from Guy Debord

To Annie Le Brun
23 April 1991
Dear Annie:

I am always charmed by your judgments of me. A fault, on the contrary, of having understood the very simple intentions that have dominated my conduct, while others have believed to see mysteries, or even suspect me of being simultaneously a CIA and an advisor to that imbecile Gorbachev.[1] I share your indignation with the attempt of the special services of the Pompidou Center to change the history of surrealism. It is a necessity of the system, which must simply show that there no longer exist traces of what had wanted to be opposed to it one day. It will be necessary to continue.

You are right to recall that the persistence of a refusal is quite naturally the other face of the brilliance of the poetic image. The current conditions are horrible. As I have had no kind of social ambition, it has until now been easy for me -- being perfectly habituated to finding myself on the side of the losing cause -- to keep a kind of absolute distance[2] and this now becomes difficult. The things that have revolted me in the world, and straight off this wasn't a small number, I have seen them ceaselessly increase and besiege me much more closely, which I find even more annoying. And I do not merely think of political tyranny or the offenses lavished by mediatic[3] reasoning, but of the most concrete life, at the moment in which all of industry falsifies the entire environment.

But you cite a list of names that have known how to escape. As Lautreamont would say, this shows well what we are capable of. "O my friends! What thus is the absence of virtue?"

Despite the circumstances, no doubt regrettable, which had previously kept us far apart, due to attachment to nuances [of opinion] or, better, to people, but considering what has happened since then, do you not believe that we must now get together?

As you must know, Alice has been greatly moved by your Pales et Fievreux Apres-midi des Villes.[4]

Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: a reference to remarks made about Debord in the French press circa 1989.

[2] Translator's note: in a letter to Morgan Sportes dated 28 November 1988, Debord had spoken of his "obligation to hold oneself in reserve."

[3] Translator's note: there is no precise equivalent in English for mediatique, which not only refers to the media, but to the spectacle, as well.

[4] In which Annie Le Brun evokes her relationship with the Surrealist Toyen.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! February 2009. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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