magazine for culture, politics and life from a transatlantic perspective

From the Archives

CBS has started to put up old video clips from their archives on its website. Here is one feature called “See It Now” that takes Edward R. Murrow and his viewers to Berlin – a city marked by the Cold War, the Airlift, and bombed-out buildings. The images might be grain and dusty, but they paint a vivid picture of life in occupied West-Berlin.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Hating on Eurovision

Last night on Rachel Maddow, Kent Jones went for a little cultural superiority talk, when discussing the Eurovision Song Contest:
“You ever wonder what happened to countries that didn’t invent Blues or Jazz or Rockabilly or R’n'B or Funk or Hip-Hop? This happens!”

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

[Read more]

Satire & German TV don’t mix

Maybe I’m just spoiled by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Saturday Night Live or even South Park. Maybe it’s just too much to ask that we’ll ever get anything like this piece of brilliance. But after seeing the latest attempt at political “satire” (yes, those are scare quotes!) on German TV, I can’t help but feel incredibly frustrated.

Not the first in satire [Read more]


Die schrecklichen Ereignisse von Winnenden wurden inzwischen medial verarbeitet und hundertfach durchgekaut. Was dabei heraus kam, war definitiv keine Sternstunde der deutschen Medienlandschaft. Auseinandersetzungen mit der Berichterstattung über den Amoklauf findet ihr unter anderem hier bei Spreeblick und hier bei Stefan Niggemeier (via Medienelite).

Die Tagesschau rühmt sich derweil, das Video mit den letzten Minuten des Täters nicht gezeigt zu haben – wohl aber ein verstörtes junges Mädchen – während das ZDF erklärt, das “Fälschen im Internet kinderleicht” sei (Video). Na sowas. Fast alle Medien haben inzwischen Fotos des Täters, Bilder seines Elternhauses, nennen teilweise die Adresse eben jenen Hauses, und Bild schießt wie immer den Vogel ab und druckt am Tag nach dem Amoklauf Bilder angeblicher Opfer (!!).

Viele Politiker ergehen sich ganz betroffen in Verbotsideen – Sportwaffen verbieten, Ballerspiele verbieten, Einlasskontrolle an Schulen. Einige dieser Ideen mögen sinnvoll sein, doch die tieferen Ursachen einer solchen Tat berühren sie nicht. Wie es mit 17 war, daran können sich viele scheinbar nicht mehr erinnern.

[Read more]

Think Global – Act Local

I know… it sounds like a relic from the 70s or something, which it actually is. But obviously it’s one of those ideas that even gain relevance over time.

As we now hear Starbucks will be closing more than 600 stores in the US alone, which probably no one will even notice because they have more than 10,000 of them over here.

That said, I have to add that I really feel for the 1000 people losing their already underpaid jobs. But it also shows that there is not unlimited demand for ever the same products. I admit that it gereally makes sense to have chain stores in some respect. But it also makes traveling (and living) so not exciting at times, because it kills cultural particularities.

Her comes a sermon by Reverend Billy, founder of the Church of Stop Shopping, getting the word out to the masses on Fox Biz News:

[Read more]

Is Berlin the Next Florida?

With Barack Obama speaking at the Siegessäule this Thursday, the American presidential campaign has now definitely arrived in Germany. We spoke with Jan Burdinski, program director for Republicans Abroad Germany, and Jerry Gerber, press secretary for Democrats Abroad Berlin, about the impact of the election in Germany and the possible role of Americans living here.

[Read more]

Superpowers got a Bad Reputation

So I was just watching a repeat of the Colbert Report on television today. Will Smith was there, promoting his new Movie Hancock. The story is a little lame. It’s fun at the beginning but gets really pathetic at the end. As you might expect from Will Smith it’s kind of a failure, even for a summer movie. So I can tell you what it’s about without even spoiling a great movie experience. And yes, I have to admit that I’ve seen it.

It’s basically the story of a desperate superhero indulging in alcoholic beverages. So this guy hates his job – but keeps doing it anyway – to the point that the people of Los Angeles wish him to New York City because he usually leaves a big mess every time he’s on a mission. Finally he meets this publicist played by Jason Bateman who wants to help him gain popularity by (among other things) talking him into voluntarily going to jail .

[Read more]

A Not So Sexy City

Ever since the HBO series Sex and the City ended four years ago, its fans have been waiting for the announced movie. Now, it has finally arrived. Finally? Something has gotten lost on the way.

[Read more]

The Cho Show

Exactly one year ago, at 9:01 am, Cho Seung-Hui paid $14.40 for a U.S. Postal Service express parcel, two hours after he had killed two students at a dormitory of the Virginia Tech University.

The package was bound to go to NBC’s headquarters; the Zip code and street address were incorrect, so it reached the network with a little delay. The parcel contained 27 quicktime-files with videos of Cho, several pictures and a collection of his writings. Cho signed with „A Ishmael“ and returned to the Blacksburg campus to murder another 30 people before shooting himself.

NBC went on to air parts of Cho Seung-Hui’s “Multimedia Manifesto” – a decision which has been widely attacked, as well as it has been defended. What guided the editors at the Rockefeller Center to impart those disturbing communications of a multiple murderer? Why are the decisions of TV producers still relevant in the age of the Internet video? And when does Cho become too much Cho? [Read more]

SNL Is the New CNN

It’s up to Saturday Night Live to decide who will be the Democratic nominee for the election 2008.

The role SNL takes on in the nomination process is an incredible example for the way political debates are being turned into entertainment in the U.S. at the moment. At the same time however, it’s an incredible example how political issues are permeating the entertainment sector, creating a new arena for public discourse. There simply is no retreat to hide from the debate over Hillary vs. Barack. [Read more]


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