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A Few Extra Remarks
on Guy Debord - Revolutionary


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Guy Debord: Revolutionary

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IN FAVOR OF SIMPLY EXECUTING IT, I excised the "note on method" in an early draft of my book on Debord. It's true, as one reviewer has noticed, that I relied primarily on original documents by, or directly related to, the subject. His personal history, gleaned from these documents, is put in the context of world history. His texts are illuminated by the context of the relevant intellectual history. Where necessary, I give brief accounts of the historical events under discussion. This is, in my opinion, the strength of my book - it is, or at least should be, comprehensible to budding American radicals in the late XXth Century (despite the epidemic of inattention and distraction related to the conditions of modern life). I envisioned a moment when, instead of biographies of a Statist like Che (whose strategy was the simplistic, and always disastrous for revolutions worthy of the word, seizure of State power by a party elite), the socialists at DEMOS here in Washington, D.C. would have my Guy Debord - Revolutionary under their arms (figuratively speaking). If the book seems somewhat didactic, try reading for comparison, the books written and read by revolutionaries in the XIXth Century, or read Debord himself; he can be quite didactic at times, insisting in his last film (with Brigitte Cornand): "I write my thoughts with order. If they're true, the first to come will be a consequence of the others. It's the real order." When so many supposedly well-informed people are so wrong about a man, it seemed necessary to demystify him by presenting a very direct and relatively objective perspective on his project, which is to say, on his life. This essay is to insist that's it's important to talk about Debord in his own terms, and that the phrase "the reversible connecting factor" is not one of his terms.

MY DEBT TO GREIL MARCUS' LIPSTICK TRACES for his interviews is obvious and acknowledged very directly in Guy Debord - Revolutionary, much more so than those of my other sources, most of whom didn't want to be identified. Marcus' interviews were also referenced much better than the extensive interviews conducted by the French press, both print and radio (several hours), which I admittedly did not note in all instances (simply giving credit to the speaker when I didn't simply appropriate relevant and credible material into my narrative). Yet my regard for Lipstick Traces is not high enough for some of my early internet reviewers. This paper is, in part, a response to the review of my Guy Debord - Revolutionary in an unsigned internet posting on Not Bored! (attributable to Bill "Chairman of Debord" Brown, the long-time editor of this zine). Brown was critical of my criticism of Lipstick Traces and even went so far as to call it "confused." I had anticipated as much and foresaw the need to go beyond my initial footnote, which was what initiated a limited dialogue with Gruel (as his detractors sometimes call him - just kidding, he's been great in playing along with all this). Now that Marcus has informed me of the source and the French original for "reversible connecting factor," I'm more convinced than ever that Lipstick Traces has somehow cast a spell on Brown (receptive to it as he is given his acknowledged assistance to Marcus). And this spell has evidently clouded Brown's critical faculties. I too, was once a fan of Lipstick Traces, but careful examination of Marcus' use of the "reversible connecting factor" demonstrates a remarkable degree of misunderstanding of dialectics and historicity. What I came to resent about the book was its confusionism, which is not limited to, but seems to thrive, in the post-situationist micro-community. According to Brown, the major shortcoming of my book is that it doesn't "make anyone FEEL what Debord felt." Should - I'd like to ask - my book make one feel the way a sensationalist treatment might make one FEEL? No. This criticism of my reluctance to pull the reader's emotional. . .

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