from Guy Debord

To Mr Thierry Levy
30 March 1984
Dear Sir:

Following our telephone conversation yesterday, I add several precise points.

By attacking the newspapers, I aim at an immediate effect (a change of tone, which moreover begins to take place), whereas if we lose on several points, this will be several weeks from now. I see this as the contrary of the simple "right of response," which I have never made use of, thinking indeed that the arbitrary malevolence of contemporary newspapers -- especially where I am concerned -- is much greater than that of the legal institutions.

The threshold being crossed, owing to the fact that Liberation has quite euphemistically referred to "an interrupted friendship,"[1] I do not want our attacks to be limited to the most excessive newspapers. This would be to act a little furtively, and as if with regret and embarrassment. I must declare myself, one and for all, by attacking a group of newspapers that are considered to be serious (I recommend the VSD of 15 March).

It seems absolutely necessary that Le Monde figures among this group. And this can only concern the issue dated 15 March. The passage to consider starts "Thus the fact that this energetic man . . . " up to "the book by Jacques Mesrine, The Death Instinct." I claim that, in this passage, I alone am designated as the only example, and here without any precaution -- "one is sure" -- of Gerard [Lebovici]'s latent fascination with "criminal marginality," which later blossoms into broad daylight with the publication of Mesrine's book.

With respect to "guru" and "Pope of situationism," these terms imply my authority in a group and a doctrine whose orthodoxy I would have defined. All of the publications of the SI always affirmed that situationism does not exist, that we refused all doctrines and ideologies. The group, which moreover never recognized [any] leaders, has been dissolved since 1972. This whiff of a sect thus comes a very long time after the event. And what other proof have they found of my "criminal marginality"?

I also think that, as far as Liberation for 29 March, one presents me as a systematic outlaw who obviously cannot, in any circumstance, and not even provisionally, put "any trust . . . in the legal institutions." This implies that I must be excluded from all protections afforded by current laws, since the majority of them exist despite my opinions.

Thus I leave to you the decision concerning Liberation, but I absolutely insist on attacking Le Monde.[2] You will see that, in the strategic framework in which I see this affair placed, the loss of one of these lawsuits would have no importance. In the future, one will no longer be "surprised" that I will attack journalistic calumnies, and the existence of this new "weapon of dissuasion" will surely prevent [evitera] imprudences of the pen.

I ask you to believe, dear Sir, in the expression of my best wishes.

Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: see Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici (translation published by Tam Tam Books, 2001), pp. 72-75. "One is surprised that the situationist Debord places any kind of confidence in the judicial system, even one that is temporary, dictated by circumstances and a friendship cut short" (page 73).

[2] Mr Thierry Levy preferred to spare these two daily newspapers.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: 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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