Guy DeBord suicide

Steve Wright sj at deakin.edu.au
Mon Apr 3 02:17:39 MDT 1995


Take two...

Sorry about the mangled layout, Bill, but I'm having to do some pretty
weird cutting and pasting since my direct email program went
haywire.

If you think it's interesting, maybe you could post it back to the
marxism list.

All the best, Steve Wright

OBITUARY: GUY DEBORD
FREEDOM INTERNATIONAL SECTION
84B, WHITECHAPEL HIGH ST. LONDON E1

THE AUTHOR OF SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE HAS KILLED HIMSELF

 Last Curtain Call for Guy Debord

 We don't know how he died and still less why. We only know that Guy
Debord, around evening time on Wednesday 30th November, took his life;
the life that in the
 last few years he himself - perhaps the last of the Situationists still
partly faithful to his own image of the resolute enemy of the society of
the spectacle
- helped to make more mysterious, more evanescent more elsewhere.
Paradoxically one could say that in reality death has brought him back to
life, in the sense t
hat it has re-established the human reality (death being our common
destiny) of a character whose notoriety and uncompromising stance of
refusal would make of e
xistence a long theatrical piece, in which he would improvise up until
the end. But who was Guy Debord? There are several answers, but at the
same time such ans
wers would preclude the understanding of his identity as indefinable.
Writer? Film director? Situationalist? 'Doctor in nothing...' as he liked
to define himsel
f in one of his latest books? Of course all those things, but simply
because they are 'things' - which comes down to things he did - they
certainly do not reveal the whole man. It isn't for nothing that the
numerous French dailie
s which reported the news of his suicide, not only didn't say how or why
he died, neither did they say anything about him, limiting themselves to
an inventory o
f the things he did, the things he said, how he did them, how he said
them but forgetting to say who, Guy Debord, was. In reality it was the
self-imposed mystery which created the impenetrable and adventurist aura,
barely availabl
e to the media and prone to violent argument; Guy Debord liked to hide
his true self behind a blanket of gossip, speculation and even spite in
his dealings with
 others, and to never let it see daylight. For the rest, for someone who
wrote a book: The Society of the Spectacle, where the world is seen as a
spectacle - wh
ich is to say a false image which the economic system produces of itself
in order to dominate society - visibility was to be totally denied. Thus
the rare photo
s which he consciously planned so that they should be published in his
lifetime - were the most hazy in the world and to a fair degree made him
look younger than his real age. Certainly, invisibility was imperative!

 It was not by chance that his first public work was a film Hurlement en
faveur de Sade (1952), in which there is no picture and the spectator -
truly stupefied
 by this purely surrealist provocation - watched an alternated sequence
of white and then black screens, whilst listening to a mixture of atonal
dialogues invol
ving numerous people leading up to a silent, black screen for 24 minutes.
This was the first gauntlet against the spectacle thrown down by Guy
Debord who fought
 this battle throughout his life; a death sentence for the cinema, at the
time considered as the essence of the artistic product of bourgeois
society and for th
at reason the extreme synthesis of its values in full decomposition,
since it expressed not the construction of a situation which aimed to
shed light on everyda
y life but rather a system of falsification of reality in order to
suppress it and supplant it by means of a series of images aimed at
cutting the individual off from his daily existence and making of him an
illusory participan
t in the spectacle of consumer society in his role as good/product of the
spectacle.

The setting up in 1957 of the Situationist International was partly the
logical consequence of these artistic presuppositions. Coming out of the
European cultural milieu as the convergence of several artistic
experiences (COBRA, the
 Lettrist International, the Movement for Bauhaus Cinema, the London
Psychogeographical Society) the SI from day one aimed to represent -
above all via Debord w
ho was the editor of its statement of principles - a critique of art
brought into being by the necessity of superseding it by creating
liberated situations in w
hich life can effectively experience its own possibilities and not become
enclosed in the repetitive role models that the society of the spectacle
constructs in
 order to dominate and exploit. But already in those early years the
different heads of the SI quarrelled amongst themselves and Debord - who
alone amongst them represented the most coherent position with his
objective of achievi
ng a total critique of art and a whole culture skewered towards the
production of values separated from everyday life (and for that reason
incapable of achievin
g its own radical transformation) - came out better from confrontations
with those who presupposed the replacement of art as simply a repeat  of
the architectur
al and urban argument which aimed to make works of art no longer on
canvas but in the physical space of a city.

