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09/05/2006

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 09.05.2006

In a special section devoted to Europe Day (today), the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut speaks of Europe's identity, its borders and why the EU is opposed to Turkey's entry. "Those who are against it for reasons of history and geographic affiliation are called racist: critics of Turkish entry are accused of blaspheming against the religion of human rights. I think that's dangerous. I see things differently. (...) The price of the calamity that Europe has caused in the course of the 20th century must not be a lack of definition, a willingness to do without borders. The past is not just a horrifying example. Those who feel committed to their own traditions, and act with them in mind, are not bad people. The supposedly generous religion of human rights forgets that the crime of Auschwitz does not effect the entire world. The film 'In the Valley of the Wolves' proves it. (read more) I saw it. It's incredibly stupid propaganda, Goebbels-style. The doctor in the American torture prison is portrayed as a Jewish Mengele. Those who present this sort of thing want to say to us: Auschwitz is your, European history."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 09.05.2006

Klaus Englert reports that at the end of the "Heritage at Risk" conference in Moscow, the participants adopted a "Moscow Manifesto" denouncing the destruction of precious architectural monuments. "All of the buildings by Konstantin Melnikov, for example the legendary Melinkov House and the famous Rusakov Workers' Club have been either left to decay or badly renovated. And outstanding constructions like Le Corbusier's Centrosoyus, Moisei Ginzburg's Commune House and the Vesnin brothers' film theatre are also badly damaged." Surprisingly, even Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who was responsible for numerous buildings being torn down or left to decay, also signed the manifesto, to push through his own "fake architecture, which emulates the Belle Epoque."


Die Welt, 09.05.2006


Historian Noman Stone who teaches in Ankara explains what he sees as being the main obstacles to a Turkish entry to the EU. "There are enough people who recognise that Turkey has made enormous progress. So it surprises me a bit then a parade of Europeans appears that's critical of everything. The Scandinavians annoy me the most. Sweden for example - a country where nothing has happened since the Congress of Vienna. Then they come here and start preaching human rights. Please! The Swedes were castrating the Lapps well into the 1970s. They castrated 80 000 Lapps on the basis that they were short and drank too much."

Sven F. Kellerhoff presents the new edition of the memorial book listing the German victims of the Holocaust. A total of 149,625 names list all of the Jewish victims who were still living within the German Reich shortly before the war. "But there are still gaps: especially in the areas of Silesia and East Prussia, as well among the Jewish emigrants deported to the extermination camps from countries they had fled to (primarily France, Belgium and the Netherlands). Exactly how extensive the gaps are can no longer be determined with the sources we have at our disposal."


Der Tagesspiegel, 09.05.2006


Klaus Hartung considers how the WM is changing Berlin's look – with all the huge screens, advertising wrapping and the Adidas arena: "It's well known that reputation is important to those who don't have it. That's how we, together with Thomas Flierl (Berlin's Senator for Culture - ed), defend Berlin's wonderful image whose deficiencies otherwise don't bother us. The disappointing thing about these major new developments is that they end up being accusations against us, against our broken relationship to the city, the fragile image we have of our city, our diffuse centre with its polluted empty spaces. The places that have aesthetic rank and status, where we feel obliged to make a bella figura are rare and disparate: Gendarmenmarkt, parts of Unter den Linden, Brandenburger Tor, the Reichstag... What else? Every world capital would make a scene out of such a huge event, would pretty itself up. We (not to mention the senate) have no idea what that means. The German capital with its exciting history, Berlin the metropolis, where everything is still beginning – the city could have shown that. But the city is only taking a minimal initiative: a multi-layered anti-Hooligan defense squad and an 'anti-dirt campaign'. Dirt telephone: 75 92 27 80."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 09.05.2006

Bernd Graff reports from a conference in Stuttgart on the state of digital animation technology. Nowadays everything is possible, just one hitch remains, the "dead eye problem". "The talk given by Mark Sagar shows what an immense amount of time and energy it takes to give animated faces a life-like appearance. Sagar works for the New Zealand firm Weta Digital Ltd., and he was the one who breathed life into the face of King Kong. This was ultimately a painstaking translation job because the big ape's grimaces were played by a human. The actor Andy Serkis was shown scenes with Naomi Watts and told to react. The programmers then transferred Serki's responses to the ape's physiognomy. They left out his nose, accentuated the mouth and eyes, and above all gave King Kong's blinking gaze the sympathetic human touch."

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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