From the Feuilletons


Süddeutsche Zeitung 23.11.2006

On Monday of this week, the 18 year old graduate of a high school in Emsdetten walked into the school laden with three guns and explosives and injured 37 people before killing himself (more). In the aftermath, the German media is debating a prohibition of killer computer games. Bernd Graff sees the discussion of these games and their effects as superficial and asks why nobody wants to interrogate their abominably realistic aesthetic. "The crocodile tears of the game engineers, who see themselves as 'stigmatised' and who advertise their bangbang product with slogans like 'active euthanasia,' are unbearable. The discussion has to be complemented with one on aesthetic criteria. We should be clear about the kind of crude horrors that players are exposed to in these games. They should be prohibited for that reason alone. It's not just aggression that is being transmitted. The pictures themselves are aggressive."

Die Tageszeitung 23.11.2006

Russian philosopher Michail Ryklin's book about the trial against his wife, the artist Anna Altschuk and other artists has just been published in German: "Mit dem Recht des Stärkeren. Die russische Kultur in Zeiten der 'gelenkten Demokratie'" (The right of the stronger. Russian culture in the time of 'controlled democracy'). Altschuk and Ryklin explain the title in an interview. "The trial against us had a further objective. In summer 2003, the regime was just building up the national-chauvinistic party Rodina (Motherland). The trial created an atmosphere in which Rodina could enter the Duma with 9 percent of the popular vote, although it had existed for less than a year. The brains behind the trial mobilised anti-Semitic views against us in a mysterious way. There were around 40 artists from various countries in the group, among them four or five Jews... What really stunned me was people's passionate need for an enemy. In the courthouse and outside they literally hurled themselves at us, screaming: 'Yids, get out of Russia! You've murdered thousand of our children.'" See our feature "Nobody is safe anymore," an interview with Michail Ryklin.

Die Zeit, 23.11.2006

Volker Hagedorn heartily recommends a visit to the "New Crowned Hope" Mozart festival. Seven films, "as well as opera and dance theatre, concert projects and installations, were created for what's got to be the most uncommon festival in this Mozart Year, financed by the city of Vienna with ten million euros. And in all these productions, there's not a single note of Mozart's music to be heard. 'That was clear to me right from the start,' says opera director Peter Sellars, who conceived and planned the festival. Dressed in a baggy green brocade shirt, the small man bustles through the halls, cinemas, studios and theatres. He is always approachable, and always radiates the boisterous confidence reflected in the title of this four-week event: New Crowned Hope. That was the name of the Free Mason lodge for which Mozart composed his last complete work." See our feature "The Mozart guerilla" on the New Crowned Hope films.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 23.11.2006

Author Judith Kuckart writes a "Letter from the provinces" in the train heading for Wuppertal. "When old people sit in the train, there's always a smell of bananas. They still know how to do it right. They don't hustle from one place to the next like me. They chomp away noisily on their home-made sandwiches, even if they've just had breakfast and aren't really hungry. They eat because if they didn't the world would be too big, and too sinister. When they eat, it gets smaller and less nasty, it becomes a pantry, the train becomes an old main-line coach with red velvet seats, and the attendant becomes an old-fashioned conductor whose pincers can still be seen in the corners of his mouth."

Die Welt 23.11.2006

Gesche Wüpper announces that the French news broadcaster France 24 will be launched on December 6, presenting a "European-French" perspective. "To ensure that not only the French viewers profit from it, the new broadcaster is being offered in several languages: at first with a French and English channel, in summer next year in Arabic. There's supposed to be an Arabic internet site from the beginning. 'We believe that the Arabic speaking world is not adequately known, and is understood in terms of cliches," says executive director Gérard Saint-Paul. He has been a senior editor at ARTE and the Germany correspondent of French broadcasters in the past. And he has another quite different wish. 'It would be a dream for France 24 to be broadcast in German as well,' he says. He would like to initiate a partnership with Deutsche Welle." - let's talk european