Your appearance in the “Literary Quartet” causes a lot of excitement in advance. Because the cabaret artist Lisa Eckhart will be seen on ZDF on Friday evening, the author Maxim Biller sharply criticized. But the station remains steadfast.
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A guest article by Maxim Biller published on Thursday in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” caused a stir. In his text, the Jewish writer criticized the invitation of the Austrian cabaret artist Lisa Eckhart to the “Literary Quartet” with sharp words. It is an insult to the life’s work of the Jewish literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki that, according to Biller, an openly anti-Semitic artist is now getting the TV stage from ZDF.
On Twitter there are numerous praising comments for the text, but also criticism of the clear statements. “The ‘Literary Quartet’ has finally died for me” is countered by a statement such as “I somehow have the vague suspicion that those who criticize Lisa Eckhart simply have too little education”. Even before the broadcast was broadcast, a dispute arose over how public television should deal with the controversial cabaret artist.
But how had Maxim Biller sparked such a controversy? With the book show, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, who died in 2013, experienced “the coronation of his great and hopeless life’s work” and it was also “the quintessence of everything that once made up the common German and Jewish tradition,” said Biller. With Eckhart’s invitation, this is “history”.
Biller put it drastically: Reich-Ranicki had “finally lost the fight against the Nazis” with Eckhart’s invitation. “Anyone who (…) invites this Ostmark cabaret artist, who has fallen out of time, to the ‘Literary Quartet’, of all things, wants to set an example. He wants to say: The times in which the Jews in this country with their temperament, with hers Cosmopolitanism, with their head much too fast for us, with their very human understanding of literature and art, shaped intellectual life, the times when there really was something like German-Jewish friendship, these times are now 70 years after the war, finally really over. ”
Anti-Semitic jokes are no artifice
Eckhart would “just repeat anti-Semitic talk by sex-hungry Jews” and whoever dismissed that as a fictional figure did not understand it. “What croaks, waddles and flies like a duck is a duck,” said Biller. The Austrian, who was heavily criticized this year by a video from 2018, is directly quoted by the author. “There’s nothing to be made up for with money. I mean paying reparations to the Jews – that’s how Didi Mateschitz spend a Red Bull.” Mateschitz is a co-owner of the energy drinks manufacturer, so Eckhart’s saying implies: Jews are filthy rich anyway, and thus fall back on ancient, refuted and anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Maxim Biller: The Writer 2004 in Berlin (Source: imago images / gezett)
Eckhart himself did not want to comment on the criticism on Thursday, according to her publisher Zsolnay. The ZDF, however, does. On request, the broadcaster announced: “The editors have invited Lisa Eckhart in her role as a writer and Germanist to the ‘Literary Quartet’. The fact that the artist deliberately polarizes and is thus controversial with her consistently satirical stage concept does not prevent this.”
The ZDF show, in which Maxim Biller himself was a regular guest in the past, is ultimately much less spectacular than the fuss that was made about her beforehand. The audience only perks up at one point when Lisa Eckhart quotes from the latest work by French constant provocative Michel Houellebecq and says: “You have to be careful not to become what you play.” Houellebecq warned against showing “no separation of outside and inside”, according to Eckhart. The fictional character Eckhart and the Austrian woman Lisa Lasselsberger, they seem to know this problem all too well.