from Guy Debord

To Mr Thierry Levy
12 June 1984
Dear Sir:

Given the proximity of our first hearing[1] and the slowness of the postal service, I now send you my summary of the manner in which it will be suitable to present me.

As we quickly established during our most recent conversation, to undertake an explication of even half of the singularities of my hardly exemplary life immediately gives me the air of a barely convincing paranoia. Besides, this is certainly not the place to win any kind of approval for that life. We have only to feign complete surprise concerning these precise imputations, which are perfectly delirious. On what have these newspapers based themselves, when they decided [upon these things] with such assurance? Or who has incited them to do so?

Your client is a filmmaker more concerned with originality in this art than in commercial success. In 1967, he published a book of social critique (The Society of the Spectacle). He has always stayed away from all political and social relations and especially participation in debates held in the "mass media."[2] From 1958 to 1969, he edited the journal of the "situationist" group, which never engaged in lawsuits against offenses committed by the press. The situationist group, nothing of which your client repudiates, was dissolved in 1972. During this [recent] campaign by the press, one has pleased oneself by presenting the group as responsible for the troubles of May 1968. It is fitting to note that one can find no trace of a similar allegation in the press of the time, nor in the sixteen years that followed.

(At present, one evokes these facts and the theoretical writings, which have never been sanctioned, as if they are so many proofs of an apology for terrorism, activities in the service of foreign powers, and assassination, whereas one cannot discover a single example of any of this.)

Your client has never recognized in contemporary newspapers a great seriousness in reasoning, nor even in the information [presented]. He finds it vain to protest against so many other inexactitudes. He can, however, not let it be said that he was mixed up in the assassination of one of his friends, either directly or indirectly.

Can one not speak of a new question in jurisprudence? The fact that an artist withholds himself from publicity in the specialized milieus, which is a fact that still is held -- not for long -- as a sign of dignity: will this henceforth be held as a clandestinity that ipso facto carries the presumption of criminal aspects?

(Your client believes that the interest that Gerard Lebovici always showed in him was sufficiently justified by the quality of his intellectual and artistic works, in the eyes of a publisher and film producer who intelligence and culture no one contested, except in this one connection.)

(One can emphasize the serious troubles that such accusations -- exactly because they are not rectifiable exaggerations, but are without any real basis and are presented as obvious facts -- could cause in all professional relations, in the neighborhood, among the suppliers [of services], etc., which would be worse for one who lives in the country and a small town.)

I have placed between parentheses the points that you might find secondary. Considering the last point, it is true that I have hardly suffered. But any other person would suffer, and why -- since we plead here -- should I not be like everyone else?

I ask you to believe, dear Sir, in the expression of my best wishes.

Guy Debord

[1] Hearing of 21 June 1984, against Le Journal du dimanche.

[2] Translator's note: English in original.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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