from Guy Debord

To Jean-Jacques Pauvert
8 February 1993
Dear Jean-Jacques:

I thank you for the documents, promptly received (even the Swiss military book).[1] Thus, I have done what is necessary for Panegyric and Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici. We will expect you, and your Chinese woman,[2] on the 17th.

You really know better than anyone that modern publishing and bookselling belong to the sphere of adventure. Thus, one must regard as "sea treasure" [fortune der mer] the diverse disappearances that can be produced there.[3] I am quite happy that you have rescued the collection of the journal I[nternationale] S[ituationniste].

Now I'll begin to respond to your letters from November and December, which approached so many problems of great importance and, for me, such resonance. We both feel the depth and suddenness of the changes that took place after the war. Fundamentally, I would say that it was at that precise moment that one saw "modernity" -- always tied in the preceding centuries to social emancipation and the growth of the field of truth -- reverse itself into a generalized movement of regression and falsification in all domains.

I believe that I quite understand your formulation: "Do everything, but not just anything."[4] The same era and, no doubt, slightly different individual details rapidly conducted me towards this closely related variation: "Do nothing, but not in any old way."[5] I must tell you, in my turn, about my twenty years and their price. I am sure that nothing will surprise you. I believe myself to be the most indifferent of men to all shades of social and literary preoccupations, but I understood, from the beginning of my very strange career, that I would necessarily have a host of enemies, and that I could only keep them in a desirable state of moderation if I could show myself capable of harming some of them, chosen with care, who had been so bold as to cross certain limits. I think that I have succeeded completely each time. Perhaps one will encounter a situation of this type again.

[Philippe] Sollers lets it be said everywhere, and even without making any rectification when he is present [while such remarks are made], that he is my publisher! Hallier,[6] in his Idiot of January [1993], recalls that it is you, instead, although this detail must pass as rather negligible to him, because he detests me almost as much as he hates Sollers. I suppose that you have seen the most recent bulletin, which contains new imprudences.[7] Before making any judgment, I await your conclusions.

It has never been very easy to orient oneself in the world, and even less so today. I am not quite sure that [Antoine] Gallimard exists, even though I have met him. This is a way of saying that I hardly trust appearances. One finds so many others.

At the very least, believe in my friendship.

[1] On the life of General Guisan.

[2] Anne Wiazemski, the "Maoist" woman in Jean-Luc Godard's film.

[3] The documents loaned to the Palatine bookstore. [Translator: see letter dated 8 September 1992.]

[4] Translator's note: Tout faire, mais pas n'importe quoi.

[5] Translator's note: Ne rien faire, mais pas n'importe comment.

[6] Translator's note: Jean-Edern Hallier, founding member of Tel Quel, then the newspaper, The International Idiot.

[7] On the part of Philippe Sollers, who, in the Gallimard bulletin of January 1993, made use of extracts concerning "the secret" from Comments on the Society of the Spectacle so as to promote the publication of his book, The Secret.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2009. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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