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GoetheInstitute

23/04/2010

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 Rundschau 17.04.2010

To celebrate the 50th birthday of the German star painter Neo Rauch, both Munich and his home town Leipzig, have staged major exhibtions. Sebastian Preuss visited both and takes us through the artist's rise to fame one more time. "Around 1997, Rauch starts making the paintings that will give him global success. He taps into a reservoir of socialist realism and antiquated U.S. advertising, he constructs absurd fairytales, he helps himself to comic book elements and household objects. There is no end to the combinations in this pool. It all looks strangely familiar, but turns out to be just timeless, placeless world theatre. He is actually not depicting anything at all; the pseudo-connections between motifs, scenes and highly specific titles only pretend to amount to something. This is essentially art Informel in figurative fragments."


From the blogs 20.04.2010

At irights.info, Ilja Braun introduces the online game "Cat Protect" which the German Book Trade Association has invented to teach children about the importance of copyright. "The game ends when Daark is trapped in a jam jar. 'When you drag the jar onto the image, Daark is imprisoned forever as a frightening example of what happens to people who engage in illegal copying!'"


Süddeutsche Zeitung 20.04.2010

Catrin Lorch portrays Neo Rauch as a very German painter. "Both sides of Germany can look at his paintings as if they were looking into a shared mirror, and although Rauch has perhaps not contributed to their understanding one another, he has certainly united them in mutual alienation."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
21.04.2010

In a fascinating interview with Eren Güvercin, the French political scientist Olivier Roy discusses Islam in Europe. He is quick to distance himself from the term "Islamophobia": "Is Islamophobia just another form of racism that specifically targets people with Muslim names – with no regard to their concept of faith? Or is it the rejection of a religion? There are militant anti-racists who are against the veil – among the feminists for example, and there are racists who think the veil is irrelevant because they regard Muslims as quintessentially other. What makes this so untenable is the lack of dintinction between ethnicity and religion. Of course the great majority of European Muslims originally stem from other cultures but the connection between ethnic background and religion is dissolving – with Europeans converting to Islam and Muslims converting to Christianity."


From the blogs 21.04.2010

Via @wblau, in its official blog, Google reports that it has started to produce statistics on requests by national governments to block access to online content. Germany is currently in second place.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 22.04.2010

In an interview with Ulrich M. Schmid, Arseni Roginski, head of the human rights organisation Memorial, talks about Russia's distorted self-image and its refusal to work through its past: "The constant stream of propaganda under the Czars and particularly in the Soviet Union and under Putin has engraved in the Russian mind the conviction that we do nothing but good in the world. We saved Europe from fascism and we get only ingratitude in return. Working through the past, and this includes Katyn, destroys our constructed memory and compels us to account for not having only done good in the world at all times. The Russians need to be forced to reflect on evildoings. We have to take on civic responsibility for the crimes of our rulers." And he calls for a court ruling on the crimes in Katyn: "At present Memorial is losing every case that has anything to do with events in Katyn, with the opening of the archives or the rehabilitation of the victims."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 22.04.2010

The paper prints an essay by the writer Olga Tokaczuk on the "neurotic theatre of Catholic nationalism" which has overtaken her country in the wake of the tragedy in Smokensk. And she is fiercely critical of the Catholic Church for assuming control of the funeral service. "As administrator of most of the national symbols and monuments, the Catholic Church controls all access to them, which gives it unlimited potential for political and social manipulation. The decision to bury the Kazcynszkis in the crypt of the Wawel cathedral was a demonstration of feudal power, an unambiguous gesture, which took place without any consultation of wider society and with blatant disregard for the growing social and political divide."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 23.04.2010

Gustav Seibt describes the scandals in the Catholic Church, and Bishop Mixa's offer of resignation in particular, as nothing less than revolutionary. Now that individuals are starting to step so visibly out of the shadows of their institution, the Church, almost unbeknown to itself, is entering an identity crisis. "It is reminiscent of some of the bizarre occurrences during the fall of the communist regime twenty years ago, when the rulers such Stasi-head Erich Mielke suddenly stood up in front of the cameras and declared 'But I love you all'. Here, too, the functionary disappeared behind an obviously disoriented individual."


Die Tageszeitung 23.04.2010

Arno Frank reports on the Islamists who threatened the creators of the cartoon series "South Park", after Mohammad appeared on the show in a bear costume (watch here). Julian Weber comments: "It took quite some doing to recover from the Victorian age where even piano legs were considered erotic enough to need covering up. Our Middle Ages 2.0, where God's warriors tinkle the ivories of the media by pairing modern communication technology with archaic humourlessness, is far more unpleasant."

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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