from Guy Debord

To Jean-Pierre Baudet
16 February 1988
Dear Jean-Pierre:

I am completely satisfied with all of the corrections that you have accepted;[1] I take away with me the comforting impression, as one says, that this long re-reading has finally served to distance from this excellent translation several imperfections, very marginal, but which contemporary envy would perhaps emphasize.

At the same time, I am quite in agreement on all the cases (except one) in which you show that it would be better to keep your version. For example:

i) if the original text is not clear, no doubt I am wrong to be surprised. The author has clearly alerted us (too much I believe) that almost all of his book is a hardly exhaustive sketch. It is marvelous that I have actually found the rest to be so clear.

r) yes, it would be better to delete this [foot]note.

m') my correction was a bad one, wanting to imagine that this passage was a kind of manifesto for the hegemony of dialectical logic, whereas your translation, which is more faithful, exactly renders what the author wanted to say.

On the other hand (z), I continue to find "rounded" [arrondi] extremely bizarre and incomprehensible in French as a way of designating in a single qualifier the base of a country (while one can certainly say that the King of Prussia wanted to round out his possessions by binding them together). I now understand the matter, thanks to your commentary (France or Spain answers to such a definition, but not Italy or Greece). I believe that it would be necessary to add something so that the reader can also understand.

I saw Jeff,[2] then Floriana.[3] From a conversation that she had with Sebastiani,[4] one can take away the impression that these spectacular arguments remain in place. And, moreover, that issue #12 of the EdN[5] will be mostly dedicated to refuting this derisory critique! Thus, they have responded in three ways: by pleasantry (Bartos and Maudet), by blows, and by arguments that must claim to be more solid. The co-habitation of all three is surely a sign of disarray. Moreover, [Guy] Fargette has defended them in the most modern style of mediatic[6] power: "To prove that this is an infamous calumny, it is sufficient for me to make it known integrally."

As for me, I am working on a subject[7] that is truly more depressing than Chernobyl. I hope that it will be finished before too long.


[1] Baudet's translation of Clausewitz' Vom Kriege into French.

[2] Jean-Francois Martos.

[3] Floriana Lebovici, wife of Gerard Lebovici and head of Editions Gerard Lebovici.

[4] Christian Sebastiani, former situationist and later member of the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Nuisances.

[5] The Encyclopedia of Nuisances.

[6] There is no equivalent in English of mediatique, which not only refers to the "media" but also to the spectacular.

[7] Comments on the Society of the Spectacle.

(Translated from the French by NOT BORED! October 2008.)

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