17/10/2005

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.

Monday October 17, 2005

Berliner Zeitung, 17.10.2005


Tensions are running high at the Berliner Zeitung, where a planned takeover by the British investment group 3i under David Montgomery is causing a commotion among the editors. In a "letter to readers", editor-in-chief Uwe Vorkötter has caustic words about the planned transaction: "If 3i really does end up acquiring the paper, it is to be feared that we will have to curtail our offer and alter the paper's profile. I spoke with David Montgomery for over three hours last week on his intentions for the Berliner Verlag, which publishes the Berliner Zeitung. If he had plans, concepts or ideas for the paper, I would know what they are by now. But I don't. Montgomery is deluding himself. He purportedly wants to launch an aggressive campaign in the German market using Berlin as a base, purchase other publishing companies across the Federal Republic and join them together in a newspaper chain. Anyone who knows the newspaper business here knows that this is fully unrealistic. My impression: at best the man has only a rudimentary knowledge of the German press landscape."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 17.10.2005


Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, who will receive the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade on Sunday, speaks in an interview about the connection between Islamicism, nationalism and poverty. "The only things that help against Islamic demagogues are an open society and greater prosperity. I'm convinced that the core of political Islam is not the religion but a certain kind of nationalism and its hatred of the West. This hatred stems from the fact that we in Turkey are not able to enjoy the kind of consumerism that we see daily in American television series, that we still have an average income of 7,000 euros while in Europe, it's more like 24,000 euros. And that generates a minority complex, of course, that nobody can really get rid of, myself included – a minority complex and a rage that can be turned in any political direction: to political Islam, to Turkish or Kurdish nationalism."


Die Welt, 17.10.2005


Andrea Seibel speaks with the Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali about the fight against the repression of Islamic women and a better integration of immigrants. "We must finally learn to treat immigrants as real citizens. The state has to act clearer, harder, must demand more. Take for example the honour killings of Turkish women, which is also a problem here in the Netherlands. It's not just the murderer who has to be called to account, but the entire family - even the wife who brings the tea while the family consults to plan such a bloody act. All of them should be registered to indicate: you cannot get away with that."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 17.10.2005

Christian Y. Schmidt is not exactly enjoying his tour of South Korea. He meets overly cautious people, sees awkward sex films and can't stand the generally blighted landscape. "The cities give the impression that a war between two opposing architectural camps had taken place there. One party built far too big and windowless department stores, disproportional churches (a quarter of all Koreans are Christian) and huge sky scraper monstrosities, the other built wedding halls with pillars glued on them, so-called 'love motels' adorned with tin, little gazebos and towers, and night clubs called 'President Club', 'Zeus' or 'The White House' with plaster angels playing trombones or Abraham Lincoln at the entrance. No less ugly is the countryside, in the valleys between the mountains. They are full of blue roofed factories and ugly shoe box houses, churches made even uglier by their hugeness, between which bulldozers plough through the mud to further flatten the landscape and clear the way for more highway intersections."


Saturday October 15, 2005


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15.10.2005

The NZZ has a thoroughly enjoyable section today on Korea. Not only because the country is guest of honour at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair which starts Wednesday, writes Andreas Breitenstein, but also because Korea today is "at the avant-garde of film, biotechnology and the Internet."

At 13, author Suki Kim moved from South Korea to New York, where she lives today. She tells of her visits to Seoul, which make her feel like a yokel coming to the city for the first time. "The gigantic Incheon airport near Seoul has bowling lanes, a sauna and free-of-charge Playstation 2 consoles. There is a very efficient shuttle bus to take you into town, but you can also take two kinds of taxis: those for the rich or those for the even richer. On the side doors of both kinds are signs announcing '1-800-Interpret', a free telephone translation service for foreigners who need help communicating with their drivers."

"It was so powerful I thought I was going to throw up," writes poet Hwang Chi Woo about his visit to the Pitti Palace in Florence. At first the splendour of European architecture was hard for him to take. In Korea things are different. "You can't really comprehend Korean cultural buildings with European aesthetic categories like 'the beautiful' and 'the sublime', because they are inconspicuous and seem almost squalid. They are simple in form and design, modest in size and their colours are unspectacular. They are much better understood with the single term 'go-zol', which means 'unobtrusive, unostentatious, simple and modest all at once, but also elegant and graceful."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15.10.2005


The SZ prints a shortened version of a speech by Islam expert and author Navid Kermani on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Burgtheater in Vienna. Kermani tells of his recent visit to Morocco and his talks with African refugees. "The Moroccans are fully aware of the dangers inherent in the crossing. After all, they've already sat in the boats. And what if they die? 'Then that's how it is', says one. 'We're not suicidal,' says another. 'Some people cross in autumn or winter. That's suicide. We try to see things realistically. We know exactly what the risks are. For us to get into the boat, the chance of getting to the other side has to be big enough compared to the risk.' 'But do you take account of the fact that you might die?' I ask. 'Sure we do, but death is no worse than life here.'"


Die Welt, 15.10.2005

Oh boy, a grand statement from Elmar Krekeler on Ingo Schulze's latest novel "Neue Leben" : "This isn't literature of the German reunification. This is world literature." Perfect for the blurb on the cover of the second edition! The novel is about a writer who, due to historical circumstances, loses grip on his world: a very German predicament. "Even the revolt that Enrico Türmer stumbles into is a very German event. For instance, when the New Forum meets, they do so at Türmer's place, they all sit down at the table after having removed their shoes out of respect. And the way they talk about the future of the country and of socialism recalls very strongly the tone of a critical discussion in a parish council on the Rhine. The system determines the speech even of those who refuse to go along with it."

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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

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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

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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

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