Deprived of state allowance, Gabriel Matzneff believes that his “future is bleak”

Targeted by an investigation for rape of a minor, the writer explains that he is putting the finishing touches to a new book on “the manhunt» .

The day before, the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot had publicly announced the suspension of the writer's allowance.
The day before, the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot had publicly announced the suspension of the writer’s allowance. JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP

Targeted by an investigation for rape of a minor under 15, the writer Gabriel Matzneff is now deprived of public assistance. “The president of the CNL (National Book Center) wrote to me in August to inform me that the “commission” (I would be curious to know who are the distinguished members of this commission) had, after careful consideration, decided not to give me help this year», Explained the author in writing to BFMTV. “However, in his letter he did not specify that this decision was final and also applied for years to come. Long live France!“, he added.

On Thursday, the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot publicly announced the suspension of Gabriel Matzneff’s allowance in Livre Hebdo. “Like my books are, for the reasons you know, become almost impossible to find in bookstores, that Point ended my collaboration, that my retirement pension amounts to 847 euros per month, that the monthly rent for my studio is 624 euros and that I have no personal fortune, the future is bleakReacted the author, who had not spoken publicly since February.

Gabriel Matzneff also announced that he had just finished writing a book on “the manhuntWhich he considers to be the object. The writer, published by Gallimard until 2019, is now looking for a new editor. In 2013, he won the Renaudot Essay Prize for Seraph, this is the end!, a collection of articles where he claims, among other things, his pedophilia. The 84-year-old man is at the heart of a controversy, since the release at the beginning of the year from the book Le Consentement by Vanessa Springora. In the book, the author explains how Matzneff, 36 years her senior, had drawn her into a relationship when she was 14 years old.


Fiston Mwanza Mujila, a child of mines and pencil

Published on : Modified :

Another Son who left the Continent, The river in the belly. From the Congo river in the suitcases, just a tear in the shape of a diamond, maybe it wets the soul of the exile, but whatever, Fiston Mwanza Mujila is not a poet who takes water.

Well, it’s true that in his novels and his poetry, it moans in D-minor, but I find its telluric and incredibly joyful moan. On the menu of this meeting in French and German, a birth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the African literature he teaches in Austria, the memory of Tram 83 (his first novel), and then dreams of diamonds, alcohol and glue, read The villain’s dance which has just been published by Éditions Metailié.

The musical choices of Fiston Mwanza Mujila

Franco Luambo Bye bye by my love

Hugh Masekela Stimela


Book “Die Elenden” about poverty: Anger in words

In the book “Die Elenden” Anna Mayr writes about wealth and poverty. In doing so, she sticks to the criticism of stigmata instead of questioning circumstances.

Anna Mayr is a journalist and lives in Berlin Photo: Anna Tiessen

In elementary school I had two friends who sometimes invited me to their home on weekends. They had big houses, big rooms, big TVs. When I was there, I was given things to eat that I hadn’t seen before. The visits were exciting. But sometimes they overwhelmed me. When my friend’s mother once asked me to get ice cubes from the refrigerator, I couldn’t find her.

My friend came to the rescue, held the glass in a bulge in the refrigerator and I looked stupid out of the laundry. I had never seen an ice dispenser like this before. After these visits, this fascination mixed with anger. Anger that my friends had things at home that I didn’t. I directed the anger against my parents at the time. For me they were responsible for the shortage. I later understood that they weren’t the problem.

When you read “Die Elenden” by Anna Mayr, you read this anger. About material inequality, about wealth and poverty, about this one fact of life that determines how much a person can expect from life; a principle that begins with chance, the geographical and social place in which one is born. You can also find that unfair if you are one of the lucky ones in life bingo. But if you are one of the lower, then you don’t find it somehow, then you are angry.

