from Guy Debord

To Gerard Lebovici
14 December 1974
Dear Gerard:

Voyer's manuscript[1] will not incite many people to undertake theoretical critique and this is probably not his aim: I believe that the author, due to his personal formulations, has produced the appearance of the most essential theory, rather than theory properly speaking.

Nevertheless, there is an undeniable, "artistic" quality in such a profusion of stylistic collages, concerning such a subject, which revolves around an insolent reversal of the notion of advertising (in this sense, the current title is very good). Without prejudging the public's reactions, I find in this discourse a kind of bizarre and perhaps intentional humor. And, after all, here is an original spirit who critiques our world, who has produced -- along with so many other strange things -- this kind of original spirit. Thus the book is not without historical value.

If someone else expounded ideas in this manner, one would naturally demand clarifications on every page. But knowing Voyer [as I do],[2] why take on and impose on him such a clearly sterile effort? Except for three or four plays on words or trivial expressions that place small blemishes on the whole work's tone of austere and trenchant assurance, I fear that the least effort you might ask of him to improve it would only aggravate the state of the manuscript. It seems to be composed of purely fluctuating elements that are temporarily successful, with the logic of an avalanche, if one puts them end-to-end, but that risk becoming worse the next time around.

Finally, all things considered, I would advise you to publish this manuscript -- as it is -- because it would be a shame to reject something so uncommon. And also because too many banalities were published previously [by Champ Libre]. Not to mention the fact that Guegan[3] is trying to convince the Parisian press that Champ Libre publishes nothing that would antagonize the tastes of a journalist, nor surpass his or her intellect. The initial "esoteric" tone [of Champ Libre's titles] was disavowed with relief, etc. In this context, Voyer's book would perhaps not be useless to recall that we only want and, moreover, we can only impose on ourselves the duty to displease such people.

See you soon. Best wishes,

[1] Introduction to the Science of Publicity. [Translator's note: the French word here is publicite, which can mean both publicity and advertising. The book was published by Champ Libre in 1975.]

[2] Translator's note: Jean-Pierre Voyer was also the co-author of the Champ Libre title The Situationist International (1972). In 1973, he assisted in the production of Debord's film, The Society of the Spectacle.

[3] Translator's note: Gerard Guegan, who was among four employees of Champ Libre fired by Lebovici earlier in the month of December.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1973-Decembre 1978 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2005. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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