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Notes while reading – Guy Debord and Gianfranco Sanguinetti / The Veritable Split In the International / Chronos Publications 1990 / (1972 in French)

By Alan Davies
Guy Debord

Guy Debord

Submissive intellectuals who are presently at the beginning of their career see themselves obliged for their part to disguise themselves as moderate situationists or semi-situationists, only to show that they are able to understand the last moment of the system which employs them. (p12)

This would apply to professors / among others.

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Until some time around the middle of the last century / the primary products of civilization were seen to be artifacts / things that people possessed. Now / in this society of the spectacle / it is that (the spectacle) which is civilization’s primary product – and it is seen to possess people / to be outside of them / to surround them.

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Advertising no longer only speaks – it has learned to listen (Google / etcetc).

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Communism / and situationism as well / is romantic.

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It is capitalism that has destroyed the environment.

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Has capitalism succeeded in polluting itself? It appears that it has – but it has not permitted that appearance to appear. This is the use to which the media has been put. The media is a form of public relations designed to dissuade the public from knowledge / and (particularly) from self-knowledge. Hence – reality tv / game shows / the quote news end quote / and the rest of it.

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The media consumes alienation. So do the educational system / the churches / franchise sports / the political game(s) / etc.

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It [“the spectacular forces”] inherits all the misery, including the intellectual misery, which the old world has produced; for finally misery is its true cause, though it had to assert such a cause with grandeur. (p38)

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Educators are the executives of the child-rearing process. They produce workers.

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The-bureaucratic-powers-that-be tolerate the artist the way the oyster tolerates the-grain-of-sand.

It’s bearable – even its beauty is (sometimes) bearable.

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We were there to combat the spectacle, not to govern it. (p65)

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theory of theory
theory of practice
practice of theory
practice of practice

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Everything that the SI accomplished / it accomplished with language.

Everything that it did / it did with language.

Everything that the SI effected (affected?) / was (was) language.

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History re-writes itself.

History always only re-writes itself.

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Debord was always most concerned with how-he-said-what-he-said / because how-he-said-what-he-said was all-that-he-ever-did.

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Debord was very-much-taken-with-the-sound-of-his-own-voice / with its-look.

Debord was primarily (primarily (was primarily)) taken-with-the-sound-of-his-own-voice / with its-look.

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The SI was quite a spectacle!
A very specialized one (it is true) / and all-the-more-a-spectacle for that.

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Historically / Marxism has consisted of two phases. The first phase consists of thinking-and-writing-and-talking. There is occasionally a transitional moment / in which power (political power) is seized. Then (in the second phase) / the massacres start.

Stalin / Mao / Castro / Pol Pot /

Allende / the only exception – and in his case he could not prevent the massacres which-he-did-not-start.

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The poor seek signs of their own misery.

Things they don’t need. Things they can’t afford.

The poorer.

Signs of their own penury. Their slavery.

And in order to possess those things / they kill themselves (their selves) working.

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The definition, the experimentation, the long and exacting labour around this question of communication is our real principal activity as an organized group. The deficiencies on this summarize all our deficiencies (as a group). (p117)

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Why was the theoretical discourse of the SI so convoluted? If it was not necessarily so (as I believe) / then it was affectation.

Unlike the texts / the slogans were poignant / clear.

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No two people experience the same history.

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Debord speaks repeatedly / and with obvious dissatisfaction / of “the contemplative situationists” (perhaps referring to the same people when he speaks of “pro-situs”?) – in whole or in part to have set up as straw dogs some others who would be (conceived-to-be) even more inactive than he himself (he-himself) / a (merely (by comparison)) theoretical situationist.

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Debord speaks self-denegratingly at times / in phrases such as “with the insipid and vacuous image of our collective splendour” (p134) / but these self-criticisms are always tinged with (if not redolent of) irony / whereby to say it isn’t (really) so / whereby to say that we have criticized ourselves openly / but (see) we were only teasing.

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Posted in Featured Blogger on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by Alan Davies.