But the first years of the 60s saw a U turn in the politics of the SI,
and coincided with Debord's political phase, which saw an achievement of
sorts in making of the organisation - now nearly purged of any artistic
content - the r
allying point between the experience of the European cultural avant guard
and the experience of politico- revolutionary groupings, in France
represented by some
 journals (Arguments and Socialisme et Barbarie) of a revisionary Marxist
leaning. These were the years when Debord participated in the seminars of
Lefebvre at Nanterre and during which he developed his critique of daily
life which ha
d already been expounded by this philosopher and sociologist from
Nanterre in the late 50s. The critique of everyday life - the baby sister
of theories of alien
ation/separation produced by the spectacular society, became the
theoretical underpinnings of the SI and the theme of his most famous
book, already mentioned, i
n which the theoretical and organisational experience  of the workers
council ... represented the political and revolutionary dnouement of the
situationist theo
ry. The Strasbourg scandal and Paris 68 showed not so much that Debord
and the SI were gaining influence (as has always been claimed by the
historical hagiograp
her of the movement), but rather the fortuitous meeting - and in many
ways prospicious - between the combative and revolutionary practice of
the movement of 68
and the necessity to find an outlet for situationist theory. If there had
been no May 68 in France, would the SI have become what it seemed to be
after the event (that is the high point of modern revolution)? And would
the work of Deb
ord have come to seem clairvoyant and prophetic, as was claimed by
numerous commentators who proclaim his books on the social spectacle to
be the only texts abl
e to give a sense - sorry: a vision - to what happened in the East as
well as the West? All these considerations lead back to the unanswered
question of who Guy
 Debord was; a man who, at the age of 62, decided to put an end to his
life and to foreclose his real life story asking forgiveness for his own
mistakes. But th
e truth of his story will still have to be reconstructed by reference to
his work which he has left to posterity with the intention of becoming
the first invisible personality of the society of the spectacle. Will we
ever know the tr
uth?

GIANFRANCO MARELLI FAI Milan Translated from Le Monde Libertaire 21 Dec. 94


>From uburoi at panix.com
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 12:42:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alex Trotter <uburoi at panix.com>
Subject: Debord suicide


Bill, here is some info about Debord, taken from the avant-garde list.
I'm surprised that you didn't hear about this as soon as it happened.

--AT

>From jfr10 at columbia.edu Sat Dec  3 12:00:52 1994
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 1994 12:01:26 -0500 (EST)
From: fido <jfr10 at columbia.edu>
To: Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>, Alex Trotter <uburoi at panix.com>,
        Tad Kepley <tkepley at bigcat.missouri.edu>
Subject: cnet clip, Essayist Debord Kills Himself (fwd)

Here's the obit from AP.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 1994 11:59:14 -0500
From: jfr10 at columbia.edu
To: jfr10 at columbia.edu
Subject: cnet clip, Essayist Debord Kills Himself

This section is from the document '/clari/world/europe/france/5397'.

Approved: jill at clarinet.com
From: C-ap at clarinet.com (AP)
Newsgroups: clari.world.europe.france,clari.living.books
Distribution: clari.apo
Subject: Essayist Debord Kills Himself
Copyright: 1994 by The Associated Press, R
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 94 9:30:33 PST

	PARIS (AP) -- Guy Debord, an avant-garde essayist who influenced
the upheavals of French society in the late 1960s, has committed
suicide. He was 62.
	Town officials in the village of Champot where Debord lived
announced an investigation Thursday into the suicide. No details
about how Debord took his life Wednesday were disclosed.
	Little-known outside France, Debord denounced what he called
``the show-biz society'' and declared that performing arts should
be based on powerful emotions, passions and sexual desire.
	His ideas were influential among theoreticians and essayists who
achieved prominence in the May 1968 student-led cultural revolt
that shook French society.


