Editor's note to "An Introduction to the Situationist International"

NB! #6 1984

This article was originally written for publication in the November 1984 issue of Maximum Rock 'n' Roll; it was reprinted in NOT BORED! #6 (November 1984) and again in Appendix to NB!#13, Volume I (January 1988). Shortly after the publication of "An Intro to the SI" in MRR #19, the Feederz issued two public statements concerning it. The text of both of them follow.

Bill Brown,
Congratulations! You have managed to produce one of the most insipid collections of rubbish ever written on the subject of the Situationist International.
One wonders whether you were purposely trying to ruin the S.I.'s good reputation or just a pathetic imbecile who would be only too happy to transform the S.I.'s ideas into an alternative religion, replete with Holy Gospel looked after by would-be priests -- like yourself.
One must also ask if your darling little display of "intellectual virtuosity" didn't double as a term paper for some sociology class. You proved you knew all the catchwords but understand SHIT. You also proved that there IS one thing worse than an intellectual -- a PSEUDO-intellectual. Only a student would be capable of such stupidity.
You attack us (Feederz) for turning situationist theory into ideology, into SituationISM. But -- WE ARE NOT SITUATIONISTS! We are heavily influenced by them, for good reason. We are not "Lewis Carrollists" just because we see no good reason why we can't create a situation where "everyone has won and we all must have prizes" (Alice in Wonderland), or "Bruce Leeists" because we find that to "research all experience, absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own" is a very good method for cleaning up messes. We are guilty of mistakes -- some severe -- that we have rightly been crucified for. However, being ideologues is NOT one of them.
You attacked me as a "leader" to be dumped. Funny, a leader without followers -- who doesn't even want followers -- who would be only too happy, in fine situationist tradition, to dump MYSELF if a truly "revolutionary" (for want of a better term) situation occurred. Hey, asshole, I get my right to speak FROM MYSELF.
Finally, the truth of the matter is YOU requested assistance from US. (I have enclosed a xeroxed copy of your postcard.) You received no reply for two reasons:
1) I received your post card just two days before your stated deadline, and
2) we had no idea who you were or what you were going to write about the S.I.!
There are, after all, a lot of STUDENTS in Ann Arbor where you live. And, whenever possible, we try not to associate with idiots. Is it really too much to ask to demand to know who you are dealing with?
It turned out lucky for us. Your "article" (read: tripe) was, aside from your attacks on us, merely a fine example of how to say NOTHING while boring the greatest number of readers. The only saving graces were when you allowed the S.I. to SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES (in their cartoons, etc.) So -- beware of lying 'cause the truth just might BITE YOU IN THE ASS.
[signed]Insurrection means never having to say You're sorry, Frank "nice, nice" Discussion
P.S. Try writing Guy Debord about the S.I.'s plagiarism of Lukacs and Lefebvre, I'd LOVE to see his reply.


Rather than an intro to the SI, your article comes off as what you think the SI said, what you think The Feederz are saying, and what "actions" you think need to be taken to change the "hardcore movement" from whatever it is (or was, or evermore shall be) to the "revolutionary movement" in your mind. You set yourself up as some kind of authority, and like any authority (or expert), you use all the right jargon to disguise the poverty of your understanding, your charges, and your goals.

You fail miserably as an authority and as a "hardcore" thinker, not for lack of intellectualizing about the SI (you seem to spend a great deal of time, probably too much time, absorbed in situationist thought while learning nothing), but simply for lack of substance and proof. Your "touchstones" of "Marxist-situationist" (?!) theory and practice show little understanding of what the SI was and even less understanding of "theory and practice." Your allegation that the SI was Marxist or the "reformulation" of Marxism is a claim with no basis in fact and nothing to back it up. Although the SI may have redefined "revolution," it certainly was not a redefinition of Marxism. Your definition of revolution is hackneyed and without joy. Those who find love in subversion (and subversion in love) must take care not to use situationist theses and example "inappropriately," and if they do, it's good to know that they will always be brought to task by the likes of you.

