from Guy Debord

To Jaime Semprun
Champot, Thursday 12 June 1986
Dear Jaime:

I have re-read [your book] The Nuclearization of the World.[1] As I thought when I first read it, it is perfect. And history has had the courtesy of allowing the apparently strange paradox that it has become even more perfect: at the moment that the Weltgeist[2] wanted to manifest itself under the modest signature "Chernobyl."[3]

For the book's urgent reprinting, I indicate to you three errors to be corrected:

p. 48 -- first line: "n'a pese de rien" [I believe that it would be more elegant to say n'a rien pese]

p. 57 -- first line: "nul ne sera plus besoin" [it would be necessary to simply say il ne sera plus besoin]

p. 76 -- fourth line: "je crains qu'une formulation trop rapide Y ait fait. . ." [it seems to me (...) that the verb "to fear" governs the negative].[4]

Can you find for me a copy of the article that appeared in Le Monde on 30 January '80, which expounds the idea that "a death is the equivalent of 6,000 lost days"?

In the competition among nuisances, petroleum -- fearing being forgotten -- defends its place by counter-attacking with the "Lake of Maracaibo."[5] Can one never "throw the anchor of a single day" on the ocean of the ages?[6] But this lake is not as Lamartinian as one loves to make us believe on the radio. It is a curious geographical expression, like "Italy." A glance at a map shows that this lake communicates with the sea and it is not very far from the famous Gulf of Mexico,[7] in which [Arthur] Cravan would now refuse to drown himself.

Best wishes,

[1] Which would be reprinted by Editions Gerard Lebovici in September 1986.

[2] Spirit of the world.

[3] Translator's note: an explosion took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine on 26 April 1986.

[4] Translator's note: the three corrections/comments we have placed between brackets [thus] were made by Debord in his letter to Semprun dated 23 June 1986.

[5] Translator's note: the largest lake in all of South America, Lake Maracaibo is the location of most of Venezuela's oil reserves. Oil drilling has severely polluted it and destroyed the local fishing industry.

[6] Translator's note: a line from "Poetic Meditations" by Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869).

[7] Translator's note: another very large and very polluted body of water, not only with oil spills but also chemical fertilizers and pesticides carried by "agricultural run-off."

(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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