?From the great beyond into the present? ? an interview with Jo Lendle

Hanser publisher Jo Lendle talks about gentle adjustments of languages and marketing strategies.... more more

GoetheInstitute

18/08/2005

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.

Die Zeit, 18.08.2005

"The worst reviewers are the ones at the New York Times," says writer Philip Roth – they all misunderstood his most recent novel. In an interview with Sacha Verna, Roth explains what the "The Plot against America" is really about: the experience of history. "History gallops into you in your living room like a crazy horse. You are completely helpless. The Roth family in my novel takes this helplessness to the point of desperation. This can happen to any one of us. In principle, one must be happy for every moment that history leaves us in peace."

The architects Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg speak in an interview with Hanno Rauterberg about the horror of modern squares, the asynchronism of architecture and their plans for the Chinese city Lingang, which they are designing for 800,000 people. "We'll put a lake in the centre, which will never be filled up, put the cultural buildings on a few islands and put the top real estate on its shores. Everyone will have the same situation, everyone will look out at a collective middle."

Thomas Groß tries to gauge how dangerous the Berlin horror-rappers Bushido, Sido and Konsorten really are. His conclusion: "They grew up in an environment in which all conflicts were resolved among themselves. In cases of doubt, the one with the biggest mouth maintained the upper hand. Or the one with the tougher cousin. The threatening potential that develops among the majority of this culture from below has less to do with obscene language than the uncertainty of whether the values of the future are being generated here. One doesn't know what will come next in the times of Hartz IV and Alg II (the new and reduced unemployment insurance packages – ed).


Frankfurter Rundschau, 18.08.2005

Political author Norbert Seitz writes that the nomination of current Bundestag vice-president Norbert Lammert as Minister of State for Culture in CDU chancellor candidate Angela Merkel's shadow cabinet makes three things clear: "First, that Merkel is well advised to put cultural affairs in the hands of a consensus-oriented politician, rather than handing it over to FDP leader Guido Westerwelle, with all his neurotic hot air about his image. Secondly, that a preliminary decision has been taken to leave cultural affairs as they are, with a department of culture and a minister of state, and not create a ministry of culture. Thirdly, with Lammert, Merkel puts the accent on continuity of cultural policy, knowing full well that there is no majority for conservative crusades against the SDP-Green Party precedent – despite the current Ratzinger boom and Peter Hahne's bestsellers."


Berliner Zeitung, 18.08.2005

At the height of the Catholic World Youth Day in Cologne which, despite its name takes place all this week, philosopher of religion Thomas Brose attempts to explain the success of the Catholic Church today: "The Catholic Church has relied on its traditional strengths: not just soberly passing on faith like a dry account, but dramatising it and making it come alive. And that seems to be exactly what is called for at present, as Christoph Türcke says in his book 'Die erregte Gesellschaft' (the agitated society). Türcke sees a new imperative in these agitated times, in which individuals must make themselves sensorially perceptible to others. 'Not being perceived means being outside-the-pale, and being outside-the-pale means living death.' For that reason, people of all ages send text messages and e-mails, and film and photograph the world, to continually reassure themselves of their own existence."


die tageszeitung, 18.08.2005

Actor Daniel Brühl, son of a Spanish mother and a German father, is now shooting a film with director Manuel Huerga about the anti-Franco fighter Salvador Puig Antich (more here), who was executed in 1974. It was not difficult to find out about Antich, says Brühl in an interview. "During the shoot, people on the street would ask what we were doing. Many of them said: 'Yeah, I know who that is.' Suddenly everyone knew him, and of course they were all on his side – although when he was in prison, nobody got off their butt to do a thing. In Spain, the past is in the air. Everyone over 40 experienced it directly. My father knew about Salvador Puig Antich because my uncle was a journalist and had reported on the Burgos trial. It's a big advantage that nowadays you can ask anyone how things were back then."


Spiegel Online, 18.08.2005

Artist Gerhard Richter speaks about beauty as a remedy for decay, his artistic working through of his family history, and the inflated prices of his own paintings. "At first it's nice to hear of such high sums; at the same time it's horrifying. Most importantly, because it's the wrong motivation for work. When I'm in a bad mood, I even take this success as a sign that the times are rotten, that the buyers understand nothing about art, that I may have scammed them, and that they have paid way too much. And they are: as a rule, they're paying way too much for art. There is a complete lack of balance between the value and relevance of art and the absurd prices that are paid for it."


Kulturpolitik

Germany's cultural poobahs – politicians and lobbyists - gathered in Berlin's Akademie der Künste to discuss the state of the arts in Germany. The journalists present were not amused. "This is how one imagines an embarrassing parody on the much avowed dialogue between spirit and power," writes Peter Laudenbach in the Tageszeitung. "The culture lobbyists on the podium achieved a phraseology-output that even Antje Vollmer (from the Greens) couldn't beat. The longer one listened to them, the more one had the sense that the subsidy culture produces a mentality mix of self-justification, grumbling and money-greed couched in moral nonsense."

Thomas Medicus writing in the Frankfurter Rundschau was most appalled by the culture producers. While most of the politicians demonstrated some degree of competence, Art Academy director Adolf Muschg, theatre director Ivan Nagel and composer and conductor Udo Zimmermann "broke out in a heart-rending lament of gimme-more thinking. 'State, state, state' clamoured Muschg, more social democratic than social democracy itself. (...) This trio's endless wailing lead one to conclude that no social group is as completely convinced as these culture producers that their particular interests are generally agreed to represent a collective good."

Get the signandsight newsletter for regular updates on feature articles.
signandsight.com - let's talk european.

 
More articles

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more

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.
read more