from Guy Debord

To Gianfranco Sanguinetti
7 October 78
Dear Gianfranco,

The only error in your preceding letter, of such accurate historical consciousness, consisted in speaking of the “last” pope.[1] We will have at least one more, since this one faded away like the grass of the fields.[2] Was he a victim of the Red Brigades, who have been able to infiltrate the Roman curia as easily as everywhere else, or a victim of their friends and efficacious protectors, who must manipulate the Leftist movements and enragés of the Vatican? In any case, the Vatican has excellent dossiers, particularly rich when it comes to Italy, and it is also the only model of State in which an imbecile who is ignorant about everything can find himself, once every three or four centuries, brought to power in a few hours.

I have quite admired the histories of the fires and backfires that allow one to appreciate all that is Heraclitean in the Italy of today,[3] where it is certain that the citizens have not defended their laws as their ramparts. Everything is sinking.

Can we meet, towards the end of the month, in Geneva? I will telegram the day and time.[4] The meeting will be at the Le Rond-point café, [located at the] Plein-Palais roundabout. In case the café doesn’t work out, [let us meet] a half-hour later, at the Remor, at the corner of rue Pictet and rue Eaux-Vives. In case of delay, the next day, same place, same time.

The number of my telephone (often tapped) is (…).[5]

I received your second letter yesterday, but I still haven’t received the text that you mentioned to me about the Shakespearean conception of history,[6] which I would be very interested in reading. “What?”[7]

Best wishes,

[1] Pope John Paul I died rather suddenly, on 28 September 1978, only thirty-three days into his papacy.

[2] A reference to a line (supposedly taken from The Book of Job) that appears within a painting by Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson titled Atala au tombeau and also known as Les funérailles d’Atala (1808): “J’ai passé comme la fleur, j’ai séché comme l'herbe des champs” (I passed away like a flower, I dried up like the grass of the fields).

[3] An allusion to Sanguinetti’s account of the fire that was maliciously set nearby his home. Cf. his letter to Debord dated 24 September 1978.

[4] This was done on 24 October 1978. The date was to be 14 November 1978. On 6 November, Debord telegrammed Sanguinetti to say “Meeting with Cavalcanti [Debord] now impossible”; “Rendez-vous canceled.” No reason was given.

[5] Number deleted by the publisher.

[6] A reference to Remedy for Everything, which included a chapter entitled “On Terrorism and the State.”

[7] English in original. A reference to Stendahl, who, to mock the use of quotations, would write “What?” as an inscription and sign it “Shakespeare.”

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Volume V, January 1973-December 1978. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! 11 May 2013. All footnotes by the translator. Thanks to Gianfranco Sanguinetti.)

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