from Guy Debord

To Jean-Francois Martos
22 September 1988

Since you appeared pressed, the other evening, to have news about the manner in which I took the special summary of the thought of Anders,[1] and now that I have read it, I communicate to you all that I think about it.

Y salud!

The summary of the new translation of the German-American who in 1956 had the ambition, if memory serves, of marrying metaphysics and journalism, and whose effort was thrown back into the shadows before [capitalism's] opponents in the United States during the following years had armed themselves with it, is indeed quite suppressed. And it is certain that Anders is newsworthy, if one has him employ several terms used in the most recent comments on the spectacle.[2] (It would also be amusing to show how one could rejuvenate Kant by re-translating him with a part of Freud's vocabulary, an operation that would be facilliated by the fact that both had read Plato.) But it would not be necessary to say "summarized very freely," [in] a terminology "still not that of the original," and that a "more faithful translation" had taken place.[3] It is too much to let the cat out of the bag, and to risk removing all of the salt due to mystification. To taste all of the drollery, it would, on the contrary, be necessary to affirm that this is the most rigorous and the most honest translation. And why not? Who is interested in doing so?

22 September 1988
G. Debord

[1] Gunther Anders, Die Anti-quiertheit des Menschen (L'Obsolescence de l'homme). [Translator: this book has still not been translated into English.]

[2] Translator's note: a reference to Debord's Comments on the Society of the Spectacle. In his Expurgated Summary of Gunther Anders' book Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen, Jean-Pierre Baudet used terms from Debord's book in an effort to show the relevance of Anders. But since these terms did not appear in the original text, Debord objected, not because Baudet's decision demonstrated that Debord had plagiarized from Anders (a claim repeatedly made by Jean-Pierre Voyer since 1988), but because it was unbecoming of a professional translator. See Debord's letter to Floriana Lebovici dated 19 March 1988 and his letter to Anita Blanc dated 6 October 1988.

[3] Translator's note: these would appear to be quotations from a letter Baudet sent to Debord.

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

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