from Guy Debord

To Pierre Besson[1]
31 October 1989
Dear Pierre:

Your approbation is also precious to me. And I find your observation of "brusque stoppages in conversation when a remark is a little too germane" to be very striking. Perhaps the people of the East will soon pleasantly surprise us, from Berlin to Peking: I mean the revolutionaries, because the Dengs of Moscow and Warsaw will not surprise anyone by wanting to continue as before.

I will summarize the chapter in question, deliberately confused.[2]

1) This society has integrated a new kind of conspiracy: not directed against it, but which, on the contrary, organizes its "good progress" (the "initiated" in business) and its defense, when necessary. One could, for example, slaughter people days in advance of the great meeting in Mexico,[3] like those who were killed in the balcony (this is a hypothesis). 2) It actually publishes false critiques of nature and with a very new intention (this is a certitude). 3) There already exists an auxiliary para-mediatic[4] service; it is at least in formation or at the trial stages. 4) When I speak of false artists, I do not mean someone like Buren, but literally some disciplined disinformers posted within the State-sponsored cultural milieu (certitude). Thus, the detective novel in France after 68 has recruited many of its authors from among former Trotskyists and has even given work to one or two renegades close to the situ milieu.[5] The former Maoists[6] have been rather well recuperated by the press and the university. I say nothing -- because everyone knows -- about the journalist-cops whose primary role is to distribute desirable information about "terrorism" (which is uniquely furnished to them by the police), and who thenceforth demand that one create university chairs for this new discipline. They themselves pontificate there. Thus, the new generation of guard dogs joins the old one.

One worrisome thing, among so many others, is that one begins to write nice things about me! And so, as one says in Spain: Hay que hablar de soga en la casa del ahorcado.[7] A dangerous game, but they all are.

Here is a book[8] that I think will interest you. Although the illiteracy of today must naturally be the completion of dispossession. I know nothing of the author, who sent it to me.

I have had no news of Elisabeth[9] since I left Arles. I do not know if she is dead or if her bridge champion has finally transformed her.

See you soon. We embrace you.

[1] Translator's note: born in 1967, Pierre Besson is a German actor.

[2] A chapter in Debord's Comments on the Society of the Spectacle.

[3] In 1968. [Translator: the "meeting" was the Olympic Games.]

[4] Translator's note: there is no equivalent in English for mediatique, which means more than "media" and suggests the spectacular.

[5] Translator's note: Raoul Vaneigem and Mustapha Khayati.

[6] Translator's note: Jean Baudrillard, for example.

[7] "One must speak of rope in the house of the hanged man" (detourned proverb).

[8] Eulogy for Illiteracy by Ricardo Paseyro. [Translator: see letter dated 31 October 1989.]

[9] Elisabeth Gruet.

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

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