from Guy Debord

To Stéphane Rey[1]
[Mid-August 1956]

Since you speak of principles, we must tell you right away that a “free artist” would not work for the dollars of the pro-McCarthy and pro-Franco UNESCO, though this news will cause you some astonishment. No more than [the fact that] the critic for an art journal that carries advertizing for Caltex[2] as headlines has the freedom to approve of our “violent pamphlet” without losing his sinecure.

In this perspective, understand that [in what follows] we will explain perfectly the baseness of your article and the extreme poverty of its argument.

Having perhaps believed that we could nourish towards oil itself feelings of antipathy more marked than [antipathies] towards chlorophyll or Mount Kilimanjaro, you superbly rush to its aid.

“But finally, you say, everybody consumes it.” We would like to believe that you drink it.

Such an excess would explain the imprudence that you show by avowing that “the princes of today” are “the commercial enterprises, the banks, the huge industries.” Do you believe that Phare-dimanche, an “independent” weekly, pays you to speak so bluntly?

To conclude, the good care of cows preoccupies you: we are exactly in a position to make you appreciate a new aspect of this question. It is only as long as this good care lasts, along with the “princes” worthy of it, that the cows – of which you are one – are kept in uniform and delivered wherever suitable.

Mohamed Dahou and G.-E. Debord

[1] Letter reproduced in Phare-dimanche 2 September 1956.

[2] Translator: the California Texas Oil Company, a joint venture of Texaco and Standard Oil.

(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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