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SOTS
Imposture

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.

  1. Daniel Cohn-Bendit was not a member of the enrage' group as stated in the article.
  1. It was Ivan Chtcheglov, not Asger Jorn, who proposed bizarre, happy and sinister, etc. city quarters.
  1. 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.
  1. Gerard Lebovici was never a member of the Situationist International.
  1. Debord wrote books and created films that were published and produced by Lebovici. What evidence is there that Debord "sponged on" Lebovici?
  1. 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.

Len Bracken
Washington, DC