>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sat Dec  3 21:40:07 1994
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 1994 21:29:21 -0500 (EST)
From: "Edward A. Shanken" <giftwrap at acpub.duke.edu>
Subject: Re: the death of Debord - suicide or murder?
To: cybermind at world.std.com
Cc: avant-garde at world.std.com, fiction-of-philosophy at world.std.com,
        film-theory at world.std.com,
        Derrida and Deconstruction <derrida at CFRVM.BITNET>,
        cybercom at acpub.duke.edu


GUY DEBORD DID NOT KILL HIMSELF.  HE WAS MURDERED!!!

Sure, he pulled the trigger (or whatever he did) but he was murdered by
the thoughtlessness and selfishness of so-called scholars (primarily
trendy lit-critters) who colonized his brilliant ideas and transformed his
radical politics into an academic status symbol not worth the pulp it's
printed on.  In the 60's Debord and the Situationists mounted an attack on
the French academy at Strasbourg, vilifying, among other things, the
critical theory (such as Barthes and Foucault) that students were being
force-fed at the time.  Now Debord is bandied about in that very same
company that he despised by a highly conservative group of mis-directed
and erroneously self-proclaimed liberals in the contemporary academy.

No, Debord didn't kill himself.  He was tortured and suffered a slow death
over the last few decades by a bunch of idiots who didn't have the sense
they were born with.

The AP article perpetuates that myth and more.  See comment inserts below.


> This section is from the document '/clari/world/europe/france/5397'. > >
PARIS (AP) -- Guy Debord, an avant-garde essayist who influenced > the
upheavals of French society in the late 1960s, has committed > suicide.
MURDER!!!  He was 62. > Town officials in the village of Champot where
Debord lived > announced an investigation Thursday into the suicide. No
details > about how Debord took his life Wednesday were disclosed. >
Little-known outside France, NOT TRUE!!!  FOR BETTER OR WORSE, HE IS
INTERNATIONALLY REKNOWN IN ANY LIT OR ART HISTORY PROGRAM WORTH A DAMN
(OR WORTH DAMNING, DAMMING, ETC.) Debord denounced what he called >
``the show-biz society'' NOW HE'S BEEN TRANFSORMED INTO A STAR OF THE LIT
CRIT SPECTACLE and declared that performing arts AND LIFE ITSELF!!! should
> be based on powerful emotions, passions and sexual desire. AS OPPOSED TO
THE COLD, DISTANCED REMOVE OF DECONSTRUCTIONISM, AKA THE SPECTER/SPHINCTER
OF DERRIDA> His ideas were influential among theoreticians and essayists
who > achieved prominence in the May 1968 student-led cultural revolt >
that shook French society. HIS IDEAS WERE MOST INFLUENTIAL AMONGST THE
STUDENTS WHO REVOLTED AND IN THE FORMATION OF A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS!!!  THE
PROMINENT ASSHOLES WHO TOOK HIS IDEAS AND CUT OFF THEIR BALLS ARE
MURDERERS.  THE BLOOD IS ON THEIR HANDS!!! > >

Eddie Shanken

>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sat Dec  3 22:40:34 1994
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 1994 21:46:53 -0500 (EST)
From: Calum Selkirk <cselkirk at freenet.columbus.oh.us>
Subject: Re: the death of Debord - suicide or murder?
To: fiction-of-philosophy at world.std.com
Cc: cybermind at world.std.com, avant-garde at world.std.com,
        fiction-of-philosophy at world.std.com, film-theory at world.std.com,
        Derrida and Deconstruction <derrida at CFRVM.BITNET>,
        cybercom at acpub.duke.edu

On Sat, 3 Dec 1994, Edward A. Shanken wrote:

