A Response by Len Bracken
Letter to THE ECONOMIST
To the Editors of The Economist
[ "Sir--" is their style, not mine . . . ]
As a subscriber to your newspaper I'm consistently impressed with the range of your coverage, hence I was only mildly surprised to see an article on Guy Debord and the Situationist International ("Tricky Situations," May, 2). If your corespondent in Toulouse had read my biography Guy Debord - Revolutionary (Feral House, 1997), a few points of confusion could have been avoided.
- Daniel Cohn-Bendit was not a member of the enrage' group as stated in the article.
- It was Ivan Chtcheglov, not Asger Jorn, who proposed bizarre, happy and sinister, etc. city quarters.
- If situationists somehow influenced the design of the Pompidou Center, it wasn't by design - they despised the place and what it did to the heart of old Paris.
- Gerard Lebovici was never a member of the Situationist International.
- Debord wrote books and created films that were published and produced by Lebovici. What evidence is there that Debord "sponged on" Lebovici?
- Debord emphatically was not one who "lectured extensively." He was very secretive.
Moreover it needs to be said that Debord's influence on the French far-right has been highly exaggerated and to mention this phantasm obscures the impact of his legacy on the far-left worldwide.
And as for Debord's roots, your correspondent would have been more accurate to mention not
surrealism and existentialism, but dada and Marx: the anti-art of imageless cinema coincides with the
extension of Marx's critique of the commodity to include its image in what Debord called Society of the
Spectacle - an analysis that your readers may find more relevant today than thirty years ago.