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20/09/2005

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 20.09.2005

Six FAZ editors went to election parties held by the various political parties on Sunday night, and have little positive to report. "Six pm: in Willy Brandt Haus, headquarters of the SPD, the party supporters are grouped before television monitors on the fifth floor, taking no end of delight in laughing uproariously at CDU chancellor candidate Angela Merkel, and in toasting Gerhard Schröder's self-confidence to the point of dizziness. It seems to be the dream of everyone here to have this type of self-confidence at least once in their lives – for example when it comes to salary negotiations with the boss." In the CDU headquarters Konrad Adenauer Haus the ambience was no more congenial. "For one moment the point of departure of bourgeois politics was recreated: disappointment in the public sovereign. It was the 19th century confessional predecessors of the CDU that led the liberals to doubt the masses' capacity to understand. 'On an evening like this, all kinds of things cross your mind', people say. Even ideas on what was once the taxpayers' safeguard: limiting the right to vote. 'There has to be a reanalysis of who should be able to exercise the vote.'"

FAZ editor Frank Schirrmacher seeks an explanation for Gerhard Schröder's television appearance Sunday night, during the post-election show "Berlin Round": "To comprehend the raving, brutal megalomania with which Schröder unabashedly assaulted both the moderators and the German public, you need to appreciate the feeling of all-powerfulness released in him by the confidence vote which allowed the dissolution of the Bundestag and the introduction of fresh elections." See our feature article "What was Schröder on?" by Arno Widmann, for more.


Die Tageszeitung, 20.09.2005


Considering the election results, historian Paul Nolte observes that the parties still think in terms of camps while the voters have moved on. "Society is no longer structured according to the labels 'conservative' and 'left', as the parties would like to have it. It's more of a struggle between cultural optimists and cultural pessimists. It's not about whether I'll have 300 euros more in the pocket with Kirchhof's model (explained here). It's about feeling, about an optimistic view of the world. Schröder said with his Agenda 2010: I can't do anything else. He and Merkel should have said: this is how I see a just society, and therefore these measures are necessary. That's the difference."
See our feature article "Merkel's new middle" by Paul Nolte.


Die Welt, 20.09.2005


On Thursday, a major Jörg Immendorff exhibition will open in Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie. In an interview with Gabriele Walde, the controversial artist talks about the audacity of the Linkspartei, his coping with Lou Gehrig's disease, and how his famous "Cafe Deutschland" (here and here) would look if he were to paint it today. "'Café Deutschland' would be more provocative. I have to emphasise: the division of Germany was never for me a German phenomenon; both countries were the frontiers of the two super powers. It was the world that was divided. And as such, the art has something universal. Today there would be a cultural revolution in 'Cafe Deutschland'. Reforms in its overall development are no longer to be avoided. Take, for example, our high school diplomas - not even standardised within Germany – in the context of a globalised, expanded Europe. Or the spelling reform, a Moloch in the days of empty coffers, which will cost everyone a huge amount. We have four million illiterate. I say polemically: these people should not be allowed to vote. Someone who is not able to read programs and develop arguments, can't judge. Our future demands better, more qualified education."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 20.09.2005

At the start of the new theatre season, Alfred Schlienger comments on the premiere fireworks at the Theater Basel, wondering whether it is possible for a theatre season to start with fewer compromises. This season is the last for theatrical director Lars Ole Walburg's "three new productions that clearly attempt to broaden the traditional concept of theatre. The repertoire spans the range from a bloody, demoniacal antiquity to the logic and logistics of shopping paradises to the civil bunker of modernity that should protect us from future dangers."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 20.09.2005

Holger Liebs wanders through the Ninth International Istanbul Biennal. This year the event is not being held in the touristic centre of town, but "where it hurts": "The Persembe Pazari Park does not even show up on the newest edition of the Falk Plan city map. There it simply appears as a nameless green space. Artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have constructed a walk-in white cube on this dreary location, with seats, a functioning fireplace and panorama windows looking out over the water. The house is built around one of those bushes under which just a few metres away homeless people sleep on strips of cardboard

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Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

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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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