I’ve received your letter of the 23rd. Your response to [René] Riesel appears perfect to me. The measured tone, and the objective judgment, naturally produce an effect that is much harder than a letter full of insults.
First of all, Riesel is deceived about himself, but as he hardly manages to do so, he lies more and more about himself. He is not truly deceived about his wife, but he believes he must make it seem so. This context having been posed, but only in the context of a generalized falsification that he cannot break nor support, I want to believe that he is “deceived” about me. I haven’t re-read his letter – his letters, because the two of them drafted their two letters together – but I believe I remember that there are hardly any precise and positive lies in them. Only extreme distortions of some phrase or attitude and, along with the systematic forgetting of all the rest, delirious interpretations of three or four details (even my alleged attempt to get his whore drunk is presented, frankly and with a light heart, as a simple interpretation made by that cunt, an interpretation that is naively given as unquestionable, since that cunt had already told others what she believed – and is this not the difficulty of evoking psychoanalysis to estimate that, after all, she had perhaps wanted to believe it?).
The real depth of the crisis of Riesel the individual – it resembles that of many others – appears in this: even if he was resorting to irritated irony when he described the two rags that he sent you as “situationist documents,” one can say that the striking contrast between all the preceding situationist documents and those two [letters] provides the real measure of Riesel returned to his true autonomy!
If the commentary that he sent to you is so discreet, if he proposed nothing to you, this is, above all, because, sensing the remarkable weakness of his defense – and [the weakness of] his critique of Debord – he doesn’t doubt that you wouldn’t swallow all this without asking to hear explanations from the other side. And then. . . .
And then, what could he propose to you? If I had effectively become a counter-revolutionary for having fucked – or not fucked – his wife, it would, all the same, be necessary (the act having come to this sad end) to envision, with you and others, serious questions that could no longer be posed to his “sole forces” and to his honest radicality! You would no doubt have asked him, What about the location of the texts, completely ready, that he holds for issue #13 [of Internationale Situationniste], his brave “atomic bomb”? and What modifications in the details would now make those texts suitable for publishing? And there you would have immediately seen less pride and less precision than when it was a question of speaking of the fatal charms of his lump.
He could no doubt publish some pamphlet – or a very short pseudo-journal – and sell several thousand copies at the Cluny Kiosk. But with what significance? He would only have the readership [le public] of the professional pro-situs – from which it is important to leave. He would not even have the approval of many [of them], because that public is already a forum in which dozens of pamphlets and tracts reciprocally destroy each other. Riesel would thus appear as a simple pro-situ, and far from the strongest one.
No doubt he could publish the entirety of the documents concerning the crisis of the last two years, which he possesses, as do I (and all the others). But it is obvious that he wouldn’t know how to comment on them, and that’s what’s important.
As soon as possible, I will send you the document – outdated – that I wrote for you to read. It is especially outdated, I recall, because I wrote it in February or March for a journal that was to appear in May or June: a transitional publication. Today the critique must go much further.
I was very happy to see you this past Wednesday and, without thinking that we “transformed the world,” I would say that this type of conversation, which concerned methodology, the analysis of people and their actions, theory, and even a few jokes, is an example of a dialogue that does not bore me.Best wishes,
P.S. I have remarked that Riesel, who reproaches me for occupying myself too much with the lives of others (but I am only ever occupied with the lives of those whose actions could implicate me because we have an organizational agreement and because their diverse stupidities, alas, would be obvious to me without doing the least research), also reproaches me for being discreet with respect to my own life.
If it is a question of the manner in which I have been able, on diverse occasions, to procure for myself some personal resources, to support myself, etc., I congratulate myself, of course, for never broaching these questions – nor having them mentioned more than vaguely – with people who do not see this, and thus I do not fail to know that many of them disappear one day or another, [later] to become bad-tempered and perhaps even indiscreet enemies. That last strategic necessity is so obvious that, even in certain operations collectively undertaken by the situs as part of the precise activities of the SI, I have always estimated that it was sounder that each person know everything about what was done in his [particular] time, but not what had been done previously with others.
If it is a question, on the contrary, of the fact that I have never recounted my loves or erotic penchants to him, this simply confirms the degree to which our relations were distant, and his starchy semi-virginal aspect even discouraged anyone who broached discussions of this type with him on the simple level of theoretical knowledge.
 Translator: issue #13 of Internationale Situationniste.
(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "4": Janvier 1969 - december 1972 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2004. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2012.)