from Guy Debord

To Floriana Lebovici
1 July 1989
Dear Floriana:

I received the most unacceptable apology concerning the "Anagrama" translation.[1] We must send a registered letter from Editions [Gerard] Lebovici to this publisher, to him personally. I leave to you the legal parts and the politenesses that are suitable. But make him understand that you will truly employ all means; since I am quite resolved to suffer the consequences. I here furnish you with the central summary of the matter.

"Mr Guy Debord has informed me that you wrote to him, on 7 June, with respect to the translation of his book: without reading any further, he discovered an error in the translation of the title, an error in the translation of the dedication, and three errors on the first page. I also verified -- see page 93 in the French edition -- a false translation of Baltasar Gracian. Mr Debord is surprised to have never received a response from you personally, whereas he politely indicated to you the facts that will, finally, concern your responsibility and your reputation. On the contrary, he received a response dated 13 June from Miss Carmen Lopez, the translator. This person, caught in a flagrant act of incompetence, claimed that the citation of Gracian that she had invented was only used in an attempt to "localize" the original passage (but she forgot that she had confessed her laughable lack of culture by inventing El Cortesano as the title of the book in question). Miss Carmen Lopez claims, in addition, to erect her nullity in matters of doctrine by audaciously affirming that any possible synonym is equal to the others, according to the free caprice of the translator. Someone who thinks this way, or makes it seem that she thinks this way, is naturally unworthy of being employed by a civilized publisher. Thus, I now ask you, what conclusion do you think to give to this affair? You are engaged to publish a translation accepted by the author: if you still want to do this, you must thus find another translator, because Mr Debord refuses to a read a single line more from Miss Carmen Lopez, after having had the displeasure of reading her inept and mendacious letter of 13 June."

Perhaps you might address to the publisher a photocopy of my letter of 7 June, which perhaps he did not see?

You have seen that the Times of London has peremptorily established that I have worked for the CIA for the last thirty years.[2] As one already knew (since 1984) that I acted as a Russian agent during the same period -- not counting the East German [Secret] Services, revealed in '68, but who were only subcontracted by the Moscow firm, nor even the Chinese [Secret] Services (since my marriage,[3] but in this case it was only a simple suspicion) -- one recognizes in me a very rare list of winners. One can be surprised, all the same, that one has never mentioned the French [Secret] Services! Is poor France so scorned everywhere that one really sees it as incapable of being present at the most important encounters of the century? One says that no one is a prophet in his or her own country.

I embrace you,

[1] Translator's note: A translation of Comments on the Society of the Spectacle into Spanish. See letter dated 7 June 1989.

[2] The night before the opening of the exposition on the Situationist International in London, the Times -- basing itself on an article supposedly published in The Village Voice in New York -- reported that "Debord had been recruited by the CIA during the first years of the SI." Questioned by Greil Marcus, from The Village Voice, journalist Adrian Dannatt confessed that it was all a "joke."

[3] He married Alice Ho, a Chinese woman.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! November 2008. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

To Contact NOT BORED!