25/06/2010

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.

Die Welt 19.06.2010

Henryk M. Broder fears that the Israelis are living the good life a little too much when they should really be focussing on keeping their military up to scratch. "Anti-Semitism, whose aim it was to annihilate the Jews, has been replaced by a hatred of the Jews which seeks its own exoneration. This is why its supporters are so committed to the fantasy that the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews, and that the Gaza Strip is the new Warsaw Ghetto. And then they call these hallucinations 'criticism of Israel'. But this so-called criticism of Israel has little to do with the situation in Palestine and everything to do with the needs of Israel's critics, who are groaning under the burden of their own history."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 19.06.2010

For Lothar Müller, the most uncomfortable thing about "Stadt der Engel" (city of angels), the autobiographical novel by former East German writer Christa Wolf, is her position on the Stasi (with whom she collaborated) and the "proletariat dictatorship": "It can hardly be a coincidence that this term crops up in 'Stadt der Engel' when the first-person narrator answers the question about why she got involved 'with them'. The result is a sentence whose harshness stands in breathtaking contrast to the humanism and moral rigour with which the narrator otherwise observes the world: 'Revolutionary action can also be hard for those who are hit by it, the Jacobins were not faint-hearted, nor were the Bolsheviks. We would never have denied that we were living in a dictatorship, a proletariat dictatorship. A transitional period, an incubation period for the new human being, you understand?'"


Other papers 23.06.2010

At a street festival in Hanover, a Jewish folklore group was attacked by "30 children and teenagers of mostly Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian and possibly also Turkish origin", who shouted anti-Semitic slogans and threw stones, reports the Hannoversche Allegemeine Zeitung. "The international cultural festival continued after a break and the police were not notified."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
23.06.2010

Samuel Herzog reports from the 6th Berlin Biennale where the curator Kathrin Rhomberg has tried to steer people's attentions to the "real reality". One of the highlights for Herzog was a 90-minute film "Episode 3" by Belgian artist Renzo Martens (trailer). It was inspired by Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal from 1729 which suggested "that the poor people of Ireland eat their children to prevent the country from starving due to overpopulation. It was in this spirit that Martens travelled the Democratic Republic of Congo where he tried to convince the people in the poorest areas to enjoy their poverty – or at least to make a profit from it. Among other things, he encourages two village photographers to sell their pictures documenting the misery around them (instead of leaving this lucrative business to western reporters). His efforts fail when Medecins Sans Frontieres refuses to attribute any artistic merit to the pictures by the village photographers."


Der Tagesspiegel
24.06.2010

Kai Kupferschmidt and Hartmut Wewetzer talk with the deeply atheistic philosopher Daniel Dennet about the perils of religion. He also has a thing or two to say about the media: "By the way, the world squandered an excellent opportunity with the Mohammed cartoons. I think that every newspaper, every magazine, every news programme should have showed these images immediately. Instead, the radical Muslims seized power. The liberal Muslims, who are in the majority, desperately wanted us to do something but we did nothing and thus effectively pulled the carpet out from under the feet of the best part of the Islamic community."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 24.06.2010

Sonja Margolina reports on major upheavals in the Russian art scene. Artists known for criticising the church and the state have rushed to the side of Ilya Trushevsky, an artist (born 1981) who apparently raped a 17-year old student and is laughing about it - to the approval of much of the Russian online and artistic community. "The war of everyone versus everyone else and Putin's arbitrary regime are two sides of the same coin. The moral support for Trushevsky shows that at least a section of the contemporary Russian art scene finds it sexy to flaunt excess power in society and politics, and is happy to capitalise on doing so."


Frankfurter Rundschau
24.06.2010

Arno Widmann was tremendously impressed by the exhibition on Pharaoh Sahure (2490 to 2475) in the Frankfurt Liebighaus. What sculptural sophistication!: "The visitor has to get up really close to see how precisely these craftsmen were working four-and-a-half thousand years ago. Trembling nostrils are chiselled out of the stone. The feathers of headdresses, the finest branches of a tree. You would be hard put to find someone with this level of skill today. But there must have been thousands of them in those days."


Die Tageszeitung 24.06.2010

Cristina Nord celebrates non-European cinema's longest films. Those of Filipino director Lav Diaz, or Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing, whose films run for several hours at a stretch (Diaz's last four films have a total running time of 36 hours), and employ long takes to tell of other temporal horizons and pre-industrial societies: "It was only with the Spanish colonisers,' Diaz says, 'that regulated time was introduced. At six in the morning you had to pray the oracion, work would begin at seven, and so on. But when you look around the Philippines today you see that Filipinos still spend a lot of time hanging around."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 25.06.2010

Historian Dan Diner thinks it might not be such a bad idea if Turkey were to have more influence in the Middle East. "Sunni Turkey has a lot more religio-political proximity to Hamas than does Shiite Iran; as a non-Arab Muslim power in the region, it would be a less like to come under suspicion for acting its own interests than the surrounding Arab states. As a Nato state it would continue to have links to the West and as a prospective member of the European Union, it would be constantly under the beady eyes of Brussels. At the very least, it would not not be condemned from the outset by Yasser Arafat's curse, to drink the waters of Gaza and fail miserably."

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Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

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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

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