Matussek, Folge 69:
Mein perfektes Promi-Dinner

Rom, 12. Juni 2008, 07:25 | von Paco

Nachdem unsere Enzyklopädisierungen der Folgen 56 (»Spe salvi«) und 63 (»Anleitung zum Nein-Sagen«) ein paar Monate zurückliegen, geht es heute endlich weiter. Diesmal ist eine meiner Lieblingsfolgen dran, Folge 69. Wie immer geschieht alles in der Diktion des TV-Serien-Mekkas Enjoy!

Matusseks Kulturtipp (2006 and on)

Ep. Title: »Matussek, Walser, Goethe: Mein perfektes Promi-Dinner«
Episode Number: 69
First Aired: February 26, 2008 (Tuesday)


This episode confronts us with a proud Matussek who talks about a dinner he shared with famous German novelist Martin Walser and some other special guests in the Hamburg mansion of Walser’s publisher, Alexander Fest. The reason for Walser being in town was the audio book recording of his acclaimed new novel, »Ein liebender Mann« (»A Loving Man«). While ingesting a tasty wild boar dish the distinguished party crowd discusses the problem of elites in Germany. Towards the end, after a good share of impassioned debates, we witness a recital of a Pushkin poem in its original language which is rendered with small mistakes.


Star: Matthias Matussek (himself)

Recurring Role: Goethe (himself)

Guest Star: Martin Walser (himself), Günter Berg (himself), Alexander Fest (himself), unidentified Pushkin reciter (herself)

Compositing/Production: Jens Radü

Memorable Quotes

Matussek: »Allen, die immer noch zweifeln, dass Martin Walser Goethe ist, sei sein neuester Roman ›Ein liebender Mann‹ dringendst empfohlen.«

Walser: »Was muss man alles bedenken, wenn man vergleichen will. Schau mal, ich sag auch immer leichtfertig: Alles, was schön ist, kommt aus Italien.«

Matussek: »Es war klar in dem Moment, dass ich auf Goethe hinauswollte. Ich will immer auf Goethe hinaus, wenn die Ehre der deutschen Kulturnation auf dem Spiel steht.«

Walser: »Das ganze 19. Jahrhundert gibt es keinen gescheiten deutschen Roman. Und in England und in Frankreich explodiert der Roman.«

Matussek: »Eine neue Walser-Debatte konnte dank der Geistesgegenwart aller Beteiligten in letzter Sekunde verhindert werden.«


Running time of this episode: 5’27 mins.

Matussek wears no suspenders in this episode after the opening credits.

»Der alte Schirrmacher« (»good old Schirrmacher«) is not mentioned in this episode. The same goes for Ding and Dong (i. e., Mephisto).

Matussek opens with the sentence: »Das schönste an einem Essen unter Freunden ist doch die selige Erinnerung danach, heißt es irgendwo im Faust.« This is well said but not a quotation from any part of Goethe’s play. Matussek kind of imitates the rhythm of 18th century German prose and thus mocks the whole genre of Klassikerzitat.

The second component of Walser’s ad hoc compound »Elitescheiß« is bleeped out. The word is subsequently repeated by Matussek and also suffers a loud and clear BEEP.

The blonde lady next to Walser is reciting some lines from Russia’s finest poet, Alexander Pushkin. Being playfully concealed behind a napkin raised by Walser she goes, »Мне не снится нет огна; / Всю ночь и сон докучный.« Yet the wording is not entirely correct. This is what the original looks like: »Мне не спится нет огна; / Всюду мрак и сон докучный.« – Okay, »сниться« (›to dream‹) and »спать« (›to sleep‹, 2nd conjugation!) can be easily confused with one another. Anyway, the excerpt stems from the short (15 lines) poem »Стихи, сочиненные ночью во время бессонницы« (»Verses, composed during a night of insomnia«). The whole passage translates as »I can’t sleep, the light is out; / Chasing senseless dreams in gloom.« That’s how Mikhail Kneller puts it (original text and translation here).

Enough with the Pushkin! Just before he closes the curtain for the time being, Matussek postpones his plans for some math coursework to a later episode. For those not in the know: As 2008 was declared the »Year of Mathematics« he wants to promote this forgotten branch of science by, e. g., offering another $1.000.000 out of his own pocket for a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis in episode #66 (»Eine Million Dollar: Topp, die Wette gilt!«)


The title of this episode, »Mein perfektes Promi-Dinner,« alludes to a show broadcast by German television channel VOX since 2006. The original is a cooking show called »Das perfekte Promi Dinner« which involves different types of celebrities. Matussek’s dinner crew also consists of more or less prominent people.

Matussek vividly remembers Günter Berg’s wedding and jokes about having lost his job in the meantime (as head of the cultural department of German weekly »Der Spiegel«).

Matussek’s mentioning of a possible new »Walser-Debatte« can be considered slightly edgy. In October 1998, after being awarded the Peace Prize by the »Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels« (German Publishers & Booksellers Association), Walser held a speech where he described the use of Auschwitz as Moralkeule (killer argument) in debates. What followed where accusations of anti-Semitism and a heated, unfair, over the top discussion which lead away from the actual speech.

Walser’s comment on the dangers of comparison (see above) reproduces a popular German saying which is regarded the 11th commandment: »Thou shall not compare!« It especially refers to people who try to compare something to the Holocaust.

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Mein perfektes Promi-Dinner”

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