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Yes indeed, it's the little things... one of them would mean actually reading the article before whining about "anti-Americanism".

"Das Land Hollywood, das ich bereist habe, steht unter Gesetzen, die es nirgendwo anders auf der Welt gibt. Geld wird fast verächtlich behandelt, es gibt eine unglaubliche Verschwendung, es gibt viele Lügen, fast alle sagen ja zu einem, und man muß lange warten um herauszufinden, was sie wirklich meinen."

So, "land of lies" is what Sam Mendes says and it doesn't refer to America but to Hollywood.

As they always say: Read the whole thing.

Note from David: I knew somewhat would point this out, most likely our self-chosen co-blogger Querdenker.
Of course, I had read the "whole thing", and I felt that using "land of lies" in the headline as a summary for "land Hollywood" in Mendes' statement is manipulative (Mendes didn't even say that Hollywood is a "land of lies" - he said "there are many lies" (in Hollywood)).
I took the liberty to say so in my blog...
Heartfelt apologies, Q!

I'd add that, if one is to believe Mendes himself, he considers "Jarhead" a film following in the tradition of "Catch-22", "Platoon", and maybe even "All Quiet on the Western Front", i.e. an anti-war war movie.

I didn't get the impression that the reporter posed any particularly slanted questions, especially given Mendes' take on things including Hollywood. You may not agree with his opinions, either his point of view regarding the Middle East or "Jarhead" being an anti-war movie, but I don't see where FAZ comes off as anti-American in the article.

Note from David: I didn't criticize the reporter or the questions he posed. I criticized the wording in the headline, which, btw, is usually phrased by other journalists, not by the reporter who wrote the story or did the interview. Using "land of lies" in the headline seems - I repeat myself - manipulative. The cultural section of the FAZ has a reputation for it's anti-American slant. Check this blog's earlier postings for details.

Cheers,

Querdenker's indignation made me read the whole thing (which I very rarely do in FAZ). I was really curious; was Querdenker right, did David cry wolf too soon?

As Rofe said, the quesions aren't anti-American (except for the use of "land of lies" in the headline), but the answers sure aren't America-friendly. "Amerikaner mögen es, ich vergröbere jetzt sehr, daß man ihnen sagt, was sie im Kino fühlen sollen" - "Generally speaking, Americans like to be told how to feel at the movies". This is just one example.

It is not a crude article like so many others (well, it is the "cultural" section after all), it is almost inoffensively anti-American. Sure, it's not FAZ's fault if the interviewee is critical towards things is America. However, it definitely appeals to the hordes of America "critics" in Germany.

Interesting that he thinks the war is a pure disaster. Of course, given his own personal anti-War views this is what one would expect.

Wonder what his opinion would have been had he been born say 60 years earlier. I bet he would have lined up with Neville.

David,

Excuse me for saying so, but I thought the underlying premise of Medienkritik is that nearly all German newspapers have anti-American slants. I agree that pointing out such bias where it exists is a worthy goal. I would suggest, though, that calling bias where bias isn't apparent can be counterproductive.

I presume that we would all agree the paper hasn't picked some random director for this Q&A just to gin up anti-American comments and that, to the extent Mendes sets out his own bias, the newspaper isn't responsible.

Cheers,

Jeez David, don't be such a huffy guy. Sorry but your interpretation is really over the top. The "land of lies" just summarizes what Mendes said about the "land of Hollywood" (where he is working), and there is really no way to misunderstand.

Why would America (and not Hollywood) be "a land of lies"? It doesn't make sense.

Btw I don't know what your criteria for "coblogging" are but I really haven't posted much lately. Again, if you don't want comments from me just say so and I go away.

Note to Q (and Rofe): Again, I felt (and feel) that the use of "land of lies" in the headline of the interview does not mirror what Mendes said. He didn't use the term "land of lies", not even with regard to Hollywood.
Anyway, Mendes is not a random interview pick for the cultural section of the FAZ. They have an awful history of inviting anti-American authors.

Of course he's not a "random pick": Jarhead just started in German movie theaters a few days ago. Mendes would be a very obvious pick.

You have quoted a lot of "anti-American" examples in the German press before, with many I would actually agree (yes wonders happen!)

But this is not one of them. Or, if that's an example of anti-Americanism in a German paper, then just about everything is.

Note from David: Q, can we stop this now? I mean, this can go on forever, positioning your vs my opinion. This is a blog, and as such an expression of a subjective, personal view.

Get a life!

The movie is not bad, I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

It is full of metaphors and symbols that are not easy to understand at first and the film has no climax.

It is amazing how the archetype of the desert plays out entirely different in the American and the European culture. America, which has deserts in its territory, understands the desert as a part of itself, with the fata morganas being directed from Hollywood, while Europe, which is an oasis surrounded by desert, understands the desert as something external, outside the Greenhouse of our common imagination.

But it is a more than questionable ambition from the side of the FAZ-Feuilleton to try to extrapolate the state of Hollywood or of America out of a piece of the American imagination that is meant to deal with its wounds from a certain type of warfare, not to get into an exchange with the world. In its understanding of the archetype of the desert this script is distinctively American, and an European who would bring his own archetypes to the cinema might be repelled. But does it matter whether the sand is inside or outside he jar?

David,

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I have to raise two points (that you and I may be the only people to read).

First, Mendes said the following:

"Das Land Hollywood, das ich bereist habe, steht unter Gesetzen, die es nirgendwo anders auf der Welt gibt. Geld wird fast verächtlich behandelt, es gibt eine unglaubliche Verschwendung, es gibt viele Lügen, fast alle sagen ja zu einem, und man muß lange warten um herauszufinden, was sie wirklich meinen."

So it is absolutely clear where 'Land der Lügen' comes from and it's all Mendes.

Second, Mendes is most certainly not a random selection for an interview - and no one said he was. I said he is not "some random director for this Q&A just to gin up anti-American comments". Like Querdenker correctly points out, Mendes - an Oscar-winning director - just had his latest film released in Germany. Who could be a more legitimate subject for an interview ?

While you may not agree with Querdenker or me, please be a bit more careful when making your points.

Cheers,

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