>
> GUY DEBORD DID NOT KILL HIMSELF.  HE WAS MURDERED!!!
>
> Sure, he pulled the trigger (or whatever he did) but he was murdered by
> the thoughtlessness and selfishness of so-called scholars (primarily
> trendy lit-critters) who colonized his brilliant ideas and transformed his
> radical politics into an academic status symbol not worth the pulp it's
> printed on.  In the 60's Debord and the Situationists mounted an attack on
> the French academy at Strasbourg, vilifying, among other things, the
> critical theory (such as Barthes and Foucault) that students were being
> force-fed at the time.  Now Debord is bandied about in that very same
> company that he despised by a highly conservative group of mis-directed
> and erroneously self-proclaimed liberals in the contemporary academy.
>
> No, Debord didn't kill himself.  He was tortured and suffered a slow death
> over the last few decades by a bunch of idiots who didn't have the sense
> they were born with.
>

.....poor debord....kinda funny..... it's really not that ironic that he
should die a spectacle..... do you think that publishers like Verso could
publish SOtheS without his permission? ..... or that he was so drunk that
he could'nt figure the implications of such......
.....it could be said that debord lent himself to comodification and
to the visibility that being an avant-leader of minions brings.....
thats not to say that i think he should'nt have been published or that
he fell into the arms of the spectacle but the content of
SOtheS can't be seen in isolation.....to do so would be to give undue
regard to ideas......
now don't be standing up claiming responciblity for any riots ok.....

calum



>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sat Dec  3 23:55:56 1994
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 94 23:50:39 -0500
From: rapotter at COLBY.EDU (Russell A. Potter)
To: avant-garde at world.std.com, bataille at world.std.com,
        deleuze-guattari at world.std.com
Subject: Re: Re: the death of Debord - suicide or murder? (fwd)
Cc: rapotter at host0.COLBY.EDU


Hmm.  If Guy Debord killed himself over the misinterpreation inflicted
upon his writings by people who wanted to turn them into the sort of
academic drivel he detested, he must have thought more of their
drivel than it seems he (or the note poster) supposedly *did*.

It has always seemed ironic that the SI and Debord were so readily
eaten by the very mouths they ought to have poisoned, but that's
how it goes ...


=========================================================================
"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies"
                                                    --Friedrich Nietzsche
=======Russell A. Potter========<rapotter at colby.edu>=====================

>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sun Dec  4 00:55:37 1994
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 00:28:42 -0500 (EST)
From: aka bookish <swilbur at bgsuvax.bgsu.edu>
Subject: Re: the death of Debord - suicide or murder?
To: avant-garde at world.std.com
Cc: bataille at world.std.com, cybermind at world.std.com

Poor St. Guy. It was the pro-situs that got him in the end...

Isn't this sort of hagiographic nonsense - which recapitulates the worst
aspects of Debord's own writing - the very saddest memorial that one could
erect for a writer as inspiring and, dare i say it, important as Guy Debord?
Where is the critical eye for all of the ways in which Debord and the
French SI allowed themselves to be recuperated, set themselves up as
specialists of revolution, failed to follow up on the programs set out in
their early work, dissolved into squabble, exerting more force on
potential allies than on the state (or state of affairs) that they
despised?

I see some echo of Debord's violence, his excess, but isn't it just
reduced here to attitude, to style? It is, in its way, a passable pastiche
of the late Debord - a tempting form, and one which i have no doubt
flirted dangerously with in my own writings. But wouldn't a more radical
detournment of the obit have been more satisfying? more of Debord's humor,
his joy in life, even his drunkenness, and less of his paranoia...

We can only hope that he has left several more volumes of his memoirs -
further revenge on those who would try to domesticate our not so saintly
Guy...

-shawn <swilbur at bgsuvax.bgsu.edu>

On Sat, 3 Dec 1994, Edward A. Shanken wrote:

