Danube Revisited: Starting in 1958, Inge Morath dedicated years of her career to photographing daily life along the Danube River, which flows from Southern Germany to the edge of the Black Sea in Eastern Romania.... In early July, eight female photographers set out to follow Morath’s path along the Danube for five weeks.
Don't believe France's reputation as a country where sexual peccadillos are always overlooked. After a vote by the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, it has just joined a growing group of European nations where buying sex is now illegal. France is not alone in its fresh efforts to curb prostitution. The move follows similar bans in Sweden and Norway, while other European countries are also scaling back laissez-faire prostitution policies. Germany is poised to change its liberal sex trade laws, while Ireland is also debating a measure similar to France's. Is the end of legal prostitution in Europe in sight?
(Don't miss the deep and interesting links found within the article.) [more inside]
World War I in Color
is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
The Baseballs are a German rock and roll band founded in Berlin in 2007. They became popular with 50s and 60s style rock cover versions of modern hits such as "Umbrella
","Hot n Cold
","Call Me Maybe
", "Tik Tok
", and "Poker Face
"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’.
Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair." The LRB reports from Germany. [via
German Brewers Say Fracking Will Mess Up the Country's Beer (via The Atlantic)
Brewing the world's best hefeweizen
, you see, requires great drinking water -- and fracking
, they said, "could reduce or even completely eliminate the security of the water supply." In a letter
(in German), the organization (Deutscher Brauer-Bund) argued that this newfangled way of extracting energy would conflict with Europe's oldest food purity law, the Reinheitsgebot
The Big Three of EU Foreign Policy
: Stefan Lehne on the contrasting roles of Germany, France and the UK.
In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell
” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America
" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via
Evan Osnos joins a tour group from China as they traverse Europe. In the front row of the bus, Li stood facing the group with a microphone in hand, a posture he would retain for most of our waking hours in the days ahead. In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. “Everyone, our watches should be synchronized,” he said. “It is now 7:16 P.M.” He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. “We flew all the way here,” he said. “Let’s make the most of it.” [more inside]
is a car that allows you to steer, accelerate and decelerate
with nothing more than the faint electrical signals generated by the brain.
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
In 1957, the year of the Treaty of Rome
, founding the European Economic Community and setting the aim of an "ever closer union", the national railway companies of West Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Holland (later joined by Belgium and Spain) launched the Trans Europ Express
, a joint network of first-class-only international trains for business travellers. [more inside]
The economy is abjectly terrible, right? It's so bad that nowadays, a picture is only worth 200 words
. On the other hand, the recession is over in Germany and France
, and in the United States, the unemployment
rate dropped just a smidgen
last month. [more inside]
Turkish-German singer Muhabbet
(Murat Ersen) is on the books as a veritable poster child of German immigration, what with singing integration-promoting songs
with the German and French foreign ministers and all. [mp3, youtube]
Well until today, at least. Because according to journalist Kamil Taylan [in German; robot English]
, also a German of Turkish descent and co-author of a documentary investigating the death of Theo van Gogh
, Ersen was quoted as saying: "Theo van Gogh was lucky he died as swiftly as he did - I would have locked him up in my basement and tortured him first
", adding, "Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves to die, as well
". [in German; robot English]
On the cusp of DEVO's first tour of Europe since 1990
, it's become clear that, though largely cast aside after their 1980 hit "Whip It", DEVO's influence is finally being felt on modern audiences, around the world. DEVO has inspired tribute bands, some traditional
, some not
. They've also spawned new bands, domestic
[MySpace link], and Foreign like Japan's POLYSICS
[YouTube], and Germany's Mutate Now
[YouTube]. With musical inspiration like this, can't we forgive such missteps as Devo 2.0
Everybody knows that gangsta rap promotes sexism, homophobia... and fascism. Take Bushido
, for instance - the Berlin rapper of Tunisian descent that all the neo-Nazis love. Confused
Well, so are the Germans
. And then we're not even talking about Fler
, whose "This is black-red-gold, hard and proud!"
nationalist lyrics never fail to piss off the German papers (in German)
, and who likes to pose in his videos with a nice symbolic eagle. (Then again, Helmut Kohl didn't mind
Still, Fler's flag-waving, eagle-loving rhymes are no match for Bushido's "Salute, stand to attention, I am the leader like 'A'"
. The A stands for Adolf, you know.
Europe's oldest known civilization discovered.
Archaeologists have discovered an ancient civilization of temple builders that existed in central Europe between 4800BC and 4600BC -- over 2000 years before Egypt. They constructed over 150 geometrically, astronomically, and spiritually aligned temples
(translated) out of earth and wood, that had diameters of up to a half a mile
. They were built by a people who lived in villages centered around communal longhouses of up to 150 feet in length. Their civilization raised large herds of animals, gathered grain with primitive sickles, made tools out of of stone, bone, and wood, manufactured pottery decorated with geometric designs
(.pdf), and created small clay figurines of humans
and animals. Only one male figurine has been found so far
(.pdf) -- the rest have been of women with large breasts -- fertility symbols -- which suggests a fertility-based spirituality, and possibly a matriarchal society.
On the Great Atlantic Divide
Published on Sunday, October 26, 2003 by TomDispatch.com. By Susan Sontag.
I came across this piece at dailyKos
"Two weeks ago during the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) to Susan Sontag. She was cited for standing up for "the dignity of free thinking" and for her role as an "intellectual ambassador" between the United States and Europe. The association's director Dieter Schormann commented, "In a world of false images and distorted truths, she defends the honor of free thought." In its over half-century of existence, the Friedenspreis Prize has been awarded to Chinua Achebe, Max Frisch, Jurgen Habermas, Yehudi Menuhin, and Vaclav Havel among many others.
An excerpt from Susan Sontag's acceptance speech was published today in the Los Angeles Times Book Review section, but I thought the whole speech, which focuses on the increasingly embattled relationship between Europe and the United States, or rather between much of Europe, especially the various peoples of Europe, and the Bush administration, was well worth reproducing as a whole. Near its end is a rare moment in which Sontag considers an aspect of her early life in public. Her most recent book, by the way, is Regarding the Pain of Others. What follows then, with her kind permission, is her full acceptance speech. (The title and subheads are, however, mine.) Tom "
Why Does This News Make Me Uneasy?
As a Jew whose sister is married to a German and who has happily visited Germany four or five times, the news that Jews are flocking back to Germany should leave me in the best of moods. But it doesn't. Antisemitism is flourishing almost everywhere in Middle Europe - specially in France
and even Britain
- often under the guise of Anti-Zionism
. Even my synagogue in peaceful Lisbon is today protected by stringent security measures. Is this just an unwillingness to depart from old stereotypes or does it find an echo in other cautious Jews? Specially with Germans. I feel simultaneously ashamed and wary. Someone tell me - and a lot of others - I am wrong. Please. History may not repeat itself - but it sure as hell seems to inspires itself
sometimes. And we're all better off, I think, if we confront our demons. If they are demons, that is.
?? If you've been suspecting that old territorial squabbles never go away, you're probably right.