From the Feuilletons


Die Zeit, 17.11.2005

Elisabeth von Thadden talks with the British-Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman about the new crisis of modernity, the useless human masses and his new book "Verworfenes Leben" (Discarded life), in which he refers to the sculptor Michaelangelo, who had to chip away at the excess of his marble block in order to create beauty: "The success of our social democratic system has depended for a long time on our export of human and material garbage. From the beginning, modernity has been characterised by the migratory movement of innumerable people, who were useless to the social order in their lands of origin, who emigrated and thus, through the export of their lifestyles, destroyed the foundational basis of the counties to which they fled. Today every inch of the planet is occupied. There are no more places for garbage. The excess fall out of the class system, are excluded from all social communication and don't find their way back in. That's the novelty of this crisis."

"The future of classical music is in China," said Simon Rattle, before he flew to Beijing with the Berlin Philharmoniker on an Asian tour. Claus Spahn went with them and met the musical rising stars there: the classic impresario Long Yu ("Pin-striped suit, oily, gelled-back hair and long lamb-chops shaved to a tip") and Professor Zhao Ping Guo, the teacher of the star pianist Lang Lang: "With hands folded in his lap and a relaxedness that dissipates into the entire room, Zhao speaks. One wonders if the mild professor morphs into a strict task master when a master student is sitting next to him. But he doesn't want to hear anything about the notoriety of the military-style training of Chinese music students. Not this morning."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17.11.2005

In contrast to 1968, this time it's only young men who are rebelling in France, writes Alice Schwarzer, the queen of the German women's lib movement. These men are under the influence of unemployment on the one hand, she continues, and Islamism on the other. For Schwarzer the situation in Germany is similar: "Violence in Turkish families is three times as prevalent as in German homes. The men are the violent ones, and their victims are women and children. But the girls identify with their victim mothers, the boys with their violent fathers (even if they themselves are victims). But as starry-eyed accusations of racism prevent us from saying it like it is, we'll never get to the root of the problem."

Art historian Horst Bredekamp casts a curse on Hartmut Mehdorn, head of the Deutsche Bahn AG: "For generations the monstrosity at Berlin's new central station Lehrter Bahnhof - Hauptbahnhof will be remembered in connection the person responsible for disfiguring it." Bredekamp describes how the station, designed by architects Gerkan, Marg and Partner, has been foozled: the glass roof over the tracks has been shortened so drastically that first class passengers will have to stand in the rain. And if the architects' case against an infringement of their intellectual property rights fails, the lower storey will be left with a gloomy flat roof in place of bold lines and arches. He sums up: "The direct attack on these two key elements arouses the suspicion that here a building constructor accustomed to giving orders has infringed the architects' rights in order to have the building comply with his will. Despite all allegations to the contrary, no time was won here, but only wasted with discussions. No money was saved, but additional costs were incurred. The exemplary character of the decisions taken is that they are destroying culture in the name of the economy, but in this way the economy will be weakened as well."

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 17.11.2005

"It is not at all a scandal that a publisher refuses to include a book like that in the series 'Building Europe'. On the contrary, it is entirely deserving of support," writes Johann Schloemann on the decision of publishers C.H. Beck not to publish a book by Italian classical philologist Lucian Canfora on the history of democracy (more here). "The publishers have arrived at the opinion that the book trivialises the Stalinist terror to an intolerable extent." Schloemann quotes from Canfora's manuscript: "'In retrospect it was easy to construe the myth of a division of Poland – a new chapter in the history of the many Polish divisions – between Hitler and Stalin.' Subsequently Stalin is described as a 'good realist.' Canfora avoids openly talking about the terror, and calls the Soviet Union under Stalin a 'laboratory that contemporary historiography loves to equate with a gigantic penal camp.'"

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 17.11.2005

Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are back in style says Hanno Loewy, Director of the Jewish Museum Hohenems. Whether in Hisbollah television, the Friday speeches in Iran, the revival literature of Christian fundamentalists, or leftist globalisation critics – one finds the same fantasies about the Jews, Israel, Zion or Wall Street. Loewy moans: "The real victims of such world control fantasies that drivel on about conspiracy, are not seldom Jews but also the 'own people', as in the Inquisition, which didn't really strike the real 'devil'."

Hanspeter Künzler is in London and has met Pete Doherty, who has just put out his first album with his new band, the Babyshambles. Künzler's favourite track is "Albion", which is based on the musician's early traumatic experiences: "It was also the first song written by Doherty, who as a teenager was sent by the British Council to Russia to read his poems. 'I wrote 'Albion' when I was still at school,' he says. 'On the school grounds they call you a fag if you're dressed a bit differently than the rest. You can give a left hook as an answer, or you can build up your own little world, your own Arcadia, and sail there in your good ship Albion.' The slander of the boulevard press is nothing in comparison, he says with a laugh. 'The media had me sent to jail. But nothing's as bad as the first day of school when some kid hurls his rotten orange in your face with all his might.'" - let's talk european