What's New          Music          Art & Design          Books & Ideas          Film         

Theater        History        Et Cetera        Archive        About 

For older entries, please go to the kulturplease.com Archive.

Et Cetera

Yes, there is a German Spelling Council, and it gets to create new letters and tell us how to use them. SCHEIẞE!  (The Awl, 7/5/17; The Local, 7/11/17; Quartz, 7/20/17)

Historian Rolf Peter Sieferle continues to spark debate with his essay collection Finis Germania, published after his death.   (The New York Times, 7/8/17)

A chance comment by Angela Merkel became her very own "Schabowski moment," leading to the legalization of same-sex marriage less than one week later.  (Politico, 6/30/17; The Washington Post, 6/30/17; The Economist, 7/1/17)

Business at the port is down, but spirits at the Elbphilharmonie are up. After the G20 summit is over, what will Hamburg's future look like?  (Spiegel Online - International, 6/26/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"The times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over."  (The Economist, 5/28/17; The New York Times, 5/28/17; The Washington Post, 5/28/17; The American Interest, 5/29/17; The Berlin Policy Journal, 5/30/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"The Germans are bad, very bad."  (Slate, 5/25/17; Bloomberg, 5/26/17; Handelsblatt Global, 5/26/17; Spiegel Online - International, 5/26/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"So, in conclusion, Der Spiegel is hella good at headlines that mine the multivalence of the German language, and Barack Obama is somehow still supposed to save us all from an eternal fiery hell-scape where candidates for elected office can beat journalists up on camera and it helps their chances to win."  (The Awl, 5/25/17)

"Good institutions thwart radicalism": in praise of boring German politics.  (Foreign Affairs, 5/17/17)

The "two Germanys" theory is back (with an extra helping of water metaphors!) to explain German attitudes towards Brexit. (New Statesman, 5/15/17)  

Handshakes, not burqas? Thomas de Maizière reignites the German Leitkultur debate.  (The Guardian, 5/5/17; The New York Times, 5/10/17; German Joys, 5/11/17)

"What if a city"—let's say Berlin— allowed a huge regeneration project to be led, not by the wealthiest property developer, but by the club owners who put on the best parties in town?"  (The Guardian, 4/30/17)

German citizenship has gotten a lot more appealing for the U.K. and U.S. descendants of those who were once persecuted and fled Hitler's Germany.  (Handelsblatt Global, 4/28/17; NPR, 5/9/17)

"The storied city of Weimar, Germany (population 65,000) absorbed 900 refugees in a year."  Here's a compelling investigation of the new stories that are currently unfolding there.  (The New York Times, 4/28/17; The New York Times, 5/2/17)

"But it's increasingly clear that one country's allegedly evidence-based Besserwisserei is another country's intolerable smugness."  (Foreign Policy, 4/27/17)

"Hitler and the Nazis still, for many obvious reasons, provide the grim benchmark for the worst of what politics and humanity can become. But the temptation to invoke him to score a political point is one best left alone."  (The Washington Post, 4/12/17)

"In Donald Trump we may have another Wilhelm II on our hands — someone who poses a danger, not because he is intent on evil, but because he is erratic, unpredictable, and totally oblivious to how others may interpret his words and deeds."  (The Spectator, 4/8/17; The Washington Post, 5/2/17)

"The easy times of postfeminism are over," says Alice Schwarzer.  Her feminist magazine EMMA just turned 40.  (The New York Times, 3/31/17)

Berlin, of course: "Nowhere else outside Moscow and St Petersburg boasts so many Russian painters, musicians, composers and writers, drawn by the city’s cheap rents and alternative vibe."  (Financial Times, 3/24/17)

Yes, parts of SPD candidate Martin Schulz's "tune might sound like nationalism. But it might just be Social Democracy taken out of the freezer, where it had been placed by the neoliberal left in the 1990s."  (The New York Times, 3/23/17)

Are Germany's cybersecurity experts ready for the inevitable onslaught ahead?  (Politico, 3/21/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
When Merkel met Trump . . . low expectations were duly met.  (The Economist, 3/18/17; The New York Times, 3/18/17; AICGS, 3/22/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
Welcome to "the old German nightmare: the fear of being a large, isolated power at the centre of Europe." But this time "Germany's current loneliness has very little to do with the country's own malign behaviour."  (Financial Times, 3/6/17)

