from Guy Debord

To Jonathan Horelick and Tony Verlaan
Copies to Christian, René-Donatien, René
Paris, 8 September 1970
Dear friends,

Regarding Barret,[1] I have very precisely explained to Tony how these things have become passé, and I can absolutely confirm this explanation (moreover, I have confidence in you to judge for yourselves what Barret’s strength and weaknesses are!). If I’d spoken about his stupid, pretentious and opportunist wife, it concerned the future: in case you might have a constructive discussion with Barret in America.

But in the past (and thus I believe that Riesel’s explanation does not contradict mine), the weakness for which we had principally reproached Barret – before May [1968] – was different: a truly excessive admiration (absolutely detached from any question of practice and of an almost absolutist-religious type) for the SI and an ideological “friendship” that he exaggeratedly displayed – and thus with delirious pretentions to reciprocity – for the situationists. When he positively demanded to join (in September 1968), we would have quite probably refused and for the above reasons. But what we had to positively refuse right away was the fact that, at that moment, around half of the comrades [in the French section] still hadn’t returned to Paris to discuss the matter. Soon after, very annoyed (without any respect for reality or our rules of collective conduct), he withdrew his demand. That’s everything.

As for the meeting of 7 August [1970], like Tony I think that the explanations we heard (about the beginning of the most recent Italian crisis[2]) weren’t entirely satisfactory. But I do not find that the incident of the truly comic incident of the motorcycle is the principal point that should have been alarming. The role of the girl who no longer loves one of us and who began to say here and there that she would no longer support him[3] (that is to say: in the SI!), appears to me to be a thousand times more scandalous.

I suppose that you know the letter from Gianfranco (dated 16 August [1970]) that, it seems to me, completely matches the portrait of him sketched out by Paolo,[4] and thus his disappearance [from sight]. But the rest remains to be discussed.

It seems that things are going very well with the publication of the comics by Van Gennep.[5] Viénet is in Italy to collect the money, which will return among us as the theatrical representation of historical praxis itself, to constrain us to immediately make good use of it – or disappear.

Although your “official” correspondence will henceforth pass through comrade Viénet, it seems, I will always be happy to hear from you and ready to respond (in French) when personal contact seems useful to you.

Quite cordially,

[1] Pierre Barret, ex-teacher [and] convert at the high school in Montegeron. Author of many detourned comics in May 1968. [Translator: Barret (1936-1989) was a journalist, writer and historian.]

[2] Translator: the crisis in the Italian section.

[3] Translator: I believe the conduct of Gianfranco Sanguinetti is being discussed here.

[4] Translator: Paolo Salvadori, a member of the Italian section of the Situationist International.

[5] Translator: Van Gennep was preparing to publish an anthology of every issue of Internationale Situationniste.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "4": Janvier 1969 - december 1972 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2004. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2012. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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