>
> GUY DEBORD DID NOT KILL HIMSELF.  HE WAS MURDERED!!!
>
> Sure, he pulled the trigger (or whatever he did) but he was murdered by
> the thoughtlessness and selfishness of so-called scholars (primarily
> trendy lit-critters) who colonized his brilliant ideas and transformed his
> radical politics into an academic status symbol not worth the pulp it's
> printed on.  In the 60's Debord and the Situationists mounted an attack on
> the French academy at Strasbourg, vilifying, among other things, the
> critical theory (such as Barthes and Foucault) that students were being
> force-fed at the time.  Now Debord is bandied about in that very same
> company that he despised by a highly conservative group of mis-directed
> and erroneously self-proclaimed liberals in the contemporary academy.
>
> No, Debord didn't kill himself.  He was tortured and suffered a slow death
> over the last few decades by a bunch of idiots who didn't have the sense
> they were born with.
>
> The AP article perpetuates that myth and more.  See comment inserts below.
>
>
> > This section is from the document '/clari/world/europe/france/5397'. > >
> PARIS (AP) -- Guy Debord, an avant-garde essayist who influenced > the
> upheavals of French society in the late 1960s, has committed > suicide.
> MURDER!!!  He was 62. > Town officials in the village of Champot where
> Debord lived > announced an investigation Thursday into the suicide. No
> details > about how Debord took his life Wednesday were disclosed. >
> Little-known outside France, NOT TRUE!!!  FOR BETTER OR WORSE, HE IS
> INTERNATIONALLY REKNOWN IN ANY LIT OR ART HISTORY PROGRAM WORTH A DAMN
> (OR WORTH DAMNING, DAMMING, ETC.) Debord denounced what he called >
> ``the show-biz society'' NOW HE'S BEEN TRANFSORMED INTO A STAR OF THE LIT
> CRIT SPECTACLE and declared that performing arts AND LIFE ITSELF!!! should
> > be based on powerful emotions, passions and sexual desire. AS OPPOSED TO
> THE COLD, DISTANCED REMOVE OF DECONSTRUCTIONISM, AKA THE SPECTER/SPHINCTER
> OF DERRIDA> His ideas were influential among theoreticians and essayists
> who > achieved prominence in the May 1968 student-led cultural revolt >
> that shook French society. HIS IDEAS WERE MOST INFLUENTIAL AMONGST THE
> STUDENTS WHO REVOLTED AND IN THE FORMATION OF A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS!!!  THE
> PROMINENT ASSHOLES WHO TOOK HIS IDEAS AND CUT OFF THEIR BALLS ARE
> MURDERERS.  THE BLOOD IS ON THEIR HANDS!!! > >
>
> Eddie Shanken




>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sun Dec  4 06:24:56 1994
To: avant-garde at world.std.com
Subject: DEBORD'S DEATH
From: alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk (ALASTAIR DICKSON)
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 94 10:56:00 +0100


On Sat, 3 Dec 1994, Edward A. Shanken wrote:
ES> GUY DEBORD DID NOT KILL HIMSELF.  HE WAS MURDERED!!!

Oh no, please no return to "Jim Morrison/Ian Curtis/Kurt Cobain Died For
You"!

On Sat, 3 Dec 1994 Calum Selkirk <cselkirk at freenet.columbus.oh.us> wrote
CS>do you think that publishers like Verso would
CS>publish SOtheS without his permission?

The news of the suicide prompts some speculation.  Two years ago, GD
stopped his books being published by Champ Libre / Gerard Lebovici (which
was one step from self-publishing) and sold them to Gallimard. Similarly,
the English versions had been solidified into respectable editions from
MIT/Zone and Verso (despite his blowing hot and cold over allowing them to
publish). Less a sell-out than securing their future?

CS>.....it could be said that debord lent himself to comodification and
CS>to the visibility that being an avant-leader of minions brings.....

So much of Debord's post-SI activity was concerned with fixing the
snapshot of his past: from his glosses on "Society of the Spectacle"
through "In Girum" to the "Panegyric".  Especially interesting in this
respect is his 1985 "Considerations sur l'Assassinat de Gerard Lebovici",
e.g. in his justification of his legal actions to sue the press for libel.

