from Guy Debord

To Marcel Marien
1 July 1956
My dear Marien:

Yesterday, Saturday, we received the tracts[1] and envelops, and have assured their immediate dispatch.

It was precisely [Asger] Jorn who was to make our Italian architects sign it, but their signatures weren’t attached soon enough, and I think that we didn’t even have his signature, only that of Enrico Baj.

The quite restrained display of street posters, of which I have spoken to you (“intellectual” quarter of Germain-des-Prés), is in our opinion incompatible with publication under the rubric “The Pleasures of the Post Office.” It is apparent that almost all the people placed under this rubric haven’t wanted to sign the tract, even without bothering to communicate their refusal to you ([René] Char and [Tristan] Tzara, for example). And it would be too easy for them to respond that it wasn’t negligence on their part, but deliberate scorn.

Worse still, when one has solicited the signature of [Francis] Ponge (after the insulting and merited telegram that we sent him last year[2]); when one has solicited it in vain; – one doesn’t paste it up on the walls.

Besides, I don’t know if you have remarked that there weren’t less than 159 names attached to this tract. That is a lot for a passerby to read, and of these 159 names only 50 approved your text,[3] which is an unfortunate minority when one seeks to unite protestors from all horizons.

We note well the objections concerning the “Parisian life” side of the affair, and more particularly the mailing out of 50 tracts. Apart from this, the results – approbation and refusal – seem truly satisfying, and it wouldn’t be bad to publish the complete results of this kind of referendum at a very significant moment.

The result has been that we have addressed copies of the tract to about 50 people who weren’t on your [original] list, as well as to the newspapers, the French Press Agency, and more than a dozen important French petroleum companies.

We will watch for reactions in the press.

We send you the anonymous letter. This imbecile certainly isn’t among our correspondents (but of course he could be one of their friends).

Very amicably,
G.-E. Debord

[1] Toutes ces dames au salon! a tract by the Lettrist International and Les Levres nues against an exposition held 2-14 June 1956 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, on the theme “The Petroleum Industry Seen By Artists,” and organized by Royal Dutch-Shell.

[2] “Ah Ponge you write for Preuves. Scoundrel, we scorn you. Signed Lettrist International,” 27 September 1955.

[3] Translator: that is to say, out of 159 people to whom the tract was addressed, only 50 of them signed their names to it.

(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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