"While others saw refugees, this German professor saw human potential."  (NPR, 2/9/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"West Germans of Senfft’s generation knew how fragile democracy was, and did the daily work of strengthening it."  (Financial Times, 2/8/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
What does the decline of democracy look like? Ask a German historian.  (Die Zeit, 2/1/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/5/17; Gothamist, 2/6/17; Slate, 2/10/17; The New York Review of Books, 2/26/17; The Nation, 2/28/17; The New York Review of Books, 4/20/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"For Germany, Trump poses a threat with no clear solution."  (Foreign Affairs, 1/29/17; German Marshall Fund, 2/3/17; Spiegel Online - International, 2/5/17; The New York Times, 2/6/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
Angela Merkel has been "outfoxing, outlasting, and outmaneuvering full-of-themselves male rivals" for a very long time.  (Foreign Policy, 1/31/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"Sometimes," writes Malte Lehming, "being aware of the tragedy is enough to prevent the farce from happening. Thanks, Trump voters!"  (The Washington Post, 1/26/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
In Germany, it's no longer illegal to insult foreign heads of state.  (The Washington Post, 1/25/17)

"Germany has a soccer team made up entirely of writers."  (PRI, 1/24/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"The best anyone can say about German-American relations these days is that, for the time being, they are dangerously lost in translation."  (The New York Times, 1/20/17)

Just in time for an anxious election season, Germany's political fringe showcases its own charismatic xenophobe.  (The New York Times, 1/18/17)

From the vantage point of a small town on the Starnberger See, Renata Adler contemplates the prospects for Germany's unprecedented experiment in welcoming refugees.  (Lapham's Quarterly, Winter 2017)  

Terror attack in Berlin
"Out of the bloody carnage of violence and hate of Berlin on the Monday before Christmas comes the enviable impression of a country that is true to the values of liberal Europe."  (The Guardian, 12/21/16)

Terror attack in Berlin
"It is difficult to think of an image that evokes the things worth defending more beautifully than a warm Christmas market beckoning all comers—locals and tourists, Christians, Muslims, and atheists—to spend an hour or two strolling among brightly lit stalls and drinking hot tea or mulled wine with a newfound friend."  (Slate, 12/20/16)

Terror attack in Berlin
Michael Kimmelman and Thomas de Monchaus unpack the layers of meaning at Breitscheidplatz, heart of western Berlin's city center and site of the December 19 terror attack.  (The New York Times, 12/20/16; The New Yorker, 1/5/17)

"Germany is a secular country, but the German legal framework approves of institutionalized religions in a biased way." Alexander Görlach explains why Islam gets second-class status within Germany.  (The New York Times, 12/15/16)

"In Europe right now, there is one prediction that everyone is happy to make: In 2017, the Russian government will mount an open campaign to sway the German elections."  (The Washington Post, 12/12/16)

Lügenpresse, Volksverräter, and Umvolkung are back. Germany's radical right has revived terms once fatally associated with National Socialism.  (The Washington Post, 12/9/16)

Charles Lane has a lesson in Realpolitik for Angela Merkel: "No government can do more good than it can sustain politically."  (The Washington Post, 12/7/16)

"The Frankfurt School knew Trump was coming."  (The New Yorker, 12/5/16)

Pity the Brits: "A people admired by many Germans as essentially cautious, sceptical, small-c conservatives had flamboyantly gambled their economic future."  (The Guardian, 6/28/16)

What is (organic) German? The migration crisis has intensified an age-old debate.  (The New York Times, 5/26/16; The Economist, 5/28/16)

Böhmermann, Erdogan, and the politics of satire
Jan Böhmermann chats with the editorial board of The New York Times.  (The New York Times, 5/4/16)

Q: What do Christopher Clark, Timothy Garton Ash, and Neil MacGregor have in common? A: Anglosplaining for Germans.  (1843, 5/3/16)

"The most German of traits, he said, is this need to correct people, no matter how trivial the point."  (1843, 5/3/16)