__________________________________________________________________
-- Alastair Dickson             I  <alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk>
-- Stirling, Scotland           I
________________________________I_________________________________
---
 * Orator V1.14 #31 *

>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sun Dec  4 06:24:58 1994
To: avant-garde at world.std.com
Subject: DEBORD
From: alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk (ALASTAIR DICKSON)
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 94 10:30:00 +0100


Timely or untimely, here's a copy of the review of Debord's Panegyric from
Here & Now 12.  In context, this review was mirrored with one using
exactly the same words for "Time To Declare" by Dr. David Owen, founder
and then splitter of the 1980s Social Democratic Party (a conjunction
which irritated some people):

"At the time, the new-found unity was presented as an inauguration of the
radically-new. The new politics would build on the founders' past
experiences but would also utilise ideas from outside traditional politics
- but ideas in everyone's heads. This unity was both inclusive and
exclusive: inclusive in the belief that everyone discuss, be involved in
what afected them most, and act decisively together; exclusive in the
projection of a single organisational line.

Collegial beginnings hid personal conflicts among the leadership,
conflicts which were to lay waste to the entire enterprise. The
relationships of inclusion-exclusion,the weapons of criticism and the
criticism ofweapons propelled one figure towards the centre, a man
convinced of his own destiny. His growing confidence and sense of vision
brought an ever-more-apparent intransigence, which would ultimately seek
to preserve the organisation by smashing it.

And after the fall, there remained only a small coterie of supporters,
convinced thatthe fit with the historical moment had vindicated that one
man's vision. What remains? Only to document the moments which had been."
__________________________________________________________________
-- Alastair Dickson             I  <alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk>
-- Stirling, Scotland           I
________________________________I_________________________________
---
 * Orator V1.14 #31 *

>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sun Dec  4 13:56:32 1994
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 13:43:11 -0500 (EST)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
To: avant-garde at world.std.com, cybermind at world.std.com
Subject: Re: the death of Debord - suicide or murder? (fwd)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 1994 01:04:33 -0500
From: John Young <jya at pipeline.com>
To: fiction-of-philosophy at world.std.com
Subject: Re: the death of Debord - suicide or murder?

   Guy Debord, if I'm not mistaken, did some work for The
   Mossad which fostered his infamous celebrity as a cover.

   I learned this from Philip Roth who spends time now and
   then here on the Upper West Side and we talk about literary
   matters -- he knows that I'm a groupie of his art and I
   affectionately encourage his passion for architecture.  We
   wander in our talks about our different but related
   professions and the weird situations we get involved in,
   especially involving strange wealthy people who want to do
   something important in the world with their money.

   Philip first told me about Guy's Mossad link when he was
   working on his own book on that role for himself.  He said
   candidly that Guy was the model for himself in the writer's
   spy role, spying on himself and having himself double
   himself, as single double-crossing over to another self.

   You recall that Philip wrote in his book of threats on him
   for telling his Mossad fictional role, or real role
   fictionally, or at least not telling as it really was The
   Mossad said.

   Guy, Philip said, told Philip that The Mossad promoted
   Guy's public career including the various controversies and
   disputes as a carefully written script which Guy was given
   to study, even to modify within certain limitations as the
   need arose.  The interactive high intellectual nature and
   worldly stakes of the script came to engage Guy like no
   academic intellectual study had ever done.

   The very intelligent intelligence agents who handled Debord
   were well beyond Guy's level so he said, he was a student
   to these wise hard men and women who met with him regularly
   for over twenty-two years.  He told Philip that he had
   never met such down-to-earth intellects and very strong
   minds in any of the French haute-ecole system.  He envied
   the unrelieving attention they gave to every worldly matter
   from the most minute to the grandest.

   The philosophical grounding of these long-drawn sessions
   came to haunt Guy, he said to Philip, for he came to
   believe that what was happening to him was not new, not
   unique, but was part of a long-term, wide-spread
   relationship between people of the mind and world power.

   This dazzling and humbling association with real world
   power beyond the soft minded literary and philosophical
   worlds totally mesmerized Debord, Guy told Philip, and
   turned into a believer of a faith almost beyond
   explanation.  The elixirate mix of sacred and profane
   literally made Guy drunk with intellectual stimulation and
   shared worldly risk, made him feel totally grounded and
   elevated stratospherically.

