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GoetheInstitute

12/06/2009

From the Feuilletons

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 06.06.2009

It is possible to live a fairly normal life in Iran, just like in Europe – only it has to take place behind closed doors and in constant fear of being discovered," explains Iranian women's rights activist Parvin Ardalan in an interview with Sophie Schöberl. People work their way around restrictions. "It's like a game, and it gets exhausting. Take the example of my coat. Three months ago I wouldn't have been able to wear it, because it's too short. A revolutionary guard would probably have stopped me from entering this cafe. So I said to myself: very well, I won't wear it yet. But now it's fine to wear it because on the eve of the election, the government wants everyone in a good mood. After the elections the coat will be too short again."


Frankfurter Rundschau 08.06.2009

Sandra Dannicke was at the Venice Biennale where she thought Slovakia put on a much better show than Germany, which was represented by British artist Liam Gillick: "Liam Gillick has installed a room-filling structure, based on oversized pine kitchen units, that is conceived as a 'sort of diagram of functionality and a quest for modernity'. This is obviously his idea of 'working against the ideology of the German pavilion's architecture.' An idea which fails miserably because of the absolute banality of the piece, which then becomes thoroughly ridiculous with the addition of a 'talking' cat on top of one of the units. At this 53rd biennale, the person who has best worked against the ideology of the pavilion is the Slovak artist Roman Ondak, who replanted the surrounding gardens inside the pavilion itself and thus rendered it invisible. ... There couldn't be a more charming way of negating national symbolism."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 09.06.2009

Kerstin Holm reports from the Moscow trial of the curator Andrei Erofeyev, who stands accused of denigrating Christian symbols in an art exhibition. She describes one of the motley crew of witnesses for the prosecution: "Vladimir Sergeyev steps into the witness box, dressed entirely in black. He is a member of the ultra-right organisation 'Orthodox Defence' and is constantly winking. Sergeyev did not actually see the exhibition himself, which showed Christ looking down from a McDonald's advert and an image of a military recruit being sodomised, but his wife photographed them and died soon thereafter – as a result of the images, the widower believes."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10.06.2009

Power and polythinker Peter Sloterdijk takes a while to warm up before launching into a history of anti-capitalist theory from Rousseau on. It's all wrong, he says, and anyway we are not living in  capitalism, but in a 'mass-media stimulated, tax-grabbing semi-socialism based on the the principles of private capital." He continues: "Every year fully fledged tax states reclaim half of all the economic successes from their productive classes for the fiscus, without those affected seeking refuge in what would be most plausible reaction, an anti-fiscal civil war. This is the result of the sort of political dressage that would turn an absolutist finance minister pale with envy."


Die Tageszeitung 11.06.2009

Forced marriages do not only effect women, as Cigdem Akyol explains. Senol, for example, a Turk who grew up in Cologne suddenly found himself married to one of his cousins from Turkey. "The pressure kept building up for Senon because the in-laws were demanding heirs. He was overcome with anxiety at having no propect beyond this puppet existence: night after night with his relative in bed, sex he didn't want to have, he couldn't go on much longer. Six months after the wedding he left home, with just one plastic bag containing his things. At first he lived with friends, now he lives 50 km away from his family in his own flat and has a new job. He doesn't live in fear of his family. Since he's not a woman he doesn't have to fear retribution from unreconstructed males. But his behaviour does constitute a declaration of war on his family."


Jungle World 12.06.2009

For Andreas Benl and Kazem Moussavi the Iranian electoral race is nothing but infighting of the religious elite. "The secular opposition is refusing to back any of the four candidates and has called for a boycott of the elections. There are strikes and protests every day although the protesters know that it could cost them their lives. In several universities the students confronted Moussavi with questions about his role in the massacres of regime opponents: 'Where were you in 1988 and how many people did you murder?' The opposition has high hopes because the Iranian regime is domestically extremely unstable. The pressure from abroad, on the other hand, is abating. Germany, though is taking the lead in using the window of opportunity opened by the overtures made the US government towards the Iranian regime."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 12.06.2009

Christine Dössel mourns for stage director Jürgen Gosch. "Jürgen Gosch (born 1943) was a director who, like no other, knew how to coax out human souls in all their complexity and sordidness, with a merciless, razor-sharp precision that gave all his productions the sense of being viewed through a microscope. You could see these peculiar people, these miserable beings with all their beauties and deformations in exaggerated clarity and sharpenss, so free from artifice, so true, and so rare in the theatre. You could watch them fighting for their lives and a tiny bit of happiness, how, representing us all with their hopes, loves and failures, they seemed so incredibly close." (Watch an English-subtitled interview with Jürgen Gosch here.)


Süddeutsche Zeitung
12.06.2009

After two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were sentenced to 12 years of hard labour in North Korea on Monday, the SZ translates an excerpt from the testimony given to the US Senate in 2002 by Ms. Soon Ok Lee, a survivor of such a work camp: "A prisoner has no right to talk, laugh, sing or look in a mirror. Prisoners must kneel down on the ground and keep their heads down deeply whenever called by a guard, they can say nothing except to answer questions asked. Women prisoners' babies are killed on delivery. Prisoners have to work as slaves for 18 hours daily. Repeated failure to meet the work quotas means a week's time in a punishment cell. A prisoner must give up her human worth." Read the full text in English.

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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 4 - Friday 10 December

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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From the feuilletons

Saturday 27 November - Friday 3 December

Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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From the Feuilletons

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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