from Guy Debord

To Marcel Marien
Wednesday, 18 July 1956
My dear Marien:

Thank you for the copy of The Story of Not Laughing.[1] It is extremely good to have brought these texts together. We could never congratulate you enough. We will patrol your bookstores.

I send you a tract by Bury concerning Shell.[2] Meanwhile, we found one on Montagne-Genevieve. All the reactions are very amusing and prove that the blow landed. One must follow our lead, as [Cardinal de] Retz says. As soon as we received your letter, [Gil J] Wolman and I sent the following lines, printed on the stationary of the New York Herald Tribune, to “Marcel-Adolf Havrenne.”[3]

Havrenne, little racist bitch, you already didn’t have a pretty face before the passage of Ibrahim Dahou. Masturbate one last time.

These kindnesses were signed in our two names[4] and on the letterhead of Potlatch – and then, at the same moment, this short telegram: “EXPECT ME – SIGNED IBRAHIM BIROUD-DAHOU.”

If a sane terror doesn’t make them renounce their project,[5] we will certainly find the occasion to knock Havrenne out at the turning point, where the turning point is found. Nothing pressing.

Van Bruaene’s invitation is very pretty.[6] As for [Noel] Arnaud, I will ask [Mohamed] Dahou, who knows him, if he would like to join in. But the people at Bizarre are clearly our common enemies.

As for the quarantining of those scruffy people, I will send [Asger] Jorn and his allies. Those who are “nuclear painters”[7] will find themselves torn up, because they are closely tied to [Theodore] Koenig-Havrenne-[André]-Blavier. Nevertheless, they will all be quite obliged to choose.

One (or several) demonstrations of this kind, if one pushes them to the end, will have the great merit of slightly shaking up the perpetual collusion among more or less advanced “artists,” their comfortable sleep, at bottom their belonging to a class that holds their oppositions within the honest limits of superficial relations, of communities of interest. This could also involve, over the long run, a certain clearly-limited grouping of “extremists”[8] that would be as favorable to the development of new ideas as the current amalgam is harmful. It is in this perspective that this sort of sanction is at once objectively useful and quite painful for the victims.

Concerning L’Humanité, at the moment when the very decisions of the Communist Party of the USSR appear to be dangerous, I do not believe that they take account of the Belgian Communist Party or of us. But no doubt [Louis] Aragon fights his last battle at the same time as does [Jeannette] Thorez-Vermeersch (whose burlesque theories on birth control[9] you know. They show a contempt for reason that even surpasses that of Nazi philosophy).

After several unfruitful attempts, I believe I am on the trail of your Hersent reproductions. But we must wait two weeks after the order.

No doubt you will have a good part of our texts for issue #9 [of Les Levres nues] at the beginning of August. The rest before September.

Very cordially to you all,
G.-E. Debord

[1] Histoire de ne pas rire, by Paul Nougé, published in June 1956 by the journal Les Levres nues.

[2] From the [Gas] Pump to “Les Levres nues” by André Balthazar and Pol Bury, which “rendered ironic commentary on the signatories to Toutes ces dames au salon!” [Toutes ces dames was a tract, signed by Les Levres nues and the Lettrist International, which denounced an exhibition of painting about the oil industry sponsored by Royal Dutch-Shell.]

[3] One of the signatories of the tract The Priests Exaggerate, linked to Balthazar and Bury.

[4] Translator: Gil J Wolman and Guy-Ernest Debord.

[5] A fake issue of Potlatch.

[6] Invitation printed on golden paper: “Sir Gerard Van Bruanene at the Flower Inn.” [This footnote repeated the phrase en papier doré after “at the Flower Inn,” but we believe this was a typo and have deleted it.]

[7] Translator: Enrico Baj, among them.

[8] Translator: this is precisely what the Situationist International, founded in 1957, would aspire to be.

[9] English in original.

(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! March 2011. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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