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11/10/2005

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 tageszeitung, 11.10.2005

More than three weeks after federal elections were held – the results of which were contested between the two main parties SPD and CDU/CSU – an agreement has been reached on a grand coalition (more here). "It's a girl!" announces the taz on its front page, referring to Angela Merkel of the CDU, Germany's new chancellor. "Of course she'll stick around for 16 years," writes Joachim Lottmann. "Like Helmut Kohl? No, like Erich Honecker. He too was not exactly gifted with the media, he couldn't really speak, he had no aura, no powers of seduction – but he did have that instinct for power, that Stalin gene. Merkel has it too. She has so much of it that Friedrich Merz would be happy if it was Papa Stalin that had been nominated and not Mama Merkel." (summary of Merkel's rise to power here).

In her book "Einmal Hans mit scharfer Soße" ("One Hans with Hot Sauce") , Berlin author Hatice Akyün describes life as a Turkish German as not particularly problematic. In an interview with Katrin Birner and Christoph Mayerl, she tells why the image of Turks in the German media and the fixation on forced marriages and honour killings get on her nerves: "I think such stories are very juicy for the media. I got so pissed off at a newspaper story where 13-year-olds from a school in Berlin's Neukölln district are quoted as saying it was right for Hatün's brothers to kill her (more here). But you can't write something like that in the title. Sure, you should write about it, but you have to avoid giving the impression with such stories that it's a part of Turkish culture. I could go to any secondary school in Bavaria or Hamburg and dig up five boys who'll say Hitler was great."


Botho Strauß' play "Rape", premieres in Paris


Botho Strauß
' "Rape", based on Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus", had its world premiere at the Theatre de l'Europe in Paris last Thursday. Writing in the Frankfurter Rundschau, Martina Meister is convinced the play will hit the "luke-warm Paris theatre world like a bomb." The play "may strike audiences used to the Berlin Volksbühne as just another episode in the blood and sperm story of German contemporary theatre. But in Paris, where just a stone's throw away, skinny models are sauntering down the catwalk showing the fabric Zeitgeist of the coming spring season, this theatre of barbarity has an unsettling side to it, a grain of sand in the vanity fair."

"Blood sausage is blood sausage. In Shakespeare, in Botho Strauß and in Luc Bondy," writes Eva-Elisabeth Fischer in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Fischer did not find anything new in Luc Bondy's staging of "Rape" at the Theatre de l'Odeon, but exactly that seems to have impressed her. "The devilish thing about 'Rape' is that all the characters are such dreadfully normal people, the kind of people you see every day on the street. Their true motive is probably not revenge, but a deathly tedium, an appalling boredom. Even the child who asserts at the end that he is the emperor of Rome is no bearer of hope. For in witnessing all of the crimes, he lost his innocence long ago."


Berliner Zeitung, 11.10.2005


Uta Beiküfner has spoken to novelist Ingo Schulze about his new book "Neue Leben" (New life) and sticks her finger right in the wound. After his major success Simple Stories, Schulze took seven and a half years to write the new novel. "If there is any one thing I wanted, it was to get this book finished. It took three years before the first sentence was in the computer the way it now reads in the book. When I finally had the beginning and the structure of the novel and its tone set, I thought it would just go lickety split. I constantly said to myself, you'll be finished next spring at the latest, because I didn't realise what I had gotten into."


Die Welt, 11.10.2005

Uwe Schmitt writes on the tenacious existence of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", the mother of all anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, which were created in Russia one hundred years ago and exposed as a hoax for the first time in 1921. "Winston Churchill believed the 'Protocols' to be genuine until they were debunked. Henry Ford, a fervent anti-Semite, financed the American translation and arranged for it to be printed in instalments in the Dearborn Independent. Of course, Hitler and his key ideologist Alfred Rosenberg were fascinated by the treatise, and worked its ideas into their doctrines. After 1948 it had a renaissance in the Middle East which has continued until today." Schmitt recommends the documentary "Protocols of Zion" by Marc Levin for more information.

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