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A Few Extra Remarks
on Guy Debord - Revolutionary


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5 .  l e n  b r a c k e n

of the existing order with a total critique and a total practice (in short, revolution). Indeed, I read this "cohérence" as a stylistic variant on Debord's use of the concept of totality (especially when succeeded by "du monde"): the coherence of the world to be reversed is the spectacle. Part of the confusion, apparently unforeseen by the original translator's abandonment, three times in a row, of "coherence," is that it makes little difference if "a" is connected to "b" or "b" to "a" - what's important about a connection is if it's made or not, or else broken. The notion of the "coherence of the world," on the other hand, can, at least theoretically, be "reversed." For example, the separation that holds the existing world together is reversed and the unity of what was separate becomes the world's cohesive force. Such a reversal, on a global scale, has never taken place - the May-June 1968 occupations, riots and other (much more limited) protests erupted around world, were as close as history has come to experiencing what Debord was getting at when he wrote about the "coherence of the world," and it was still a long way from realizing a complete reversal of the existing order.

LEAVING ASIDE THE NOTION of reversibility, my literal translation "coherence of the world" (something akin to the spectacle), is a "connecting factor" in the SI translation. I haven't done a word count on the use of "coherence" in all of Debord's work - the word surely appears from time to time, but Debord doesn't rely on it to develop a "theory of coherence" akin to the theory of truth developed by Neurath and Carnap, which is systematic in scientific and mathematical ways, and if he did, the "reversible connecting factor" was not one of his initial axioms. It figures that Marcus wouldn't use a more literal translation because "coherence" denotes orderly, logical connections and a degree of consistency that is absent in Lipstick Traces. This isn't a malicious attack but a statement of fact. As one Extraphile reader put it: "When reading Marcus, I get a buzz, but I don't really know what's going on." To put it another way, the reasoning in Marucs' discourse is incoherent; nor does he "cohere," which is to say connect naturally and logically, with the work of Debord.

MARCUS MAY HAVE READ into the word "connecting" the internal connection in dialectics that makes a continuous whole of the process of all life and things. If that were the case, why not use the word "dialectics"? It was good enough for Hegel, Marx and Debord. (As for presenting a dialectical perspective akin to Debord, Marcus is, in my opinion, off the mark: "Nothing that actually happens becomes real until it is represented in the spectacle that is social life - after which it becomes unreal, and passes into its opposite"(pp 140-141): I would put just the other way around: Everything that happens is real until it takes its place in the spectacle, where it becomes unreal, but. . .

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