from Guy Debord

To Tony Verlaan
10 July [19]70
Dear Tony:

This past Tuesday, we began to discuss the short text that I sent you (apropos of the telephone[1]). This discussion certainly isn’t finished.

The debate[2] very quickly turned to the general weakness of the French editorial committee, what its bad work-habits are, and, finally, the question of the hierarchy supported by us as soon as we tolerate the presence among us of people who are too inferior.

[René] Riesel reprised a critique – this time much harsher than before – of the intellectual insufficiency of Francois [de Beaulieu] and especially his general manner of existing, which he had previously denounced as mediocre, but which he now believed he had to describe as “pathetic.” As you know, the word is strong, especially when it is used to describe someone’s total comportment. Francois responded that he saw nothing precise in these attacks, and that he supposed that this was a matter of character. Raoul [Vaneigem] and Christian [Sébastiani] declared that it was impossible that this degree of scorn is accepted among us as a completely natural thing. It was the general opinion, and we concluded that, if things come to a certain point, we will be obliged to choose who is right.

Francois, whose style of response was a kind of mathematical demonstration of the truthfulness of Riesel’s thesis, announced his resignation.

I believe that no [true] problem was settled by this, but at least a false problem disappeared, good and fast.

I only inform you of this detail for its form, since your predictions in Venice[3] included such an event, I believe?

See you soon? I hope that Mathias has arrived. Best wishes.


[1] See the letter dated 7 July 1970.

[2] Translator: a part of the larger orientation debate in the SI was then engaged.

[3] Translator: the Ninth Conference of the SI was held in Venice, Italy, in September 1969.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "0": Septembre 1951 - Juillet 1957: Complete des "lettres retrouvees" et d l'index general des noms cites by Librairie Artheme Fayard, October 2010. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! April 2011. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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