From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Die Welt 07.11.2009

Roger Köppel remembers how Switzerland's Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported the fall of the wall in 1989: in a single column in the morning paper "of a maximum 20 lines in length". This led to a conversation between the sports editor, Felix Reidhaar, and the copy editor, Georg Brunold:
"Reidhaar, putting the finishing touches to the evening paper: 'Schorsch, the Wall has fallen!'
Brunold, phlegmatically: 'I know.'
Reidhaar: 'But you can't report such an epochal event in a 20-line single column on the front page.'
Brunold: 'I especially increased the font by one point, to emphasise the importance.'"

In an interview, Imre Kertesz sings a eulogy to his adopted home, Berlin. He has no love left for Budapest. "I've just returned from ten days there. The situation has worsened continually over the past decade. Right-wing extremists and anti-Semites call all the shots. The old vices of the Hungarians, their dishonesty and their tendency to live in denial, are flourishing as ever. Hungary during the war, Hungary and fascism, Hungary and socialism: nothing has been worked through, there is a sugar-coating on everything."

Frankfurter Rundschau 07.11.2009

The sociologist Ulrich Beck is back with his weekly survey of global domestic politics. He is particularly impressed by the self-assurance of France's "illegal migrants": "Things that would be impossible in Italy, which is running verbally amok against the 'clandestini', but also in Germany, in Hungary and indeed many of the world's countries, are by no means unusual in France. Every now and then the undocumented workers will strike (successfully even) in order to force their employers to give them resident and work permits. And for many years now, migrants have been forcing their way into French churches, government offices and universities and refusing to abandon their sit-ins until they are 'equalised'."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 10.11.2009

Jens-Christian Rabe is exasperated by Rammstein's new album, and the following passage from the No. 1 single "Pussy", rendered him speechless ("Hm"): "Zu groß, zu klein / Der Schlagbaum sollte oben sein / Schönes Fräulein, Lust auf mehr / Blitzkrieg mit dem Fleischgewehr / Schnaps im Kopf, du holde Braut / Steck Bratwurst in dein Sauerkraut." With no attempt at rhyme, this translates as something along the lines of: "Too big, too small / The tollbar should be on top / pretty miss, want some more / blitzkrieg with the meat gun / schnapps in your head, fair broad / stick bratwurst in your sauerkraut", although 'tollbar' does justice at all to "schlagbaum", which literally means banging tree, but is the normal term used at border crossings. At least half of the song has English lyrics anyway. Here the censored version (you now have to be over 18 to see the full version) with lyrics.

Frankfurter Rundschau 11.11.2009

While watching a long interview with Hans Magnus Enszensberger (who has just turned 80) on 3sat, Arno Widmann kept flicking to a film about Heiner Müller on Arte. "Müller explained that he hated the innocent. When he said it, he seemed to mean that he hated people who believe themselves to be innocent. But after it came out that he had cooperated with the Stasi, it was clear that Müller really meant what he said, and that the words should be taken literally. Müller hated the innocent, because they showed that it was possible to remain innocent, that you didn't have to cooperate. Flicking between the two showed once again, how German Heiner Müller was. How much he played the cliched role of the German poetic philosopher, who is interested in nothing less that the big picture in all its entirety, and how much Enzenberger lived from playing the polar opposite. Enzensberger was our blessing."

Die Welt 12.11.2009

Mely Kiyak reads the exhibition "Istanbul Next Wave" in Berlin, as a sign of what in lies in store for Istanbul's year as cultural capital.  The artists - and particularly the women among them - are reflecting on their society with remarkable honesty. "What they show is patriarchy, sexism and consumer fetishism. They and their male colleagues all arrive at the same conclusion independently of one another. Identity, language, tradition, religion and belonging are society's major crash barriers. Two weeks ago, the EU report on Turkish progress highlighted major deficits in the country's democratic development. It made renewed reference to the suppression of women throughout much of Turkey, as well as serious deficits in freedom of opinion and freedom of the press. Art has arrived at similar conclusions, without being reduced to political activism."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 12.11.2009

Bernard-Henry Levy describes as a dangerous myth, the now accepted "disinformation" that the end of communism and the fall of the wall was utterly unforeseeable. We shouldn't just look to "Kissinger, Brandt or Giscard D'Estaing, who slammed the doors shut in front of the suppressed in the East. Wiser men had more vision: "I remember Michel Foucault, who repeatedly said that every discourse formation, like every political entity, is born and will die - and that this entity will die one day, like all the rest. I remember Pope John Paul II, when he reminded us of the Virgin Mary's appearance in Fatima in May 1917, when she foretold the death of the Soviet Union to three shepherd children, and then he made it very clear that long-awaited hour was near."(Surely only Levy could make bedfellows of those two -ed.)

Frankfurter Rundschau 13.11.2009

Arno Widmann hastened to the Boticelli exhibition in the Frankfurter Städel, where he fell to his knees before the beauty of Simonetta Vespucci: "She is Venus and Flora, Minerva and the graces. She is the first pin-up girl of Florence's golden age. I have to confess, she was also my very first pin-up. My aunt had a reproduction of the painting in her house. I was barely ten when I first developed a crush on Simonetta. She is the sort of woman that became fashionable again in the 19th century,with the Nazarenes and the Pre-Raphaelites. These are blond young women in flowing robes that Woodstock would approve of. They are nymphs and graces. They have the pointed features of young girls. But they have bosom - and more importantly - belly." - let's talk european