from Guy Debord

To Christian Sebastiani
3 June 1986
Dear Christian:

It is difficult to imagine a better-written letter than the one you sent me to remind me of your aversion to writing. I got all of its humor.

You precisely indicated the center of the question. It is not writing that is difficult, but putting oneself into it, at a particular moment; whatever the hour, week or season, the difficulty of beginning is the same. The Spanish say: "El beber es hidalgo, y el comer es villano."[1] I tend to detourn the formula by opposing reading to writing. If I had not been involved in several conflicts of this sad century, I believe that I would not have written more than a few post cards: one of the rare good sides of our times, in my opinion, has precisely been the unique return (with the telegram, of course) to laconicism.

Thus, what a pleasure to read the most recent installment of the Encyclopedia of Nuisances without having had the difficulty of writing it. I declare that "a generation passes, another succedes it, the sun also rises. . . "[2] Or, more trivially: to each his turn.

Jaime will tell you what role I see you playing, if this is still necessary, in the last actions that, this summer, must complete the discomfort of the engraver.[3] If the rock of Besanceuil has held victoriously against the miserable successor to the King of France,[4] what chance can the Barron of Engraving have to keep on in the country? It is necessary to say to him, and with a convinced and sincere air, that, if he dares to expose himself to outrages:

You have failed us. O nuisance and the worst of all! Who believed that you would dare to offend us so cruelly? One thinks that, lacking dignity, your lack of courage would at least shelter us from such a betrayal, worse than a descent of the police! Ass-face at our doors and nearly in our walls! While Europe has its eyes fixed upon the Encyclopedists of Besanceuil. . . . What shame, which can only be paid for with your blood, if the Prince of the Observatory,[5] attracted by your secret intrigues, was introduced as a lifesaver into the only secure place for the party of the truth! You owe us. Forget us while there is still time, The beasts of your species end their course to the Solutre[6] badly. Do not oblige us to make threats, you will regret it.

You see the style, on which one can endlessly embroider. But I believe that, before having heard as much as this, he will have run to the Observatory faster than his buddy, because he will not believe he will have any other friends.

Best wishes,

[1] "Drinking is of noble essence and eating of common essence."

[2] Translator's note: from Ecclesiastes 1, 4-5.

[3] Translator's note: conflictual relations with the co-owner of the chateau at Besanceuil, where Jaime Semprun lived.

[4] Francois Mitterrand, invited to come visit the chateau of Besanceuil, surrounded by his court.

[5] Allusion to a failed attack, called the attack "of the Observatory."

[6] Translator's note: A dramatic rock-cliff in Burgundy where the Paleolithic remains of horses were found.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 6: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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