This is why Anna Mayr is angry when she writes about her new life as a journalist, about encounters with colleagues who come from economically secure backgrounds, about how she perceives what is expected of her. Those who have experienced similar things will recognize this anger, and others who may be offended when they encounter this anger will learn about it. It takes effort to translate this anger into words, to civilize it. What the DOES Mayr accuses in a review, is therefore her strength: “Anna Mayr is outraged.”

A series of questions

Your writing about unemployment is preceded by questions shared by people with similar biographies: When, as a climber in my new life and new milieu, I encounter ignorance of social inequality, do I bring my own experiences into play to counteract it? Or do I, as a journalist from the lower class, leave it at that I raise the question of social inequality indirectly through my awareness of the problem? If I choose the former, what are the consequences for me?

These questions show the gap that opens up in German editorial offices when someone like Mayr is suddenly part of them; a gap that is not only individual, but also social and media-political when you think about who becomes a journalist in Germany and who doesn’t, and what it does with reporting. Ever since the publications of the French sociologist Didier Eribon, the French author Annie Ernaux and the book by the journalist Christian Baron, others have been interested when social defectors pose the social question.

Mayr writes of a personal radio report or of a text before a state election in which she explained why her parents do not vote. She had received positive responses, from people from her original milieu, but also from people from her new milieu, who said that they understood something through their text. That made her happy and she thought that she could counteract generalizations. But today she thinks that the text about not voting was a good text, but one “with an idiotic act”.

Her reasoning: “In reality, this text made me and my parents down. I submitted to those who need an eyewitness report to really believe that people without work are no idiots. ”She writes about her parents:“ I don’t want to write so much about them anyway – because their roles in society are with them as individuals have very little to do. “

The credibility

That’s why you hardly learn anything from her family. This decision is initially understandable, but the anger of the writer remains abstract. After all, the comprehensible decision is also a comfortable, simple, one-sided one. The question of public narration is not one that can be answered across the board. The credibility of a story is strongest where it is filled with concrete information. But filling makes you vulnerable, vulnerable. Which means that before each individual story you have to ask yourself what is still okay to tell.

Anna Mayr: “The wretched”. Hanser Berlin 2020, 208 pages, 20 euros

It is inevitable that there is an inequality in the communication relationship, especially when it comes to social inequality: one side is telling, the other can consume anonymously. But this inequality doesn’t start with the storytelling. It has its structural origin in the social inequality itself. The scandal and thus what needs to be told is not that there are people who are socially secure, but that there are people who are not. Those who belong to the second group have to endure this inequality in storytelling and reading. Mayr decides against it and shifts the argument to a realpolitical and also a philosophical level.

And this is where she settles the accounts: with a social work industry, for example, which one would supposedly not need at all if one simply gave those affected the money that one spends on it; with the concept of social advancement; But above all with contemporary social democracy: it traces the history of Agenda politics and of Gerhard Schröder, then formulates two demands that left-wing social democrats would do quite well: the increase of the Hartz IV rate to the tax exemption, that is to 764 euros per person per month, and the minimum wage to 12 euros.

Mayr calls for wage labor to be devalued in creating people’s identity

It is noteworthy that the author draws a hard line between the unemployed and even precarious wage earners. Because even those working on the fringes of the world of work gained self-esteem by looking down on the unemployed. That shows how much people define themselves through wage labor.

Structurally anchored

That is why Mayr demands that wage labor in establishing people’s identity be devalued and that it should be okay if someone is not working. This fits in with their reception of Karl Marx, which remains fairly limited to his contempt for the “lumpen proletariat” and to their questionable assertion that for Marx the “idler was never an ideal” and that he wanted everyone to work.

If Mayr had dealt genuinely with Marx, she would know that he was not a work fetishist. Then the problems she writes about would not count as problems of perception either. In reality, they are structurally and materially anchored, so they cannot be attributed solely to prejudices. In the Marxist analysis there is talk of real abstraction. What is meant by this is that we do not live and work in a capitalist way because someone is cheating on us, we are deceived or we have not understood something properly.

