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30/09/2005

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.

Berliner Zeitung, 30.09.2005

Harald Jähner comments on the unbelievable optimism campaign "Du bist Deutschland" (you are Germany) that 25 media enterprises, major corporations, Der Spiegel, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Süddeutsche Zeitung the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, the public and the major private television channels are currently waging against German pessimism. "It's appalling the way Germans wrestle with themselves. But it's even worse when they suddenly stop." He continues: "The campaign is the answer of the cumulative power of the media to misery. But unfortunately it's also an insult to the viewers." And as we discovered, for all the positive thinking, the campaign link fails miserably in Firefox!


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 30.09.2005


"No compromise can improve the primitive face of naked humanity and at the same time make the deathlike, arrogant, asinine face of naked power more human," writes author Andrzej Stasiuk about the Polish election campaign posters. "We no longer elect people we admire, trust and want to emulate in our own small way. Basically the only choice left open to us is between people like ourselves and media zombies with smiles like orange juicers. The latter will certainly soon be replaced by robots installed with a computer programme called 'President of all Humanity'. But who the rest of us will be replaced by I really don't know." See our feature article "Not a living soul around" by Andrzej Stasiuk.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 30.09.2005

Jordanian literary critic Fakhri Saleh describes the development of anti-American sentiment in the Arab world since 1967, when the US supported Israel in the Six Day War. The poems of Adonis and Mahmud Darwish have played their part in this trend, Saleh writes. "People saw the new superpower with a mixture of fear, resentment, hate, curiosity and envy. But hatred became predominant when Israeli troops marched into Lebanon in 1982, besieged Beirut for three months and drove the PLO and Palestinian guerilla fighters out of the country. The Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish accused the US, whose president Ronald Reagan supported Israel unconditionally, in a long dramatic poem: 'O Hiroshima of the Arab lover / the pest is America, America is the pest.'"


Frankfurter Rundschau, 30.09.2005

Berlin is the world's art capital this week with the art fairs Art Forum and Berlin-Biennale and three major exhibitions ("Fast nichts" from the Flick Collection, "Pablo. The private Picasso" in the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art 2005 in the Hamburger Bahnhof) all running simultaneously. Elke Buhr surveys the vast selection of goodies on display at Art Forum, all just waiting to be snapped up by the new generation of 30-45 year old collectors. It all sounds a tad artsy craftsy. "Photography, casually blurred or in high precision gloss, stylised still lives of metropolitan life, paintings of the same, only with the added bonus of a hand-made aura. Comics, TV images, fashion photos are the templates. People who like wearing Mangas on their t-shirts might like them as oil paintings on their walls, and a painting series that looks like a private photo album will lend the living room that certain je ne sais quoi."


Die Welt, 30.09.2005


In an interview with Michael Pilz, Sven Regener and Richard Pappik of the (West) Berlin band Element of Crime reminisce about their first concert in East Berlin in 1987. "It was mad", says Pappik, "although I'd been living in West Berlin for ages, I'd never been over there before this concert. This only added to the shock. It really was a completely different world. On the other hand we found ourselves in this unbelievably lively private music scene over there". And Regener adds, "We were pretty naive. I mean, we came from punk. It was another world. But then again, the houses, the elevated railway in Prenzlauer Berg, that was exactly like Kreuzberg (district of West Berlin bordering directly on the Wall, popular with musicians and artists -ed.) It was like time travelling to a parallel universe."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30.09.2005

Susanne Klingenstein reviews Laurel Leff's book "Buried by the Times", dealing with the New York Times' coverage of the Holocaust between 1938 and 1945. "This drama was reported in 1,186 stories, but it never made the front page. The result was that despite ample information from reliable sources, the American public never found out about the full scope of Hitler's war against the Jews." One of the reasons was that the publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger, himself a Jew, "considered the Jews as a purely religious community, not a nation or a people", and wanted the paper's coverage to appear impartial. With negative consequences. "The three day Krakow Ghetto Massacre in March 1943 was reported on page five, and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on page 43. The arrest of an aide to the Archbishop of France was reported on the front page, but the planned 'liquidation' of the French Jews appeared on January 27, 1943 on page ten. The news that three million Jews had already been murdered appeared on August 27, 1943 on page seven."

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