From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 26.04.2010

Richard Kämmerlings was deeply impressed by "Bourgeois With Guitar", a new album by the musician and writer Kristof Schreuf, who cuts up the melodies and lyrics of pop music classics and reconstructs them. Not in an aggressive or ironic manner, but with tender sincerity. "'Bourgeois With Guitar' is like a best-of rock history in which nothing is immediately recognisable, but in which any one song might contain as many as three or four old tunes which celebrate been hidden and resurrected at the same time. Schreuf transforms these melodies for millions into a medley of myths, and in the radical subjectivity of their adaptation, their exhausted auras regain a sheen."

Die Tageszeitung 27.04.2010

Lower Saxony's newly appointed Minister for Social Affairs, Aygül Özkan suffered her first defeat when her fellow Christian Democrats shouted down her suggestion to ban not only headscarves, but also crucifixes in classrooms. Daniel Bax encourages her to keep up the good work. "Aygül Özkan's passing remark has kicked off a long-overdue debate about state neutrality in religious matters - and she has proved that she has courage enough to risk unpopularity. We should also salute Christian Wulff's courageous decision to appoint this Muslim woman into his cabinet."

From the blogs 27.04.2010

Episode 200 and 201 of South Park continue to be censored and, in Germany at least, cannot be viewed on the Internet. The media are pretending not to notice - and most papers are not daring to show Mohammed in the bear suit, despite the fact that in episode 201, it turns out to contain Santa Claus rather than the Prophet. In his blog, Jörg Lau comments: "The whole thing is starting to feel contemptible. Neither a single Muslim of substance, nor a public figure, nor a government of a single Islamic nation, nor a spokesman of a Muslim organisation has issued a single complaint about these episodes. It's our problem. It is the preventative cowardliness of the western media which has turned a handful of crazy 'Revolution Muslims' into an Islamic threat to the freedom of expression."

Die Welt 27.04.2010

In Russia over a hundred prominent figures have signed a petition against the "film industry association" and are calling for the formation of a new union, report Anastassia Boutsko and Hanns-Georg Rodek. The petition is chiefly aimed at Nikita Michalkov, a film director and close acquaintance of Vladimir Putin, who has presided over the association since 1998 and has recently being carrying out a full-scale cleansing operation to secure his position. "We do not like the autocratic vertical power structures of our professional association. We do not like the totalitarian style of rule. We do not like the manic search for the 'inner enemy' and the way that those who do not play along are simply thrown out. We believe that the atmosphere in our union, which is now being ruled by a single 'influential man', is also contributing to the spread of non-constitutional, anti-democratic and amoral tendencies in Russian society as a whole," the petition says. In spite of this, the film festival in Cannes has invited Michalkov to show his new film "Burnt by the Sun 2" in this year's competition.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 27.04.2010

At the Munich Music Biennial, Helmut Mauro was particularly impressed by a project of composer Tato Tabora, who is working together with Yanomami Indians from the Amazonas. Tabora is less interested in shamanic singing than questions such as: "How animals communicate in the rain forests and why human beings do not need to yell at each other to be heard above the all the noise. Strangely, Taborda says, the human frequency range is otherwise unoccupied in the rain forest. So no one needs to shout at all. And this was one of the first things that struck Tabora. No one shouts here, except children playing ball, people do not call out to one another, people do not even have names, except for characteristic nicknames which people rarely say out loud."

Die Tageszeitung

Klaus-Helge Donath has been emailing with Vladimir Putin's public enemy number one: Mikhail Khordokovsky, who refuses to abandon hope. "Medvedev is trying to reform the system. Putin, too, seems to have recognised the need for reform. But in front of every reform stands one of the most difficult of tasks of all: personal interests have to be silenced."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 28.04.2010

Niklas Maak is not sure whether the Icelandic start artist Olafur Eliasson has become too much of a mega-artist. But he does understand the appeal of his work, which are on show in a large-scale exhibition in his chosen hometown of Berlin for the first time: "His art is all about shock and awe, overwhelming the audience, levering them out of the usual way they approach things in public space to see what happens next. He creates an artificial nature that, like a reversible figure, creates a perfect illusion at one moment, and at the next, (unlike James Turrell's spatial illusions) reveals how it is constructed. He has a propensity for monumentalisation. But there is something in Eliasson's work for everyman, even every child."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 30.04.2010

Although Hungary, which has just taken a dramatic swing to the right, is still firmly anchored in the European Union, East Europe expert Richard Swartz does see the potential for dangerous developments: "Orban's victory seems to signal a return to an un-worked though past in Hungary. The political spectrum is now entirely dominated by the right, with an even more extreme right at its side. Yet this new extreme right is different from earlier extremist groups: it is no longer in the hands of bizarre poets, obscure fanatic and old fogies. Jobbik has a small well-educated elite of students, intellectuals who are at home in the modern world. This type of enemy is much harder to control than its predecessors." - let's talk european