from Guy Debord

To Jaime Semprun
1 June 1985
Dear Jaime:

It is certain that, in March 1984, the curs euphorically thought that they could finally bark without risking a response.[1] They thought they would soon see me assassinated or at least imprisoned, and Champ Libre closed due to financial ruin or perhaps changing its politics due to threats (one had previously seen certain among them to be keen strategists for what they desired). I also believe that the Considerations[2] exactly formulated what I wanted to say. My principle intention, given the conjuncture, was to not advance anything that could one day be shown to be erroneous. Thus I completely left aside the practical center of the subject. This apparent indifference could lead one to think that it was a problem reserved for later on. It is pleasant and easy to fire upon the throwers of the paving stones of this scope, when by good fortune they have missed their targets. Gondi notes that in matters of calumny "all that does not injure serves the one who is attacked." For the rest, you have obviously remarked that all the art of this discourse resides in the opposition between what I furiously deny and what I implicitly accept in complete coldness. The most violently Swiftian example can be found on page 18.[3]

Of course, thrashed, they returned to the doghouse [niche] of silence, where they feel more at ease. Le Journal du dimanche was the first to give the signal for the end of the alert, for the sake of the guilty parties or all of those who could no doubt fear being unjustly confused with the guilty parties stricto sensu -- and, after all, what assurance did they have that I would not be deceived, me, whom they officially consider to be a kind of madman? Everyone can be quite deceived one day! Admire the reasoning of Elkabbach.[4] This was the third time that this cunt has hounded me over the years, always without receiving a response.

On the more or less "pessimistic" aspect of the second installment,[5] I will only enunciate a nuance that I subjectively experience in the judgment of the contemporary world: is the sunken ship more favorable to the captain or the mutineers? We will see. But I find that the generally pessimistic tone is necessary in the current issue of the Encyclopedia [of Nuisances] as optimism naturally underscored the preceding one. You must in any case scoff at this century as it ends. Indeed, the third volume completely surpasses questions of nuances, and it seems to me to have found a perfect balance. The preface is excellent and gives you a sufficient freedom to speak of everything. I especially admire your mastery of alphabetical order: Abadie![6] It makes one think!

These days, these valets of the spectacle begin to address several stupid reprimands to their master, when they discover what their industry becomes in Bhopal[7] and Germany, or what their English [soccer] fans become.[8]

I send to you a small sign, full of meaning, which one sees flourish here (perhaps everywhere) on literally all the corners of the sidewalks of the town or, for the moment, only in the city center. It is the sign of passage for the handicapped, a more sporting word for the infirm. But does one not sense in this obsessional abundance something that goes further? It is [the image of] the car driver, the telespectactor, the voter, the mediatic[9] citizen. Must it not end up in the white of the national flag? It would provide the occasion [for France] to proclaim itself a democratic and mediatic Republic. What advantages this would provide us, in a single bluff, in the competition with the Japanese and Americans! The French would immediately be called the Mediatics, as one refers to the Soviets and with as much profit.

If you can come here this month, I would be glad. Towards the last week of June, at its beginning rather than its end, would be very good. We will remain here until the beginning of July.

I hope that the passionate troubles that you evoked are of the kind that embellish life.

Best wishes,

P.S. I ask you to add to the comp list of the Encyclopedia: Claude Labrosse [...] Paris.

[1] Translator's note: the "curs" are the members of the French press.

[2] Translator's note: Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici (1985).

[3] "Finally, I will observe that I do not at all see what there is to reproach me for having made people listen to lascivious music." [Translator's note: page 9 in the English translation of Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici published by Tam Tam Books (2001).]

[4] "I know that you never grant interviews and that you judge the press with a severity that is not always unjustified (...) I propose to you an interview (...)." Jean-Pierre Elkabbach to Guy Debord, 27 March 1985.

[5] Of the Encyclopedia of Nuisances.

[6] Paul Abadie, the architect of Sacre-Coeur of Montmartre, symbol of the victory over the Paris Commune.

[7] On 2 December 1984, an explosion due to the leakage of 40 tons of methyl isocyanide from a large chemical factory operated by the multinational Union Carbide in Bhopal (India) killed more than 7,000 people.

[8] On 29 May 1985, English [soccer] fans (from Liverpool) crushed Italians (from Turin) against the walls of the Heysel stadium in Brussels, causing 39 deaths and 600 injuries.

[9] Translator's note: the French here is mediatique, for which there is no equivalent in English. Using genetique ("genetic") as our model, we have rendered it as "mediatic."

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: 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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