From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Die Tageszeitung 13.09.2010

The taz publishes an appeal by a list of prominent Muslim intellectuals including Feridun Zaimoglu, Fatih Akin and Katajun Amirpur and the Central Council of Muslims to the new Federal President Christinan Wulff, protesting against the intelligence theories propagated by Thilo Sarrazin in his book 'Germany is abolishing itself" (more here, here and here). They appeal to Wulff as their president to "make a stand for a culture of mutual respect": "Muslim women and men cannot even go and buy the newspaper today without having to worry about what headline, what stereotype will be waiting to greet them."

Frankfurter Rundschau 14.09.2010

For Peter Schneider, it is the media which has come out worse in the Sarrazin debate. "A second parallel society has shown its face, the parallel society of politicians and opinion leaders who certainly do not send their children to the problems schools where 90 percent of the children are Muslim. They failed to realise until it was too late that their hysterical reaction was turning Sarrazin into a popular hero, thus further deepening the divide between themselves and a majority which is refusing to keep quiet any longer."

Frankfurter Rundschau

The former gangster and author Cem Gülay describes the fate of the various generations of Turkish immigrants in Germany. "My generation, officially termed the second generation, somehow made it – with the exception of myself, of course. My [male] cousin, is an engineer, my [female] cousin, is a member of the Berlin House of Representatives (SPD). But what I am reading here in der Spiegel? They are leaving all leaving Germany? And taking their children with them? Why? According to der Spiegel, nearly half of all professionally-qualified German-Turks are leaving Germany because it's getting more and more difficult to find work here. And who is staying? ...Those who are not qualified enough to leave. So only its the angry generation who are staying. And what do they have going for them? Crime and religion. No? Angry minus opportunity = crime and fundamentalism. It's a simple calculation."

Der Freitag 16.09.2010

Thilo Sarrazin's recourse to eugenic and genetic argumentation is utter nonsense and completely unscientific, according to Veronika Lipphardt, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. "Genes code proteins, not characteristics. Science has yet to produce causal connections between gene products and characteristics. All that has been demonstrated is that certain gene allels – in other worlds versions of genes – correlate conspicuously often with observations of behaviour. But this says nothing about the cause of these correlations. This can be an artefact, a statistical distortion, it can be culturally determined or caused by something else entirely."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 16.09.2010

Lena Wilde introduces a recent Shell study on German youth. The upcoming generation is deeply pragmatic and entertains no dreams of advancement or resistance. "Those with a home life that is halfway decent hope, at the very most, that they will not have to experience a significant drop in their living standards. Klaus Hurrelmann, who carried out the study put it this way: 'They are content at the prospect of re-living the life of their parents.' And for this reason there is no talk of rebellion. More than 90 percent of the youth have a positive relationship with their parents and most of them would adopt their parents' methods of child-raising."

Die Zeit 16.09.2010

For Katja Nicodemus, this year's Venice film festival was all about ugly men doing ugly things. "One day you were follwing a silent hero into a Chilean morgue and watching him perform autopsies on the victims of the Chilean civil war (Pablo Larrain's 'Post Mortem'). The next you watching a lover chopping up the face of his rival (Alex de la Iglesias' 'Ballada triste de trompeta'). Or a half-starving prisoner boiling a rat for lunch in a Chinese prison camp ('The Trench' by Wang Bing). I have never been to a festival where the human form has been so tormented, maltreated and reduced to pure creatureliness."

Frankfurter Rundschau 17.09.2010

Literary critic, biographer and novelist Fritz J. Raddatz was the head of die Zeit feuilleton from 1976 to 1985. He was a highly extravagant figure who injected glamour into the world of the German feuilleton, transforming it into a forum for international writing. Arno Widmann relished his freshly published diaries, "our bonfire of the vanities", in which the intellectual life of the Bundesrepublik is viewed though the "cruellest and most adoring eyes". "You can read the diaries as a endless serialised novel on the decadent life of the cultural industry. Behind the grand words of the feuilletons lie little more than petty vanities, a pecking order built on vitriol and bickering. The finely sculpted sentences are formed from envy and hatred."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

As a member of the minority ethnic German community, the poet Oskar Pastior spent 5 years in a Soviet labour camp after WWII. It is his life there that Nobel laureate Herta Müller describes in her last novel "Everything I Own I Carry With Me" (excerpt in English). Now a German historian has just uncovered a declaration of commitment to the Romanian Securitate signed by Oskar Pastior in 1961, as Lother Müller and Christopher Schmidt report. Stefan Sienerth, the director of the Institute for German Culture and History of Southern East Europe at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian University, who discovered the document will present his findings at a talk on Sunday. "Admittedly the historian has only found a single report implicating Pastior. But 'in all these years there is not a single record of an attempt by Pastior to terminate his work for the Romanian secret police or to undertake any steps to free himself from this psychological burden,' Sienerth writes in the manuscript." Muller and Schmidt add that Pastior's homosexuality and labour-camp experience would have made him particularly vulnerable to blackmail. - let's talk european