Randy's Corner Deli Library

22 August 2008

From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Berliner Zeitung 16.08.2008

Diedrich Diederichsen casts his mind back to 1982 when he met a 24-year-old waitress in New York who, for all her New Wave crow's nest hairdo and extreme coolness, occasionally deigned to speak to the customers: "As she did to me when I pushed my miserable dollar over to her for my barely- affordable drink. 'I'll tell you how it works in here. You have to give me a tip. And that means double what you pay, or more. Then you only have to pay for every third drink, and we're both happy.' I though this was a very decent suggestion, it showed understanding for my provincial idiocy (and poverty) and of course she stood to gain by training this guest. Because he went back every night. The waitress was Madonna."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Chinese author Jiang Rong talks in an interview about his novel, "Wolf Totem", which has sold over 2.5 million copies in China, and about the Chinese fear of freedom which he explains as a symptom of the country's agricultural culture: "People never need to leave their village. Everyone owns a bit of land. Perspectives are very limited. When I lived in the steppes, I often wondered why so few people could dominate a country the size of China. So I started to research the differences between Mongolian and Han culture. Then I expanded on my theories in my novel. Chinese culture is basically a slave culture, a sheep-like culture, a pet culture. The underlying problem of Confucian culture is unconditional obedience. Opposition is a foreign concept in China. This character makes striving for freedom and democracy very difficult."

Die Welt 18.08.2008

Director Volker Schlöndorff has just published his memoirs. In conversation with Peter Zander, he also voices self-criticism with respect to New German Cinema. "It is always good to start off by proclaiming Daddy's cinema dead. But having done that, we should have called a ceasefire immediately, like the Nouvelle Vague did in France. New German Cinema's real mistake was to try to do everything single-handedly, from own kitchens, so to speak. I don't mean the fact that these were auteur filmmakers, or that they were telling their own stories, no. What we lacked was the reality principle of experienced producers, people who were strictly focussed on the financial side of things, but who also provided security."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 18.08.2008

Michel Houellebecq presented his directorial debut in Locarno with the film of his novel "The Possibility of an Island". In the interview he gave Barbara Gärtner, he didn't give away much, but he did explain why the film has no explicit sex: "If you show sex, you always have a problem with the men. Male genitals are just not pretty. I have made an erotic film before, which only showed women having sex. But it would be boring to only show women in a longer film. You can't film sex; at most you can write about it."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Oliver Jungen was at the music and pop culture festival in Cologne, "c/o pop", and arrived at the following conclusion. "The industry has changed, quite fundamentally. At last people have woken up to the reality of the situation and this has engendered pragmatism rather than resignation. The internet can only generate limited money. Most importantly, the lifeblood of music industry has run dry: copyright no longer plays a real role... And people also now see that Web 3.0 is not the solution. What we need is a return to aura and that means abandoning technical distance. The concert is the new cash cow."

Die Welt 21.08.2008

In an interview with Kai Luehrs-Kaiser, the organist and Dieterich Buxtehude specialist, Ton Koopman, casts aspersions on Bach's son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach: "I believe that Carl Philipp Emanuel embezzled the missing end of the 'Art of Fugue' in order to feed the Bach myth. I am convinced that the 'Art of Fugue' was completed. After all Bach only had to work on the notation. Later he began composing the High Mass. I know music experts who - even if they'd never admit it - are secretly scouring the archives to find the end of the 'Art of Fugue'. And they will find it eventually!"


Die Welt 16.08.2008

The young Georgian writer Nino Haratichvili defends himself, in conversation with Jenni Roth, against the accusation that Georgians are racist. "Until the nineties, there were never any problems, which is why this accusation is absurd. And the Russians spent the last 15 years handing out Russian passports in Abkhazia and Ossetia, so that they can now turn round and say that they are protecting their citizens. That's not fair."

Die Tageszeitung 16.08.2008

Ossetian literature academic, Shanna Chochiyeva, who teaches in Moscow, has harsh words for the politics of Georgian President Saakashvili: "How could we have known that the Georgians would suddenly take leave of their senses like this? Although the signs had been around for some time. For example, Saakashvili uses former dictator Sviad Gamsachurdia's book, titled "Georgia's Spiritual Mission", as a teaching aid for the seminars he gives to his crazy chauvinists. This contains sentences such as: "There will come a time when the whole world speaks the Georgian language." And in meetings Saakashvili ensures his followers that Georgia will save European civilisation. As far as I see it, these people are Nazis."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 16.08.2008

Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovych declares his solidarity for Georgia and is concerned for the future: "'Freedom' plays an immense role in Georgian culture, whereas the key Russian concept is 'superpower'." And the West's illusions that Russia will henceforth act as a peacekeeper, are not something Eastern Europe has ever believed. "Since 1991, there has been a growing fear that Russia will 'rise again' sometime. I suspect that we are now experiencing the first acute phase of this 'rising'." Read more articles by Yuri Andrukhovych here

Die Tageszeitung 21.08.2008

Czech playwright Pavel Kohout talks in an interview about the parallels and differences between the Caucasus conflict and the Russian invasion of Prague in 1968. "The Czechs and Slovaks never shot anyone, they also had no territorial disputes and they had never sent a tank into anywhere. The only thing which connects the invasion of Georgia with that of Czechoslovakia in 1968 was that both involved a Russian attack. This is the nature of Russian politics... What the Russians need is something like a French Revolution. Which ultimately brought democracy. If you look at the Russian Revolution and Russian history, it is clear that we have to give them time, but we should not let them out of our sight."

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