So now, as your contribution to the revolutionary struggle, you bring The Feederz to task. You say that we not only misuse situationist theses and examples (a claim supported nowhere in your article), but are ideologues because we claim that the SI was a big influence on us. We make that claim not as a pledge of allegiance, but as a statement of fact. We have nothing to hide. Your claim that we have done violence to situationist theory by turning it into "Situationism" (you don't do violence to anything but your own credibility) is bullshit with, again, nothing to back it up. It's the kind of thesis one might find in a college freshman's english term paper. Here's your argument: Since The Feederz mention an influence by the SI, therefore, The Feederz are not merely the disciples of the situationists but the priests of "Situationism." Then, you pick apart our songs and without quoting a single word, spew out the most ridiculous interpretations, using lots of situationist "buzzwords" to make yourself sound like a proper authority. But mere "refutation" doesn't satisfy you. You have to call us "spectacular" and "imbecilic" relying on the reader to fill in the missing logic.

Ideologues are, like you, the first to pass judgment on how appropriately or inappropriately someone's every thought and act plugs into theory because the ideologue is compelled to plug his pet theory into his (and thus everyone else's) own thought and action. To you, only organized "revolutionary movements" (like the Revolutionary Communist Party, perhaps?) are profound enough to be truly revolutionary. You say the "hardcore movement" could be truly revolutionary, but there are a few problems that you (as a potential leader?) don't mind going into and offering some of your [own] possible solutions. What it all has to do with the SI, I can only guess. My favorite cliche of yours is that the "hardcore movement" needs to link up with the revolutionary forces of the modern proletariat. I have my doubts as to whether any proletarian, revolutionary or otherwise, gives a shit about the "hardcore movement" that, in your fantasies, will serve as the vanguard for a struggle that you have no concept of.

If I may plagiarize a situationist term, you are a "mystifier." Your "introduction" to the SI was nothing more than heresay [sic] and misinformation. Your intent was to be an authority and your effect was to create a neutralization of your subject matter. Your document is shit. The SI can speak for itself.

Signed, MARK
FEEDERZ Office of Anti-Public Relations
33091/2 Mission, Suite 115
San Francisco, CA 94110

P.S. We're far from being leaders. We can't even get a gig in our own fucking town!

Editor's note: in the letters to the editor section of MRR # 22 (February 1985), I published my response, the text of which follows.


Dear MRR:

Before writing "An Introduction to the Situationist International," I sent a postcard to the FEEDERZ informing them that "any contributions on your part would be greatly appreciated." Frank Discussion, in his letter to me (MRR#21), claims it arrived "two days" before the deadline, meaning Oct. 13. Yet his own photocopy of the postcard, which he insisted on sending [back to] me, shows plainly that it was postmarked on Sept. 18! The only other reason Frank said the FEEDERZ had for ignoring my request was that I might've been (gasp!) A STUDENT, and thus presumably not ever capable of becoming "politically correct."

Now that this STUDENT has challenged their monopoly on the hardcore movement's access to the techniques and writings of the Situationists, the FEEDERZ are suddenly ready to talk, or rather, to bellow insults at me.

Go back and look at the liner-notes on Have You Ever Felt Like Killing Your Boss? Sure, they tell you about all the great Situationist books, but they withhold the addresses of the books' publishers. You had to go through them [the FEEDERZ] to get it and if you were (gasp!) A STUDENT, maybe you wouldn't get it at all. But don't worry, those days are gone forever, the "Intro to the S.I." saw to that. It's your turn now. Bill Brown [outdated address deleted].

P.S. It is still inconceivable to me that the Situationists would, under any circumstances, ever endorse a song as reactionary as the FEEDERZ' "Love," whose narrator says he wants to respond to a woman's unwanted amorous advances by "kicking her where she pees" and "sticking a broken Coke bottle up her cunt."

To Contact NOT BORED!: