?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

27/04/2006

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 Zeit, 27.04.2006

Thomas Gross wonders who belongs to the new societal class of what he calls the precariat (a hybrid of precarious and proletariat). Immigrants, interns, or freelancers? "Where will the money come from tomorrow? How secure is my job? Will the money be enough to pay for kindergarten? Which jobs can I do without a passport? What happens if I get sick? How do I want to live? How will I pay for my degree, what will I do afterwards? Why am I constantly thinking about work? Why won't he do the housework? How do I want to live?"

For the literature section, Ulrich Greiner travels to India, the guest country at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, and visits the woman in charge, Nuzhat Hassan. "She must be in her mid-thirties and doesn't seem daunted by the challenge of presenting India at Frankfurt. She has solved plenty of problems before. She used to be in the Indian police... She says: 'Every year 77,000 new books are published. Forty percent are in English and the rest are in Indian languages. For us, however, English is an Indian language too."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27.04.2006


"That is death. Not the death of entertainment, but death in entertainment. And we are all paying for its maintenance, whether we want to or not. We are being provided for in the sense of 'care'. And this is the ultimate incapacitation", writes Nobel Prize for literature laureate Elfriede Jelinek in an article expressing her support for the Bayerische Rundfunk youth radio programme "Zündfunk" which is slated to be taken off air. "Entertainment is often bodily harm. It's alright when people in the media sing and saw and sing with a saw or saw while singing or sleeping. As long as they remain alert. But the fun, which is being churned out incessantly as if public service media was a giant fun generator - this is wrong and should be banned from the public sphere. Because this generator does not power anything nor does it replace anything that itself would be capable of producing anything."

Willi Winkler writes on the much-debated cartoon comedy "Popetown", which MTV now plans to stop after airing just one episode at the start of May. "When a cartoon Pope joggles around the Vatican on a joystick it's not blasphemy. And those people who are so demonstratively against it are the real menace to public peace. It's true, in some Arab countries you can get beheaded for less, and even in some of the more God-fearing states in the US such frivolities will get the overly-devout in the mood for some lynching-justice. Although it's a little embarrassing to write such platitudes, the West and it's values will not be weakened by stuff like Popetown. On the contrary, things like that are much more a sign of its strength, because they show the West can put up with such infantilism without reacting in a fundamentalist way like Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Markus Söder, general secretary of the German Christian Social Union."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 27.04.2006


Philosopher Herbert Schnädelbach (info and pulications in German here) vents his spleen at the children's education offensive which the Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen launched together with a cardinal and a woman bishop at the national press conference. "With its condescending stance towards all other children's authorities, not to mention the educational and social sciences, this council of three makes it clear that it intends to keep a tight grip on things. This is an unmistakable ideological claim to power by Christian conservative values." But Schnädelbach says: "The Christian legacy in our culture is not compatible with the self-empowerment of Christian office-holders on issues of children's education. Here in Europe we are living in a pluralist world, in which religion has long been forced to the cultural margins. And since that has been the case, morals have also had to stand on their own feet. But it is precisely this dry truth that frightens so many of the anxious."


Die Tageszeitung, 27.04.2006


"Sure, I'm pretty scared about the upcoming FIFA World Cup," confesses the writer Burkhard Spinnen. "That's why I now spend my sleepless pre-World Cup nights developing plans for a better future. My current Utopia is a plan along the lines of 'constitutional patriotism', that construction recommending emphatic identification not with a country, a people, a homeland or a nation, but with an abstract concept of how people should live. In my analogy, in future hearts will beat faster for Germany's national soccer league, the Bundesliga! This is how it will work: after three years in the Bundesliga, players from all over the world will acquire the right to play for the German national team. At first disliked and then successful, the German sporting 'virtues' are now dying out. The advantage of my idea is that these 'virtues' will now be globalised away. The national team would simply represent the quality of the Bundesliga. The national element which has always has been questionable would fall away, leaving a team that is multicultural and pure German in equal measure. I would certainly give up the present baleful conglomeration for a national team like that!"


Die Welt, 27.04.2006

Gerhard Gnauck explains why an increasing number of Polish media (most recently the paper Rzeczpospolita in its weekend edition) intervene when people abroad mistakenly talk about Polish, and not German concentration camps. The debate is a symptom of the national-conservative turn in the country, he writes. "But it is also unmistakably connected to the new 'history policy' – the concept which has been gaining ground in Poland since the autumn electoral victory of the national conservatives (more here). The most recent element of the debate is Warsaw's request that the adjective 'former Nazi German' be added to 'Auschwitz Concentration Camp' in Unesco's World Cultural Heritage list. This ruffled feathers at the Jewish World Congress. By contrast, the German Foreign Office expressed understanding."
See our feature "Hoping for a game without fouls", an interview with Polish author Pawel Huelle, by Gerhard Gnauck.

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