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11/09/2007

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 Welt 11.09.2007

After the long-term Deutsche Kommunistische Partei politician Peter Schütt held forth about his conversion to Islam in die Welt on September 8th, Iranian author Said writes a seething reponse and asks the 'instant convert' why it always has to be a new religion. "Are you sure that you haven't confused Muhammad with Lenin? Or was it your glowing anti-Imperialism again which led you into the arms of Islam? President Ahmadinejad is exercising his anti-Imperialism in Tehran – at the expense of anyone who thinks otherwise – more radically than you. Even Osama bin Laden is an anti-Imperialist, or had you forgotten? (...) You will remain the eternal convert. I can't wait to hear about your next new beginning. What will it be? Judaism? Buddhism? Or an exotic religion from the South Seas?"


Der Tagesspiegel
11.09.2007

The 9/11 trauma and the Iraq fiasco is also being played out in mainstream American comics, reports Lars von Törne. The most pertinent example is the "Civil War" superhero series from Marvel. "This is how it happens among the muscle mutants: A failed police operation against a group of superheroes who went berserk resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties. The government welcomes this as an opportunity to declare war on terror and restrict citizens' rights. All beings with superpowers are called to sign up and work for the state. The otherwise staunchly pro-state characters like Iron Man and Captain America, Spider Man and the Fantastic Four react differently to the summons. While some are willing to help the government, others go underground and become citizens'-rights activists. Some even leave the country, because they no longer want anything to do with America."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
11.09.2007

Sonja Zekri is visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg to view the formidable buildings designed by international architects in Russian cities, renowned for their "openness to excesses." One example is the former "Red October" chocolate factory, which is to be renovated into a loft paradise for the super rich by architects like Jürgen Willen, Norman Foster and Jean Nouvel. "Willen is planning a glass elevator and a pier: 'Then people can sail up in their ships and waft upwards in the glass shaft.' The billionaires like to be surprised. Willen is also building in Shanghai and Dubai, but his heart is in Moscow. 'Just keeping a palm tree alive in Dubai costs 2,000 dollars per year. Nevertheless, whole groves are being planted. Nothing is sustainable, everything is just expensive. Moscow is different, the business culture is closer to ours. For architects it's the best market in the world,' he says, and many of his colleagues think the same way. Russia is swimming in oil, gas and money, and architects are travelling in from all over the world. Their suitcases are filled with plans for new cities, and their heads with square metre dimensions which one German construction company representative once described as 'completely orgasmic'."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 11.09.2007

Max Schöler, director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, answers philosopher Robert Spaemann's criticism of stem cell research (more here). "People who claim, like Spaemann does, that 'killing human foetuses' is necessary for this research open themselves to the criticism that they lack basic biological knowledge, or that they develop horror scenarios without the slightest basis in fact. Because an embryo is not a foetus, and a cell is not a human. These distinctions are not sophistry or hair-splitting. What's at stake here are fundamental differences that affect our thinking and feeling. The cells with which we scientists carry out our research come from embryos at a very early stage of development. Five to six days after the fusion of ovum and semen cells, an orb-shaped entity comprising one hundred to two hundred cells is formed."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 11.09.2007

Martin Krumbholz has had a look around Essen, European Cultural Capital of 2010, and is impressed by what he's seen: "Essen, the biggest city in the Ruhr Area, has basically always been a cultural capital, just unofficially. Here there is a remarkable abundance of cultural facilities within a small area: the beautiful Gruga Park with its 'Halle' in the late expressionistic style of the 1950s; the elegantly rolling Aalto Music Theatre which opened in 1988; the Folkwang Museum, with its major collection of paintings, which is being torn down (with the exception of from one part of the old building) and will be rebuilt by David Chipperfield by 2010; the renowned Folkwang Academy for Music, Dance and Theatre; and the Lichtburg, which in its time (1928) was the largest and most modern cinema in Germany. The draw of the superlative, megalomania even, is hard to overlook. In Essen everything has to be as big as possible."


Die Tageszeitung
11.09.2007

The tenth Istanbul Biennial makes use of a number of buildings that are threatened with demolition and it also addresses the city on the move, reports Brigitte Werneburg. "Despite its vast dimensions, the construction site of Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping in the Antrepo No.3, the huge warehouse near the Istanbul Modern, attracts the viewer's attention quietly but effectively. At first you only notice the pointed tip sticking rocket-like out of the tarpaulin which covers most of the diagonally displayed minaret. He is showing an aluminium cast of one of the four minarets which – alongside eight calligraphic inscriptions of the name of Allah and the removal of the cross – were all that was needed to turn the Hagia Sofia, which had been a Christian church for 916 years, into a mosque for a further 481. And then you become aware, of the astonishingly minimal means, involving no destruction and no demolition, which were deployed to bring about this ideological shift."

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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

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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

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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

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Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

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