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GoetheInstitute

08/05/2006

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.

Monday 8 May, 2006

Die Welt, 08.05.2006


In a text on the future of journalism, Chief Executive of the Springer Publishing House Mathias Döpfner makes a plea for perseverance: "We're not going to go down, things are changing less than we think." In his opinion, the Internet will, if anything, complement newspapers. "As an information carrier, papers may be replaced by electronic paper. But the function of the newspaper is irreplaceable. Through journalism." He characterises the difference between the media. "The newspaper broadens, the Internet deepens. The newspaper works horizontally, the Internet vertically. The second significant difference is that in the Internet, the user guides the journalist. In the newspaper, the reader is guided. The Internet inverted the hierarchical relationship. It is selfless, anti-authoritarian, grass-roots democratic. The newspaper, on the other hand, is a self-consciously authoritarian medium" (here a speech by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who sees things a bit differently).

Hubertus Knabe, historian and director of the Gedenkstätte Berlin Hohenschönhausen (more here) is appalled by the proposals put forward by the commission of experts that was called by the red green government to formulate a future strategy for the working through of GDR history. "The GDR is obviously being represented as too grey for the experts' taste. They complain about the 'primacy given to documents of state repression.' In my opinion, it's time for a 'file change' and a 'differentiation of perspectives.' With their suggestions, they definitely want to 'counter the clearly overemphasised concentration on the sites of repression and the division'... Even more worrying than this state subsidised Ostalgie (nostalgia for the East) is the expert's desire to centrally organise the commemoration of the GDR in the future. The proposal of creating a 'historical association' itself, recalls the planned economy of the SED, which forced every little business into a large combine."


Die Tageszeitung, 08.05.2006

South Korean pop culture is taking over Asia, reports Tilman Baumgärtel. "Korea fever started in 2002 with the TV series 'Winter Sonata.' The melodrama about unfulfilled love and accidental death moved girls, teenagers and housewives across Asia to tears, with record viewer levels in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and the Philippines, as well as parts of Russia. Oh Su Yeon, the author of the series, has followed it with 'Autumn Story' and 'Summer Scent'. The series made Korean actor Bae Yong June, who played the lead role in 'Winter Sonata' as well as several other soaps and love stories, into a pan-Asian superstar.... But it's not only the soaps that are making it big across Asia. South Korean movie melodramas and comedies like 'My Wife is a Gangster' are also hugely successful in cinemas and on DVD."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 08.05.2006

Writer Matthias Politycki reports from the Italian town of Arpino, which grows by one lyrical monument each year. "The astonished visitor walking through the alleys of Arpino is greeted at every prominent location – not quite each corner - by a man-sized marble board bearing a poem. Often there is a bench in front of it, enabling people to read and reflect on the poem in peace. Then there are the flags – Italian, European and others, depending where the poet comes from. This project is not limited to Italy; there is French, Spanish, English, Czech, Russian and Swedish verse, always in the original language and often, on a second board in Italian translation, poems in Arabic and Chinese. The lyrical city map of Arpino displays, in its way, the entire world."


Saturday 6 May, 2006

Frankfurter Rundschau, 06.05.2006

Marcia Pally notes what she learned at the New York PEN festival "World Voices", which signandsight.com also had a hand in organising (more here). "There's better wine at the German parties than at the Hungarian ones, but there the music and dancing are better. What the esteemed authors present – Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Salman Rushdie, Felicitas Hoppe, Huang Xiang, David Grossman, Amartya Sen, Necla Kelek and hundreds more – taught me is the following: firstly, panel discussions about revolution can be spiritual, moving, bitter or bureaucratic, but never practical. After hundreds of discussions I still don't know how a revolution can get started."


Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was born 150 years ago on Saturday.

In the Berliner Zeitung, Harald Jähner praises Freud for "understanding the interplay between our drives and their repression as the source of the most beautiful accomplishments of our civilisation." But what's it all led to? "The sexual practices that in Freud's day had to be couched in Latin even to a specialist audience, today make up the background patter on afternoon TV.... Our attitude to uninhibited sexuality is relaxed, even bored. Freud's charmingly stiff language has been replaced by the babble of Angelika Kallwass, moderator of a psycho-talk show on Sat 1. The author Michel Houellebecq ('Atomised') represents our blasé, bored attitude toward the tireless libido: the sad stylist of a de-scandalised swinger sexuality."

People feel relatively good about their culture today, writes Henning Ritter in an article entitled "The uneasiness in culture" (the literal translation of Freud's work known in English as "Civilisation and its Discontents") in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "The uneasiness Freud discusses didn't refer to individual cultural features, to this or that element of culture, but to cultural efforts in general, to their significance and their risk of failure. His cultural expectations were thoroughly traditional. 'Civilisation and its Discontents' is perhaps the last treatise on happiness. It's not about the increased delight gained through the high and the fine, but about being able to endure everyday life. Promises of happiness are proscribed, and anyone who heralds them is an imposter in Freud's eyes: 'Life as it is inflicted on us is too difficult, it causes us too many pains, disappointments, and insoluble tasks'."

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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

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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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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

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