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15/07/2005

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15.07.2005

Urs Schoettli calls for European renewal in the spirit of the Italian "risorgimento" or resurgence, the movement that led to Italy's unification in 1870: "Europe must again become a question of the heart. Instead of eternally balancing out agrarian interests, budget payments and harmonisation, a new epoch of European 'Sturm und Drang' (the early romantic notion of 'storm and stress') has to evolve. Above all, this means the process of unification until now must be examined without party-political or national blinkers. We need the courage to radically reverse obvious aberrations." A change of generations would not do any harm at all, says Schoettli, afterall "the Italian risorgimento was not spearheaded by 70 or 80-year-olds."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15.07.2005

Europe must decide if it wants freedom or unity, says German-British sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf in his Werner Heisenberg lecture, which is reprinted by the SZ. He himself has clear priorities: "Ultimately, Europe only has meaning insofar as it contributes to the development and spread of the liberal order. It can only do that if it is open in a double sense: open to everyone else in the world, starting with its neighbours, and open in the character of its policies, from service sector guidelines to agrarian policy, from its treatment of asylum seekers to support for innovation... But why should Europe not strive for a more stable union and openness at the same time, both internally and externally? Was that not the dream of all great Europeans? My conclusion, however, is that this combination is only good for Sunday sermons. In practice you have to take a decision. The constitutional treaty served the purposes of unity, not openness. It is a good thing that we have been spared it. The expansion is evidence of openness, even if it does not necessarily further unity. We should dauntlessly pursue expansion, and in so doing bring hope to the inchoate states of the western Balkans. At the same time we would strengthen the open society in Turkey, Ukraine and our European neighbours."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 15.07.2005

In the run-up to anticipated elections in the fall in which the conservative Christian Democratic Union led by Angela Merkel is expected to triumph, the FR runs a series asking selected individuals: "Are You Conservative?" Today writer Felicitas Hoppe speaks with Ina Hartwig, and takes a sceptical view of the current trend towards conservatism and Catholicism in Germany today. "The fusion of the allegedly political and the allegedly religious to reawaken alleged values involves faulty thinking that both amuses and irritates me. It's as if someone tried to jump over a grave but their legs were too short. You know, I was brought up a Catholic. Things in this world are familiar and near to me, but not as something that has to be conserved, rather like an enduring presence in a world that constantly alters its form. The new Catholicism fad we're seeing is typical for people who haven't had anything to do with religion for a long time now." Hoppe sees the artificially cultivated conservatism of some of her writer colleagues as silly. "It seems to me to be a panic reaction. Things do change form! But the interesting thing is to be present in the here and now and to watch these transformations. If you want to preserve something, I believe you have just one option, and that is to accept that things change. It's like making jam: the thing itself disappears as it blends into something else, and I find that fantastic."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15.07.2005

The theoretical biologist Manfred Laubichler is critical of Viennese Cardinal Christoph Schönborn's article in the New York Times which argues that the scholarliness of evolutionary theory is dependant on whether God is accommodated into the equation. Laubichler suspects there are political motives behind the article. "Is it pure coincidence that a statement in America by a Viennese Cardinal with a blatantly anti-scientific message is launched at precisely the time when the seats in the Supreme Court are vacant?"


Die Tageszeitung, 15.07.2005

Uh-Young Kim hails Missy Elliott's new record "The Cookbook" as pure pop, but spots some mildly reactionary tendencies. "Missy Elliot might be the only female star in the penis-controlled world of hiphop, but she submissively worships her lover's 'magic stick' in a number of songs. And if anybody tries to ask her about women's rights or black power, she reacts like her producer Timbaland when somebody says he draws on drum 'n' bass for inspiration: she shrugs her shoulders and climbs into one of her ten Lamborghinis."

Christoph Huber staunchly defends the new three-part film by Austrian director Götz Spielmann "Antares" (2004). The film, Huber says, has suffered from being unfairly pigeon-holed as classic "Austro-Depro". "The cliche about Austrian cinema, commonly referred to as 'Austro-Depro basically translates as: unhappiness and alienation, sex and violence in suburban housing estates and middle-class flats, in swinger clubs and village discos. Accusations of social pessimism are readily - and often rightly - at hand." Huber concludes, that "despite its typically triste atmosphere, 'Antares' is a very un-Austrian utopian film about love. The final image shows the grey light of a new day over the housing estates on the outskirts of the city."

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