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27/12/2005

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.

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Die Tageszeitung, 27.12.2005

Gabriele Goettle describes her visit to the cultural historian Anna Bergmann, who is strongly opposed to using brain-dead individuals as organ donors. "The law dictates that two brain-death diagnosticians should, independently of one another, diagnose whether they are dealing with irreversible brain-death or just temporary loss of consciousness. And another thing I find ethically problematic is the diagnostic method. The body of the coma patient is subjected to highly aggressive methods in the search for reactions – in other words 'signs of death': an extremely long needle is inserted into the trigeminal nerve (more) in the wall of the nose; the ears are washed out with ice-cold water, and a tube is shoved back and forth in the throat. This procedure is carried out twice. A total of eight signatures are needed for the brain-death protocol and the final signature announces 'the incidence of death' as a bureaucratic act."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 27.12.2005

"This could be just the art museum that Berlin needs to showcase its immense wealth of contemporary art." According to Elke Buhr, the "36 x 27 x 10" exhibition, the final art show in the Palast der Republik, shows how ideally suited this building - which is about to be torn down - is as an experimental field for modern art. "The exhibition is a colourful smorgasbord of objects, as befits the nature of the event: Rirkrit Tiravanija shows a worn towel behind glass, which he has used the entire time he has been in Berlin; John Bock presents a wonderful sculpture with a guitar as a belly and a teabag as a stomach titled 'Babyshambles', presumably after the music he's listening to at the moment; Angela Bulloch has written a giant comic scream AAARGGH on the wall; Corinne Wasmuth, Anselm Reyle, Andre Butzer and Thomas Zipp demonstrate the quality and variety of contemporary painting and Olafur Eliasson has hung a giant 'upside-down mirror-lamp' in the room."
See our feature "The last lamp" for more.


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27.12.2005


Najem Wali, an Iraqi author now living in Cologne, writes on Iranian ambitions vis-a-vis its weakened rival Iraq. "Iran has almost succeeded in cleansing southern Iraq of professors and intellectuals, either through murder or intimidation. Thanks to the policies of Great Britain and the United States, southern Iraq has proved easy game. Many politicians in the Iraqi government are among the staunchest supporters of Iran. Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has lived in exile in Iran, and so has the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hussein al-Shahristani. The old Iranian utopia of regional hegemony is resurfacing under Islamic guise. From the Iranian point of view, everything is just a question of time: Whether it's al-Ihsa in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or southern Iraq, sooner or later all Shiites will join a Greater-Iran, whose throne will stand firmly on petroleum."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 27.12.2005

Jordan Mejias has seen Steven Spielberg's film "Munich" about the hostage taking and murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games and their aftermath, and defends Spielberg against accusations of setting terror on a par with the Israeli reaction: "What you could rightly accuse a politician of doing can go to an artist's credit. It's enough if a film director can give a candid and vivid depiction of the havoc, the terror and the violence wrought on human souls. Spielberg doesn't always do that in 'Munich', but he does it often enough. And at the same time he is anything but naive."


Die Welt, 27.12.2005

On the paper's Forum Page, Ralf Dahrendorf pleads for a liberal praxis of freedom of opinion, arguing that even denying the Holocaust should not be subject to punishment: "In all cases, what is needed is active and astute citizens who will react against things that they find unacceptable, and not a state that enacts harsher and harsher measures. A direct incitement to violence will be seen – and rightly so – as an unacceptable abuse of the freedom of opinion. But many of the offensive things expressed by British Holocaust denier David Irving and other hate mongers do not fall into this category. Their tirades should be answered by arguments, not by the police."


Saturday December 24, 2005


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 24.12.2005

The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo where war dead - among them war criminals - are honoured, continues to be the source of controversy between Japan and the countries it once occupied. Now Taiwanese and Korean families whose fathers were recruited by force are protesting against their family members being included in the veneration, as Hoo Nam Seelmann reports: "It is estimated that 60,000 non-Japanese are among the dead honoured at the shrine. Of these 21,000 are Korean and 28,000 Taiwanese. The Korean and Taiwanese plaintiffs find it unacceptable that their relatives should be venerated in this symbol-laden shrine, where the perpetrators and the victims are so to speak all under one roof. The plaintiffs feel their dead relatives continue to be victims of Japanese militarism even after their death, as the Yasukuni shrine continues to be the place where Japanese history is exalted."

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Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

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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.
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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

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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

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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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