse of the GDR has new relevance the moment it starts catching people's attention. Astonishingly, no new plays are looking into this at all, just one film (more here), which has now become very famous." "Mala Zementbaum" premieres on Friday.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
07.02.2007

The theme at this year's Club Transmediale, the evening programme of Berlin's eighth "festival for adventurous music and related visual arts" is "Building Space". Norbert Krampf gives a breathless report of the "illustrious sound architecture constructed from high-precision noise" by the 'Burial Chamber Trio'. "Seldom has a formation managed to weld such consistently minimalistic structures, theatrical staging and maximum accoustic pressure into an almost mystical experience.... Massive basses had backs of necks and trouser legs vibrating, gravitational droning from electric guitars towered into vast mountain ranges, repetitions of minimally varying patters and the renunciation of rhythm unhinged space and time. High compression sound planes revealed layers of sediment, bizarre structures in their interiors. And the sallow, glowering vocal phrases of the zombie-like performance by Attila Csihar laid themselves like conspiracy formulae from Dante's 'Inferno' over the hypnotic seance."

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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

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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

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