   Guy told Philip that the intrigue and daring bond of high
   mind and base reality was an alchemic transformation of
   mental to physical like no head-wrought book could come
   near.  No thought was too ephermeral, no fact was too real,
   the doubling over of spirit and rock, the switching back
   and forth, the evidence of ideas made into hard deeds,
   lives saved and destroyed in trans-categorical intra-
   warfare drove him almost insane with passion for knowing
   and feeling and doing everything he once only dreamed.

   Philip said Guy recently told him that he thought he was
   losing his mind in the fray, that he may no longer keep up
   with the endlessly exhausting demands on his role.  Guy
   said that his stamina was waning for the doubling, cross-
   doubling and re-doubling of understanding,
   misunderstanding, creative misunderstanding, the
   treacherous attempt to keep track of the ficitonal and the
   real and the really fictional and the fictonal really real,
   the almost stupefying shifting, intra-active-shifting, of
   hard bed reality and its imaginative gloss for special
   effects, acting, reacting, overreacting, and the spiral of
   deceit and confession and confessional misrepresentations.

   Philip has deftly covered all this in his book and the
   dizzying effect it had on his fictional real self.

   I've not seen Philip for over a week but he will probably
   call when poor Guy has been finally put to a well-
   earned rest.  Suicide or murder, I suspect that in Guy's
   case they are the same, that he murdered himself to finally
   absolutely, precisely, wed mind and matter in total success
   of conflating self and other.  Rest in peace Debord.

   We all know that this is the grand modern French condition
   of anal retentive finest of minds.  I admire French
   intellectuals immensely for their ability to fictionalize
   reality in their own high-risk lifestyles and pay the
   hautest of prices for the privilege.


>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Sun Dec  4 18:54:32 1994
To: avant-garde at world.std.com
Subject: Re: Debord & MOSSAD?
From: alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk (ALASTAIR DICKSON)
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 94 23:35:00 +0100


Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> forwarded a message from John Young
<jya at pipeline.com> suggesting that:

>   Guy Debord, if I'm not mistaken, did some work for The
>   Mossad which fostered his infamous celebrity as a cover.

There's a long and hoary past of suggested Sit.-intelligence links. For
example, Lyndon LaRoche's "New Solidarity" in 1974 pushed a CIA smear.
This re-emerged in the "Times" review of the London leg of the
Paris-London-Boston Sit.Int. show at the end of the 80s - and even
provoked Michelle Bernstein out of silence in response.  (By contrast,
I've heard that part of the delay in publication of the MIT/Zone edition
of "Society of the Spectacle" was that Debord regarded _them_ as having
CIA links.)

Unfortunately, that kind of smear has been par for the course in
inter-group rivalries. The blend of the Sits. "specialists in revolt"
self-presentation and subsequent near-complete silence may even encourage
it.  But does the hypothesis explain anything? Does Mossad-work explain
anything in Debord's conduct / activity?  Did he have any skills likely to
fit with Mossad's needs?  (OK, intelligence services have had a propensity
to recruiting hardened drinkers - from Cambridge on - but really...) Just
about the only fit I can think of is that both aspire(d) to be
master-strategists playing The Great Game.  But that, I think, is less an
indication of active affinity than of the fault-line in Situationism (a
deliberate -ism here!) itself.

>   You recall that Philip wrote in his book of threats on him
>   for telling his Mossad fictional role, or real role
>   fictionally, or at least not telling as it really was The
>   Mossad said.

If Roth himself did play such a role, there seems to be an excess of
models here...

>   Guy, Philip said, told Philip that The Mossad promoted
>   Guy's public career including the various controversies and
>   disputes as a carefully written script which Guy was given
>   to study

The period covered by the 22 years isn't specified:

50-92? which would show a nurturing of precocious talent in Lettrist
film-making, turning to politics, and including breaks with people for
active involvement in the Palestinian cause (hardly what an agent would do)

72-94? in which case Mossad got a terrible deal in terms of GD's rejection
of any public career.

It would indeed be interesting if Roth comes forward with something to say
on all this, especially if it was more concrete tan the coy interviews he
did to promote his book.  But in the absence of that, I think it's most
helpful to evaluate the achievements and limitations of Debord's visible
activity without recourse to conspiratorialism.


