from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
Wednesday 11 July 1979
Dear Gerard:

We are distressed that you have family problems (perhaps the only kind that have been missing from our collection). In such conditions, the delay cannot be avoided here or there, and it is the least of these troubles. Thus, I hope you can resolve the problem at its root and for the best; and I especially hope that you do not need the services of a brilliant lawyer in this case!

Another misfortune: August does not suit me at all. Counting on the fact -- but perhaps without you saying so? -- that you would come in July, I am engaged in an irreparable manner for the whole month of August. As I would really like to see you very soon, would it be possible for you to find a few days, any time between now and 3 August? Telephone me, I ask you, when you know. In any case, we can meet for a longer period of time starting in September.

A few words about the news and documents that you have transmitted to me. The majority of these subjects I would prefer to deal with in person and more eloquently.

Hebey[1] frightens me. I cannot tell you anything more than that. The profound author Thierry Levy will perhaps be sufficient to rout Kiejman-Gallimard.[2] But what will we do about the other, less timorous guilty parties?

After the ignoble and ridiculous letter that he sent you, Donald [Nicholson-Smith] appears worse than [Rene] Vienet -- previous to Formosa[3] -- in cynical and demented careerism. Though he would be much better off finding two books to publish every year for three or four years, by choosing among all of the stupid sorties in English over the course of the last forty years, this cunt feigns to believe that it is necessary to follow current events day by day, knowing full well that this number -- which he considers to be moderate and which I personally find speaks of an insolent and super-Gueganish optimism -- does not economically justify the Voyerist[4] costs that he himself has calculated! Certainly! This is why he asks for a bribe, by informing you that he must have $3,000 to live in New York. But why is it necessary for him to live in New York? This individual presents himself as being a translator. You have accepted his services. All heads turn towards him. He asks you to appoint him sub-prefect and I do not know what else, so that he can be paid to make other imbecilities, with the result that he no longer has the time to do our translations seriously. Attached[5] is a copy of the letter that he recently wrote me. You will notice that this weirdo is so proud of his next success in business that he takes on a protective air where I am concerned. Nevertheless, I would advise you not to respond on the main point before you finally receive the translation of kriegspiel.[6] I anticipate that this mediocre man is doing drugs again.

Renaud[7] surprises me. He cannot be ignorant of Champ Libre. This lie might have an excuse: in case that, dazzled but frightened, he wanted to gain a little time reflect. Thus one can judge his enthusiasm, or lack of it, the next time. If he has climbed the bad side of the bourgeoisie, it would be better to conclude quickly and abandon him, rather than reinforcing a future enemy by giving him the certification of Champ Libre, because he would be infinitely more dangerous than Voyer[8]: Corruptio optimi est pessima.[9]

With respect to Voyer, he now disguises himself as a black man to write his fakes. Still unhappy, he gets a foothold in the letter that was originally attributed to him in the manuscript, and he obviously knows the pertinent detail that the true authors, happy or unhappy [with what he has done], will never cite it (they did not send the manuscript directly to Champ Libre, nor did they try to get it published).

Vaneigem has betrayed his name[10] and for the Encre[11] publishing house. He will drink more, harvesting the fruits of ten years of baseness. I am convinced that he will regret Ratgeb.[12]

One starts excellent publicity for "the invisible Lebovici." The next episode will be, as you anticipated, "AND DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE MONEY GOES?"

The [Society of the] Spectacle has been published in Italy. A coincidence: Cosimini[13] has left Vallechi.

See you soon. With our best wishes,

P.S. Would you like to bring me -- or send me -- a check for 40,000 francs for this Champ Libre year? Here are resources that one can declare proudly. Avoid the remittances for registered letters when they are not indispensable: a deplorable change in the hours of postal rounds has obliged me to close my door to the new letter carrier, with the result that I must seek whatever is registered at Bellevue.

[1] Translator's note: Pierre Hebey, attorney employed by Artmedia.

[2] See letter dated 12 November 1979.

[3] Translator's note: Rene Vienet was photographed in the company of the son of Chang Kai-Chek (from Formosa) on 30 December 1978 by L'Express.

[4] Translator's note: Jean-Pierre Voyer.

[5] Translator's note: not attached in the version being translated here.

[6] Translator's note: Cabinet game invented by Guy Debord.

[7] Translator's note: a singer linked to Artmedia.

[8] Jean-Pierre Voyer, who was an assistant director on Debord's film The Society of the Spectacle.

[9] Corruption of the best is the worst.

[10] Translator's note: Though the French word employed by Debord, vendu, means "sold," we have rendered it as "betrayed" because this better suggests the two meanings in play here: revealed (betrayed the secret) and sold it (sold out his reputation as strictly non-commercial). See letter dated 19 October 1976.

[11] The Book of Pleasures. [Translator's note: The name of this book's publisher, Encre, means "ink": thus Debord's joke that Vaneigem "will drink more," that is, drink more ink.

[12] Translator's note: Pseudonym Vaneigem adopted to write From Wildcat Strike to Total Self-Management (1974).

[13] Literary director of Editions Vallechi. [Translator's note: Vallechi was the publisher of the Italian version of The Society of the Spectacle.]

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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