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GoetheInstitute

12/07/2007

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.

Die Zeit 12.07.2007

Georg Diez has taken a look at the most recent Hitler film by the artist Jonathan Meese on MySpace and realises that he's lost all tolerance for Hitler imitations. "Among German artists and intellectuals, Hitler is still a favourite model for the bad guy – as weird as this may seem to non-Germans. Now Meese stages his online Hitler pose and German affectations with anti-authoritarian gestures, but these don't disguise the pleasure he's getting out of the authoritarian performance. This isn't postmodern, it's not about deconstruction, it's about using Hitler's power. It's an old artistic principle that's at work here: dirty is good. Dirty is funny, that's the logic that justifies it. But it's not funny, not at all."

In an interview with Christine Lemke-Matwey, Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova gets very agitated about the circus of an opera that only cares about stars and looks and has no understanding of vocal culture and real erotics. "The professional apparatus is sick, that's what appals me. I've had to work with so many people whose training amounts to a few months of recorder lessons. I've fought against the politics of record labels and CD covers on which I didn't recognise myself. I know directors who haven't a clue what they're doing. And I consider it scandalous that a serious television broadcaster wanted to shoot a portrait of me in which I first had to cook – which I never do – and then go give out gifts at an orphanage for Bulgarian children. Bulgaria is not a developing country!"


Der Tagesspiegel
12.07.2007

Peter Steinbach, director of the German Resistance Memorial Centre, launches an attack at FAZ publisher Frank Schirrmacher who recently backed up Tom Cruise's aspiration to play the role (more) of Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg with the argument that Stauffenberg too belonged to a kind of sect: the group around Stefan George. Steinbach: "Stauffenberg is a pretty good example of someone who opposed the direction of a regime, who judged independently, who saw the reality and didn't let his perception be clouded by opinions. Schirrmacher's attempt to portray him as a delusional follower of a guru by the name of Stefan George suggests that the discussion needs to be continued at another level - not about Tom Cruise but about a newspaper that's being steered by a head that's not always that bright, a journalistic bully who writes faster than he can research – let alone think."


Günter Wallraff and The Satanic Verses

Many of today's papers lend an ear to German writer Günter Wallraff, who wants to read Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" aloud in Cologne's eventual new mosque, under construction.

Wallraff tells Hubert Spiegel of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that his wish to read the controversial text reflects his belief in the good will of the Turkish-Muslim Cultural Association Ditib, which has called for dialog: "This is actually a litmus test. If this reading takes place, and I am doing my best to see that it does, it will surely have an extremely liberating effect. Just imagine the scene in the mosque: The reading takes place, some find what they hear to be not bad at all, and some even laugh. That would open a lot of doors."

In Die Welt, Hannes Stein casts a nod of "respect" toward Wallraff. Stein recalls that Wallraff was among the few who went to Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, while "Iraqi Scud-rockets were whizzing past the ears." Wallraff sees the Turkish-Muslim Cultural Association Ditib's proposal of an open dialog as a chance not to be missed. "Plus which, he is a friend of Salman Rushdie, whom he hid for a long time after the Ayatollah Khomeini delivered the Fatwa that the author of the 'Satanic Verses' should be killed. Today, as in 1991, the leftist Wallraff positions himself against the mainstream, without abandoning his political comrades."

Wallraff explains the background of his Rushdie initiative to Jürgen Gottschlich of Die Tageszeitung. He favours construction of the controversial mosque in Cologne-Ehrenfeld, but: "Before our conversation about the Cologne Mosque, broadcast over Deutschlandfunk radio, Bekir Alboa - representative for cultural affairs for Ditib, the funding organization behind the mosque – asked if I could imagine being a member of the mosque advisory board. I am not fundamentally opposed, but if I do, I don't want to be merely a figurehead and a yes-man, I want to get some dialogue going with Islam."

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