__________________________________________________________________
-- Alastair Dickson             I  <alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk>
-- Stirling, Scotland           I
________________________________I_________________________________
---
 * Orator V1.14 #31 *

>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Mon Dec  5 03:40:17 1994
To: avant-garde at world.std.com
Subject: DEBORD OBIT.
From: alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk (ALASTAIR DICKSON)
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 07:50:00 +0100


The conclusion to Malcolm Imrie's obit.in this morning's Guardian:

"Debord has left us withtheworld which hedescribed better than anyone I
know.  A ubiquitous despicable social order, and the distractions of pulp
fiction, cyber-stupidities and national lotteries. Debord saw them coming,
the Berlusconis and the Blairs. I hope all those,like me, who were helped
and inspired by his extraordinary writing will live long enough to see
them go."

__________________________________________________________________
-- Alastair Dickson             I  <alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk>
-- Stirling, Scotland           I
________________________________I_________________________________
---
 * Orator V1.14 #31 *

>From avant-garde-approval at world.std.com Tue Dec  6 04:25:12 1994
To: avant-garde at world.std.com
Subject: Re: Debord & MOSSAD?
From: alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk (ALASTAIR DICKSON)


Forwarded message from John Young <jya at pipeline.com>:

-----

Responding to msg by alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk (ALASTAIR
DICKSON) on Mon, 05 Dec  6:32 PM

My Dear Mr. Dickson,

Thank you for the forward of your comments on Debord's
speculative Mossadian-scripted self-murder.

I certainly did not intend to "smear" Debord and regret that my
message was so inept and inapt that it might be used or abused
or interpreted or misinterpreted that way.  I apologize
Apollonianly to other admirers and emulators of M. Debord like
myself before he became corporeally, for me at least,
inaccessibly remote (I am an atheist).  I shall miss his
earthly companionship very much.

Smearing or slurring or chuck-spearing by ass-kissingering any
of the world's pernicious "intelligence" agencies is odious as
well as a well-crafted counter-intelligence contra-device oft
tattooed by these aquaria of shark-chompers and their dolphinal
professorian celebrity-faux-hautest-cerebity apeish imps.

My own suspicion is that Guy Debord was fooled about The Mossad
by imposters who enjoyed deceiving him.  This is based on my
intimate knowledge of how Philip Roth thinks so highly of
himself, and tries to hide it helplessly, that he is easily
tricked by people of lesser intelligence.  Philip and I have
discussed his and this fault in people of finest mind who find
it inconceivable that they are not on top of things and who
thereby get beat everytime by crafty single-minded gangsters.
Philip, you will recall, uses such characters to cheat the
over-smart innocents.

Philip soberly admits that he frequently gets so drunk on
multifarous fictional possibilities that he cannot stick to the
main story he's trying to write.  He has his down-to-earth
keeper Claire lock him out of his studio until he crashes from
his strongest addictive drug, himself as superior mind free
from base low-born declasse material gentile-reality.

It is possible that Debord suffered from this
adrenalin-limitless mental supremacy as well and may have
thought that he could outsmart his own Self-Murder, or be
reborn anew, like so many mistaken, or maybe correct, suicidal
narcissists do, so I read, as they slip the plastic bag over
head, grasp St John or St Joan amourly and kick the chair away,
thrashing about to eternally blissful superiority.  Did not M.
Camus once espouse something like this before his own S-M?

For me, I prefer a slightly open mind on this all too
Francophile melodramatic theory.

Would you be so kind as to forward this to the fora you posted
yours.  I shall post to my original forum
<fiction-of-philosophy>.

I shall warmly welcome your answer or any others.


Sincerely,


John Young <jya at pipeline.com> Upper West Side NYC

-------------------
__________________________________________________________________
-- Alastair Dickson             I  <alastair.dickson at almac.co.uk>
-- Stirling, Scotland           I
________________________________I_________________________________
---
 * Orator V1.14 #31 *


*******

Sorry for the bad formatting. These are as I received them.

--BK


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