?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

07/11/2005

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 7 November, 2005

Violence rages in the French suburbs

The feuilleton pages are a running commentary on the violence in the French suburbs. In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Martin Meyer tries to understand what's motivating these young fire-starters. "The new partisans are mobile, informed and versatile. They have no Chinese red stars or little red Mao books. They may be increasingly 'nihilist', and armed with a willingness to commit a violence honed by thousands of computer games. The events satisfy their desire for action, and are steered by the vague 'idea' that 'this'll show the people in power'. But this mentality, far from theory and doctrine, makes it extremely difficult for the public security forces to respond efficiently. The more a spontaneous terror movement sees itself as 'playful', the more difficult it is to tackle ."

Alex Capus, an author living in the Paris, puts things in perspective in Saturday's Die Welt: "When the suburbs of Paris burn, you don't notice a thing in the chic districts of the inner city." If you see someone with dark skin in Saint Germain or Auteuil, he writes, you know it's the street sweeper. "You don't have to tell the youth in the suburbs that they have no place in the inner city. Wherever they go, the police show up. For white people state violence is invisible, for black people it's everywhere. The children of immigrants should go to school in the banlieues, and think about their future. Many do exactly that. But it doesn't help. Because whether they drop out of high school at 15 or leave with top marks, they're going to be unemployed anyway. And if one of them does manage to have a career as graphic designer or tax collector, he still remains a second-class citizen. If he wants to go to a disco in Saint Germain on Friday night, the bouncers still won't let him in."

The Süddeutsche Zeitung looks to the rap world for answers: For Clemens Pornschlegel, the burning banlieues are not just a French phenomenon. "The hatred in the immigrant ghettos is aimed at the Western world which, as rapper Akhenaton (more here) puts it, is "a bastion of absurdity" into which it is impossible to integrate. "Only gangsta as identification / yields a million / stinking jackals, and the darky / is the mangy / product of racists / from countries with profit lusts".

Also in the SZ, Daniel Geiselhart lets French rapper Fofo Adom'Megaa aka Rost explain the situation. "The older kids all went to school, some even went onto college, but still none of them can find work. The big brothers can no longer convince the younger ones that there's any point going to school. After all it hasn't done them any good. Now these teenagers are setting the cars on fire."


Die Tageszeitung, 07.11.2005


Georg Blume writes a portrait of the Chinese businesswoman and TV moderator Yue-Sai Kan, who presents international celebreties to 300 million of her compatriots in her show "Yue-Sai's World" (more here). The programme is filmed in her flat in Shanghai. "In the dining room there's a heavy round wooden table covered with a plate of glass, easy to clean. A lot of eating and chatting goes on, preferably loud and in Chinese. In the living room there are several conversation corners with western sofas – for discreet salon talk, still relatively unknown in China. The Chinese bank director sat down with Yue-Sai at the kitchen table, Ralph Fiennes sat on the sofa and danced on the balcony. Yue-Sai adapts to each one of her guests."


Saturday 5 November, 2005

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 05.11.2005

Last week Franz Müntefering stepped down as the Chairman of the Social Democrats. The post will be filled by Matthias Platzeck, the former state premier for Brandenburg. This will make him vice-chancellor to Angela Merkel in Germany's coalition government and as a result, the country will be effectively run by two East Germans. Jens Schneider looks at the quiet rise to power of a generation who have been given "a second chance" and who make such a "striking contrast to the ego-exhibitionism of the West German generation of alpha animals, which is now stepping down. There are several explanations for their reserve. It could be read as a result of the subdued public side of GDR society which encouraged people to exercise self control and mistrust rather than create a distinctive profile for themselves. The niche world in particular was characterised by plain speaking. A healthy dose of common sense was often the only protection against the madness of daily life in a planned economy. This is one source of the conspicuous pragmatism."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 05.11.2005

Author Brigitte Kronauer was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize on Saturday. Andrea Köhler praises the work of the author, who was born in 1940 in Essen. "How boring literature would be without the sharp contours of her talent for heartless observation, without antipathy's coloured reflection of life in all its profanity. What would Brigitte Kronauer's emphatic cosmos be without the cushion-plumping petty bourgeois women, what would the adventures of understanding be without those 'glorious muscular facts'? Both are present in her books: organic ambiguity and innocent human oafishness, vegetative ecstasy and compact presence. Kronauer's characters are no caricatures. By that I mean: they are not sketched from the outside, but approached from the inside."


Berliner Zeitung, 05.11.2005

Talking with Wolfgang Zieglr, pop theorist Diedrich Diederischsen makes it clear once and for all that a Pope is not a pop star, and that goes for JP II as well as Ben 16: "Of course you could talk for hours about the similarities between pop performances and religious rituals. But if that equation were to hold, every damn priest would be a pop star. There's always something immediate in a pop star's personality that becomes a fetish object. The Pope doesn't decide on his clothing and appearances, they're prescribed. And in fact people don't give a damn about his personality either. If Karl Arsch had been voted Pope, the Catholic youth would have reacted just as they did for Ratzinger."

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