We live and work this way because we live in a world that is ruled by the categories of goods, wage labor and value; whereby these concepts have not only congealed in our perception to a kind of supposedly immovable natural state, but also materially in a historical development of social division of labor.

If one wants to dissolve this situation, which is responsible for social inequality, it is not enough to strive for freedom from prejudice. “It quickly becomes embarrassing to be on the left – sometimes I have the feeling that it is hardly possible to speak of a fairer world without despising yourself for it,” Mayr writes. Perhaps it is this feeling that prevents her from asking the questions more fundamentally. But that too is understandable. In a time when it is considered brave to make social democratic demands, those who demand more than that are considered completely crazy.


“He shreds everyone all the time”

The 61-year-old actor, currently playing My cousin, does not mince his words when speaking of one of his cinema models, Gérard Depardieu.

Vincent Lindon and Gérard Depardieu met in 1980, during the filming of Mon Oncle d'Amérique.
Vincent Lindon and Gérard Depardieu met in 1980, during the filming of My uncle from America. Marshal Aurore / ABACA

«I’m madly in love with Depardieu», Declared Vincent Lindon in 2015 on the France Inter . Five years later, he makes more nuanced comments in the magazine SoFilm on the one that many consider to be one of the greatest French players. The two men met in 1980, while filming My uncle from America. The young Vincent Lindon was then a costume designer. “It struck me to see this ogre, this character. I thought all the actors were like that, that was the job», Recalls in So Film the Caesarized comedian.

Him, he shreds everyone all the time

Vincent Lindon on Gérard Depardieu

If he is full of praise for this “extraordinary character, completely self-taught, unique in world cinema», The actor of My Small Business expresses more reservations about human behavior. “I’m a little fed up with everyone saying good things about Gérard Depardieu all the time because he doesn’t say much about others. Him, he shreds everyone all the time», He advances, still in So Film. The actor with a raw character does not hesitate to play cards on the table. The front page of the magazine dedicated to the actor is titled: “I entered an era where I don’t care».

Known for his positions, Vincent Lindon notably proposed last May the creation of a tax intended to reduce the social inequalities created during the coronavirus pandemic. This “Jean Valjean taxWas brought by left-wing elected officials to the National Assembly in June.


Poetry Monday: today, “possible will always suffice”

The heroine of Ariane Dreyfus’ new collection is called Sophie and she is experiencing misfortunes, but she is not so much the Sophie of the Countess of Ségur as that of her film adaptation by Christophe Honoré in 2016. It is in anyway what the author declares, for whom the film was the driving force behind the writing of the book.

But we can read very well Sophie or Elastic Life without having read the Comtesse de Ségur or having seen Honoré’s film. Because it is first and foremost a book on childhood. Ariane Dreyfus’ focus is on the young heroes. Each of his poems follows their taste for small detail, their seriousness in everything, the cruelty of their games, their permanent versatility, describing for example how the funeral of a doll suddenly turns into a water fight. Sophie and her friends live in an absolute present, an immediacy to be grasped: even if they are not “Not so good, too bad, quickly / Picking the cherries that you won’t see anymore!”

Here is one of the texts from the book.

Fear comes after

Sophie likes to take
Shiny, golden, she detaches them from the red velvet
From all inside the book box
No one else is there
For now it’s for her
The scissors, the coils, the green one,
The white discarded the black, the dice
The very pretty admirable things
Let her slowly lay on the bed
Everyone is very far, finally
She does not know,
Only it is possible
Possible will always suffice
How many pins could the dice contain?
(This pretty vase of tiny swords)
Why wait instead of taking?
Maybe the doll wants
To have short hair now?
She touches it with the scissors
Rather a shadow tears the inside of her belly
Fear walks slower than pleasure

Read alsoThe previous “Poetry Monday”: “yes that annoys”

Guillaume Lecaplain

Ariane Dreyfus, Sophie or the elastic life, ed. le Castor Astral, 112 pages, 12 euros.