"It isn't easy to be creative and imaginative with a product that contains four ingredients..." Is 500 years enough for the Reinheitsgebot (Spiegel Online - International, 4/21/16; The Economist, 4/23/16)  

In Dresden, "one of Germany’s most rarefied art and cultural scenes" coexists uncomfortably with the country's "most notorious populist movement."  (The Wall Street Journal, 4/20/16)

Böhmermann, Erdogan, and the politics of satire
"Instead of holding up a mirror to the country, which is allegedly the function of cabaret, Böhmermann has sent the country into a hall of mirrors and has provoked all kinds of strange reactions."  (Spiegel Online - International, 4/15/16)

Berlin isn't as cool as it used to be—or maybe it's just too cool?, 2016 edition.  (Slate, 4/15/16)

Böhmermann, Erdogan, and the politics of satire
Oh, the power of poetry: Jan Böhmermann sparks debate about the legal boundaries of freedom of expression, confirms Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inability to take a joke, and creates a major diplomatic headache for Angela Merkel. (Deutsche Welle, 4/8/16; Deutsche Welle, 4/11/16; Exberliner, 4/11/16; The Guardian, 4/11/16; The Washington Post, 4/12/16; Spiegel Online - International, 4/12/16)

"Whether the nation deals successfully with the migration challenge or succumbs to fear and nationalism will largely be determined by how communities like Siegsdorf — those directly charged with welcoming the migrants — confront the challenges ahead." (The New York Times, 4/6/16)

Böhmermann, Erdogan, and the politics of satire
"Achtung! Germans on the rise, but this time we are fucking nice!"  (The Local, 4/1/16)

In memoriam: Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1927-2016), long-serving foreign minister, architect of German reunification, respected elder statesman.  (Deutsche Welle, 4/1/16; Financial Times, 4/1/16; The New York Times, 4/1/16; The Washington Post, 4/1/16; AICGS, 4/8/16)

Angela Merkel's "impractical humanism will likely cost her the chancellorship," writes Daniel Kehlmann. "But, at the same time, her actions saved the soul of Europe."  (The New York Times, 4/1/16)

"Danger comes especially from those who perhaps should know better, but make anti-democratic, radical conservatives salonfähig. That is the real lesson to be taken from Weimar Germany." (Moyers & Company, 3/19/16)

In memoriam: Guido Westerwelle (1961-2016), former foreign minister and FDP leader. "He stood for liberalism in politics and his private life, a liberalism that was focused on only one thing: freedom."  (Deutsche Welle, 3/18/16; The Guardian, 3/18/16; The New York Times, 3/18/16)

"A good night for incumbents and xenophobes": reflections on the March 13 elections in Baden-Württemberg, Sachsen-Anhalt, and Rheinland-Pfalz.  (Bloomberg, 3/131/6; The Economist, 3/13/16; The New York Times, 3/14/16; Spiegel Online - International, 3/14/16)

Backpfeifengesicht, Verschlimmbesserung and more—here's "why the German language has so many great words."  (The Conversation, 3/7/16)

Tried a Spezi lately? "It gives you the feeling of a Bavarian holiday without the alcohol."  (The Wall Street Journal, 3/9/16)

Auf Wiedersehen, heile Welt? "It is not clear what kind of world will replace the wholesome one the Germans once dreamed up. But it will be a rougher one."  (The Economist, 3/5/16; Spiegel Online - International, 3/8/16)

Are refugees still welcome? "The screenplay for Merkel's downfall hasn't yet been written, but an initial rough draft already exists."  (The Economist, 1/23/15; The Atlantic, 1/25/16; Spiegel Online - International, 1/25/16)

"Germany reacts to being named world's best country in the most German way."  (The Washington Post, 1/21/16)

"New Year's Eve in Cologne rapidly descended into a chaotic free-for-all involving sexual assault and theft, most of it apparently committed by foreigners. It has launched a bitter debate over immigration and refugees in Germany—one that could change the country."  (Spiegel Online - International, 1/8/16; The New York Times, 1/9/16; The New Yorker, 1/10/16; The New York Times, 1/15/16)