Waste Paper March 14, 2022: Culture at War

“dark teacher”

Apparently Brent Reno was the first member of the foreign press to be murdered on Sunday in Irbin, a suburb of Kyiv. The New York Times reported here that the journalist and director was in Ukraine for a film project about refugees:

Mr. Raynaud, 50, has worked for a number of US news and media organizations in the past, including HBO, NBC and The New York Times. Ukrainian authorities said he was killed in Irbin, a suburb that was the site of intense bombing by Russian forces in In recent days, but details of his death were not immediately clear. Ukrainian officials said another journalist was also injured. At the time of his death, Mr. Raynaud was on assignment for Time Studios working on a “project ‘focused on the global refugee crisis’,” according to a statement from executives to the magazine. Time”.

Culture and Society magazine Vanity Fair stated in its online version (the current print edition was created before the war due to very long production runs, and as an annual “Hollywood edition” with interview selfies dedicated to a few hot photos, which in this case means great actresses and actresses) Also here is the death of the documentary director, calling him an “evil mentor” in covering the war.

“Renault’s death marks a milestone for journalists covering their events Vladimir Putin The war against Ukraine worsens, as he appears to be the first foreign journalist to be killed in the conflict.”

(German media also reported the death of Renault, here Der Spiegel and here Die Zeit).

Thematic world of culture

Reno’s death himself and the report in a magazine like Vanity Fair illustrate the objective global character of this war in a very sad way: it can hardly be anything apolitical at the moment. While the media seems to have long agreed – perhaps at the latest since the Winter Olympics in China – that live (international) sporting events are never apolitical in any case, and that associated reports should issue and demand corresponding statements, The context is and the interaction between culture and politics is more complex.

Because culture often occurs independently of the themes – books, films, plays, and music are conceived, written down, and planned in advance; If made available to the public, its origin lies in the past. Of course, they are still recent and politically relevant – but not necessarily modern. This means that reports on culture are only partially overshadowed by current events.

“Putin is (not) evil”

In addition to the usual core stories about culture and society, Vanity Fair has put together an entire dossier on the war. Here is a detailed online look at an attempt last Thursday by Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity (you can see it all for yourself here) to extract a statement about Putin from the former president in a phone interview with Donald Trump.

In an interview Thursday night, Fox News anchor Sean Hannity went down a new path: trying everything he could to put the phrase ‘Putin is evil and I understand it’ in Trump’s mouth.

Hannity, as VF reports, slowly explained the facts to Trump “like a little boy,” spoke of the attacks on a maternity hospital, and named the bodies of men, women and children on the streets of Ukraine. without success:

Trump responded, describing the situation as “sad.” But most importantly, he did not blame the head of his favorite dictator. About the Russian president, all Trump had to say was, “I know him well, and that was absolutely nothing that would happen.” [on my watch]. “

The direct question had no consequences either, though Hannity offered it with an indirect compliment that may have appealed somewhat to Trump’s narcissism, using Venus to suggest that, unlike other media outlets, he thought the former president had common sense:

“I guess I know you a little better than most people in the media, and I think you also realize he’s a villain, right?” All Trump had to do here was say “Yes” or “Yes, I do” or “Yes, he is.” But Trump, of course, did not. Instead he answered the question obliquely, and when the P-word appeared, he was supposed to say that all this conquest and killing of civilians was somewhat out of his character.”

Then the mediator tried to point out Trump’s erudition:

The Fox host said, “I’ve known you well for more than 25 years. I’ve been criticized for saying that Vladimir Putin is smart. We’ve had many conversations, often quoting Lee Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Is that what I looked at?” For Vladimir?Have you seen Vladimir Putin and people like President Xi [Jinping] And Kim Jong Un and the Iranian mullahs as enemies you need to keep close to? Hannity was practically serving the sonic morsel he wanted on a silver platter. Certainly, Trump would be pleased when referring to the art of war. But then again, Trump did not! “

Instead, Trump referred to his statement earlier in the interview that nothing like this would have happened to him as president, and talked about the “wonderful chemistry” he has with people like Putin. Others could have thrown in the towel, VF comments, but Hannity tried one last time:

Hannity refused to give in, asking if Trump thought Putin was “capable of evil things,” a surprisingly low level given the children who had already been killed. Trump did not, saying only that “Putin is with Russia. And you will see what happened. And that’s it because they did not respect our leader.” At one point in the endlessly agonizing interview, Trump said what was happening in Ukraine was a “crime against humanity,” but he decisively ignored the “Vladimir Putin’s perpetration.” This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, though Hannity probably still replays everything over and over in his head, trying to figure out where he went wrong. Here’s a tip, Sean: Next time try a ventriloquist doll. “

This, VF writes, was also noted as an “endless and painful interview” in many other media outlets. For example, this is what the Washington Post wrote – and here is a text from the American electronic version of the music magazine Rolling Stone.

The reaction of cultural magazines

German culture magazines react the same way to thematic approaches: in the Sunday evening TV culture format “Headlines, Theses and Moods” there are two reports on Ukraine – thinkers like Alexander Kluge talk about a way out of the spiral of escalation, and a Ukrainian director tells the story in a film about the war, almost be trapped in reality. (A book examining coffee as medicine is also presented, and a music video gallery discusses.)

Weekly film magazine such as “Twelve Midday” on RBB RadioEins partially adapts the choice of topics to the current situation and discusses “Europe”, the first feature film by documentary filmmaker Philippe Scheffer, which follows the life that depicted a young refugee in France: an Algerian woman who was ill with scoliosis was allowed Backbone by staying in France for the duration of her many operations and managing to build a life for herself. But after successful actions, the European country withdrew her residence permit – at the moment of her material “recovery”, her future became more uncertain than ever.

Transfer to fantasy

Thus, issues related to the issue of flight and immigration of great importance can also be a symptom of refugees from other countries. The director calls directing the film “forced fiction”:

“We made a film by imaginary means because imagining her life (…) defines her life. Because the state says from day to day: ‘The life I lived here no longer exists.’ You are really here there is nothing. More’, it has been relegated to imagination.”

Regardless of the cultural editors’ editorial decision as to what cultural topics were worth writing about during the war, culture is heard firsthand in the form of its representatives. Even in pure news formats: author Vladimir Kaminer is included in RTL news programs. And on Sunday evening, award-winning Ukrainian writer Katya Petrovskaya said in “Anne Will”: “Democracy is always weaker than tyranny.” (In doing so, she demanded more arms deliveries and stronger sanctions from Germany. She also signed an open letter from various Ukrainian intellectuals, which the world documents here.)

There can be no talk of “turning to the imagination,” as Scheffner puts it, in the Ukraine war at the moment. Lasts. So the time when the world and culture will look at this war and deal with it artistically and imaginatively is still a long way off.

waste basket

+++ The Tagesspiegel interviewed media scientist Bernhard Borksen about communication and mourning.

+++ FAZ reports the conditional release of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi: He is not allowed to leave the country.

+++ Übermedien comments here on the story surrounding the New York Times photo from last Monday (here in the Associated Press).

The new waste paper will be available again on Tuesday.

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