The “last German”: Botho Strauss on sale

Götz Kubitschek describes him as his teacher. Rowohlt Verlag now presents the collected goat chants of the poet demolition master.

Botho Strauss – in backward black and white Foto: imagebroker/imago-images

The reactionary is a resident of the Resterampe. He lives on the residue of outmoded ideologies. With his resentment against a present that overwhelms him, he artificially keeps ideas alive in a decayed state, a zombie state. Like other fermentation processes, this sometimes produces interesting smelling poisons. Botho Strauss, an avowed reactionary for a long time, offers a lot of such residues with his new book.

The title promises an “expedition to the guards and demolition masters”. What should be meant are the “guardians” and “demolition masters” of a line of tradition of anti-modernism, in which Strauss puts himself.

Botho Strauss: “The expedition to the guards and demolition masters”. Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg 2020. 320 pages, 26 euros.

The subtitle suggests upcoming riots, as if the poet could hardly wait for the big bang in his country house in the Uckermark: “In the distance the little signal horns sound and warn that an explosion is imminent.” The picture is cute like the little signal horns, but it plays with the fantasy of violence from a system blown up. The book does what its title promises.

In the essays gathered here about current events, about conservative and very conservative writers, some painters and admired theater artists, one encounters the author as a somewhat quirky dowser in search of the buried sources of a somewhat archaic, timeless truth.

Smiled in vain

“The old high man”, as Strauss calls his alter ego in his most recent prose work, published last year (“too often smiled for nothing”), with no irony, alternates between sensitive observations, outbursts of hatred and oracular allusions. Conceptual clarity, arguments carried out are obviously not the aim of the anti-scout.

Nothing about this new book is new, and not only because it gathers slightly revised second and third uses of well-known articles on the first 280 pages. Some, especially the clever, infinitely differentiated portraits that Strauss dedicated to his comrades in the theater of the old Schaubühne from the 1970s, are still fascinating readings.

They show a sensitive, extremely serious and knowledgeable, also collective (or, because Strauss presumably hates collectives: joint) thinking about theater. Others, especially the irritated attempts to diagnose the time (“swelling goat singing”), have not gotten any better over the decades.

Aggressive brew

The concoction of aggressive resentment, excessiveness, mental confusion, “ancestors”, “moral law”, blood-and-soil whispers in the 1990s still seemed like that of an over-the-top romantic on the esoteric wrong track, bizarre but without political significance one can no longer be so sure about the political ineffectiveness today.

Bundled and with a time lag, the essays read as documents of an important writer’s reactionary thinking that has been increasingly radicalizing since the beginning of the 1990s and culminating in a self-chosen hopelessness.

That Strauss, instead of being an outstanding author of zeitgeist comedies (“Kalldewey, Farce”), observers of unsuccessful intimate relationships (“The Dedication”), city strollers (“Couples, Passers-by”) or collectors of memory fragments (“Origin”), is increasingly appearing as a folk mystic occurs is not the slightest loss along the way.

In this context it is helpful to take a look at the eulogies of the Strauss admirer Götz Kubitschek. The Pegida speaker and publicist, an influential propagandist of intellectually armed right-wing radicalism in his scene, is closely associated with activists of the Identitarian Movement, with the AfD politician Björn Höcke and the riot author Akif Pirinçci, who has been convicted of hate speech.

Fanfare for Germany

Kubitschek celebrates Strauss as a “teacher” and raves about “deep Germany”, whose “sinking” Strauss mourns to this day. Strauss’ scandalous essay “Bocksgesang” from 1993 with its martial end-time and cultural struggle scenarios (“Between the forces of the traditional and those of constant removal, serving and extinguishing, there will be war”) is nothing less than a “fanfare”, for Kubitschek Code text for German intellectual rights ”, the“ cornerstone of our self-assurance ”.

