09/07/2007

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.

Monday July 9, 2007

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 09.07.2007

Hindu extremists are stalking Muslim artist Fida Husain (painting), who depicted a Hindu Godess naked (and since then has been living in exile). But he's not the only one being followed in India, reports Bernard Imhasly. "Film distributors are threatened if they wish to show films with critical content; parents are forced to annul marriages if their son or daughter has wed someone from the wrong caste or even the wrong religion. And such things don't only happen in Gujarat. The American actor Richard Gere received a summons to a court in Jaipur because he kissed the Bollywood-Star Shilpa Shetty on the cheek."


Die Tageszeitung
09.07.2007

An exhibit about Scythians at Berlin's Gropius-Bau, curated by the future president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation - Hermann Parzinger - is "epochal," says Barbara Kerneck. She is obviously taken with the "Barbarians with style." "In an almost frenzied manner, these artists refined all objects - carved, painted and gilded them or provided them with applications of colourful felt in the well-known scythian-animal style. Snow leopards, griffins, snakes and many other carvings or felt animals adorn these religious or everyday objects, as well as the skin of the mummies discovered there. Just as nature scrolled past these nomadic Scythians like an endless film, so do these animals writhe into a concentrated mass of life."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 09.07.2007

Andreas Blühm, director of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, is fuming over the fluorescent lighting in the museum. The architects only included them to emphasize their spaces: "There should be an effort to show monochrome paintings under various kinds of lamps, and other light-sources. What remains of Yves Klein's blue cannot be compared, under normal conditions, with what is visible to the naked eye. The effect of the colour is taken for granted in the museum, but normally it should have nothing to do with the colour value under natural light or full-spectrum lighting. So if you build another museum, don't be taken in by the advertising from so-called 'daylight bulbs.' Instead, go buy yourself a light meter and check them out yourself."


Frankfurter Rundschau 09.07.2007

According to Tobi Müller, the Montreux Jazz Festival doesn't have much to do with jazz. But listening to fat bass tones in a concert hall also has its charms. "And on the best stereo systems of the world, in the wood-lined Stravinsky Auditorium with superb acoustics. That's a luxury holiday for ears that would like to dance if they only could. They already start twitching with the Chemical Brothers. The techno-duo from Manchester cranks its machine park really high but with such an unprecedented sound quality – it's a sound storm between underground rave and college-style music. Now one understands why the music of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons was called Big Beat a decade ago. Anyone whose body shave omitted one chest hair will now feel it fluttering."


Saturday July 7, 2007

Berliner Zeitung, 07.07.2007

In an interview with Jan Brachmann, Kirill Petrenko, the conductor leaving the Komische Oper in Berlin, explains why the partition of a Russian opera is not the measure of all things. "You learn that the printed Russian rhythm must not be sung the way it is printed. It is even wrong to sing this rhythm the way it is written. In contrast to say Richard Strauss or Janacek, who composed the exact rhythm of speech. With Tchaikovsky, and even more so with Mussorgsky, one must declaim freely. For a conductor, following this is extremely difficult. The music calls for a four four time, but the singer turns it into a five eight time. That sounds more correct, because it corresponds to the Russian intonation and the Russian accent – but it has little to do with what is printed. That's what I learnt from Anatoli Kotscherga. In the beginning, it was difficult to accompany him because he was always somewhere else. I kept asking: 'What are you doing? Listen: One, two .'. Then he said: 'No, I cannot. This movement must be like this.' He then dilated one rhythmic section and shortened another. And in fact he was right."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
07.07.2007

In an interview with Jörg Plath, Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz talks about the "Apocalyptic abysses" that have opened in Europe – they were also the subject of his speech at the conference "Perspective Europe." "I don't want to argue politically. Politics is like soccer: everyone thinks they understand it. I don't understand politics at all. But I think the abysses have not been closed again, not even in Yugoslavia. And they can open anywhere. These days, as London is living in a state of shock, we see how vulnerable everything is. How vulnerable civilisation, how vulnerable daily life. One must be conscious of the dramatic side of life. Every day, every moment. Europe is in fact a cheerful, wise and strong entity – and has been since the ancient Greeks. I think Europe represents something that no other civilisation represents: the freedom of awareness. Freedom period. It mustn't betray that."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 07.07.2007

The paper takes a close look at the Pope's missive calling for the rehabilitation of the Latin mass. The Papal text itself has been reprinted and contains passages such as this: "What was sacred to earlier generations remains sacred and great; it can't suddenly be prohibited or corruptive." Burkhard Müller, a professor of Latin, sings Solomonic praise of this Solomonic decision. "Catholic means: considering the entirety. Today, Latin only represents a portion of this entirety but this portion has its entitlement. The papal text does not specify how large this portion should be or how it should be positioned; that decision is to be made in amicable praxis at the local level. That's more democracy than many would have expected from the Vatican." Alexander Kissler is pleased to see the end of "discrimination against those who support the traditional liturgy."

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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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