Kubitschek should know exactly what he is talking about when he reads it as a founding manifesto of the new extreme right: “Everything that is now tilting, that is intellectually and culturally leaning to the right, has an underground anchor with the ‘swelling goat chant’.” The right-wing publicist frankly confesses that the name of his magazine Sezession is borrowed from a “Bocksgesang” quote (“The only thing you need is the courage to secede”).

Every author has the readers they deserve. As far as is known, Botho Strauss has not protested against this claim by a loudspeaker of right-wing extremism. Kubitschek is a close reader. He cannot be accused of having misunderstood anything about Botho Strauss.

Anyone who, in the Strauss reception, ignores how capable an irritated cultural pessimism is in the debates of the openly right-wing extremist milieu (or how time generously published a preprint of the new Strauss book), demonstrates a will to repression. Or remarkable ignorance.

Bad tradition

There are intersections with a long, bad tradition, right up to Thomas Mann’s “Considerations of an Unpolitical”, in which “bourgeois” cultural conservatism is combined with the contempt for civilization, liberalism, and democracy. It is this link that makes Strauss interesting as a companion and strategic partner for enemies of democracy such as Kubitschek, with or without his explicit consent.

Nevertheless, the book is not a scandal, even if Strauss sprinkles some stimulating words into the notes (“Sprengsel”) published here for the first time (“Tolerance and diversity are prescribed like the patriotic sentiment before”, “the natural disposition of discrimination”). Perhaps this follows the hope of some attention in the form of excitement, what The Doctors call a “silent cry for love.”

The litany of losses collects harvest fruits, but is somewhat monotonous in the long run. The failures against pop culture (“song lyrics with their everyday demeanor and their rebelliousness kitsch”) seem routine and about as well informed as the poor cultural conservatives of the 1950s who believed rock ‘n’ roll to be the downfall of the West.

The self-image as a monk who keeps the unreasonable demands of the times behind behind thick monastery walls is pure kitsch. Even if formulated stilted: “The author of the while will be confronted with the task of medieval monks who have to take care of the transport of the great works of literature and the arts of thought in forgetful times.” If it is still possible, one would like to sigh: “Author of the while “! “Middle Ages”! “Monks”! “Thinking”!

Depth of remembering

The linguistic images are as worn as the thoughts: “All the highest peaks have been taken. But there are still pending records in the depth of remembering. ”The past seems to be there primarily to reflect itself“ in the depth of remembering ”.

Without false modesty, the author parallels Holderlin, “Seer out of longing who glowed through with loss […] and the future emerged from his loss. ”And the oracle is immediately repeated:“ But what can we suspect today? ”asks the seer from the Uckermark. Holderlin, loss, hunch, embers, “the coming” (whatever that should be, presumably the opposite of the banal present), these are the chains of associations in the search for sublime greatness.

It is the combination of loyalty and a high-pitched pose (“I am a subject of tradition, and outside of it I do not exist”) that makes these self-portraits, heavily fascinated by themselves, so uncomfortable: “Sometimes he feels like it, only with his ancestors to be among Germans. Yes, he is the last German. A rascal, a tramp from the city, the vagabond and the ghost rummaging through holy remains. A homeless person. “

That wants to be disreputable and scandalous, but above all it is involuntarily funny when the last German with a penchant for antiquity (“feels like him”) writes bad German in a weird style.


Fourteen new 2,500-year-old Egyptian sarcophagi discovered in Saqqara

ARCHEOLOGY – This discovery at the bottom of a well in the necropolis of Saqqara is added to that of thirteen other sarcophagi in the same place a week ago.

The site of Saqqara is a vast necropolis which shelters in particular the famous step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, the first of the Pharaonic era.
The site of Saqqara is a vast necropolis which shelters in particular the famous step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, the first of the Pharaonic era. Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities / AFP

The Egyptian authorities announced on Sunday the discovery at the bottom of a well in the necropolis of Saqqara (southwest of Cairo) of 14 new sarcophagi dating from around 2,500 years. This new discovery, made on Friday, adds to that of 13 other sarcophagi in the same place a week ago, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement.

The site of Saqqara, which is 25 km south of the pyramids of the Giza plateau, is a vast necropolis which notably houses the famous step pyramid of the pharaoh Djoser, the first of the pharaonic era. This monument, built around 2700 BC by the architect Imhotep, is considered one of the oldest on the surface of the globe.

The Egyptian authorities announced on Sunday the discovery at the bottom of a well in the necropolis of Saqqara (southwest of Cairo) of 14 new sarcophagi dating from around 2,500 years. Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities / AFP

Images of the well-preserved sarcophagi show brown and blue patterns, as well as numerous hieroglyphic signs. For several years, the Egyptian authorities have regularly announced archaeological discoveries, with the aim, among other things, of reviving tourism.

The Egyptian authorities announced on Sunday the discovery at the bottom of a well in the necropolis of Saqqara (southwest of Cairo) of 14 new sarcophagi dating from around 2,500 years. Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities / AFP

The share of tourism in the country’s income has been undermined by political instability and the attacks that followed the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak from power, and more recently by the coronavirus epidemic.


Banksy loses lawsuit and sees trademarks threatened

Will Banksy have to drop the mask to preserve his work? All the trademarks registered by the street artist are in any case threatened after he lost a lawsuit against a company producing stationery. Invoking the artist’s anonymity, Full Color Black had reproduced on greeting cards the “Flower Thrower“, or “Flower Launcher», A work produced in Jerusalem.

In 2014, the organization responsible for representing the mysterious street artist, Pest Control Office, had successfully applied for a European Union trademark application for the “Flower Thrower“. But after two years of legal battle, this decision is therefore overturned. The committee of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled against the artist, who could not be identified as the unmistakable author of these works – his identity remaining secret.

«Banksy has chosen to remain anonymous, and largely paint graffiti on other people’s properties, without their permission, instead of painting it on canvas or on his own property.», Specified the committee.

Served by his shop

In addition to his anonymity, Banksy would have been served by another of his initiatives: the opening in October 2019 of a shop in Croydon, in south London. The items were not available for sale within this store, as customers could only purchase them through an online store created for the occasion. Banksy assumed to market only objects “unusable and offensive».

The artist then explained that he was animated by what was “certainly the least poetic motivation for making art“, Namely this battle around the trademark.

«Greeting card company challenges trademark I own for my art, wrote the artist in a press release. She tries to take my name to legally sell their fake Banksy creations“. He assumed that he only marketed objects on his online store “unusable and offensive».

«Bypass the law»

The EUIPO felt that the way the store operated discredited Banksy’s request. The three-judge committee stated that “the artist’s intention was not to use the trademark to market goods, but only to circumvent the law. These actions are incompatible with honest practices».

Aaron Mills, the lawyer representing the stationery company, says the ruling could jeopardize other brands that Banksy has registered. “If there was no intention to use it, then the mark is invalid. Added to this is the issue of fraud. In reality, all the trademarks registered by Banksy are in danger, like all of his work.», He declared to World Trademark Review .

VIDEO – Banksy: we explain his works, his myth and his message


Volume of essays Botho Strauss: Under the Seven Stars – Culture

A self-quote is printed on the new book by Botho Strauss: “In the distance the little signal horns sound and warn that an explosion is imminent.” In the prose volume “Beginneress” (1992), from which the sentence comes, there was talk of the explosion in a ravine. Now the signal horns have lost their location, which made people think of quarries or dams. Your echo room is now the big picture of the present. What remains is the tension of expectation, the premonition of disruption. The quote hovers in curved curves above the author’s name and title: “The expedition to the guards and demolition masters. Critical prose.”