Monday, April 13, 2009

Debord a French national treasure?

Oddly enough Guy Debord has been proclaimed a national treasure in France, albeit a dead one. Some people have commented that he would have hated this and perhaps that's true but considering that he managed to find a patron to fund his exploration of The Good Life I don't know how far Debord would actually go. Certainly he seems to have justified this patronage and his avoidance of work as an affront to bourgeois ideals and perhaps there's some truth to that but maybe I'm just too brainwashed by those ideals to believe entirely that this way of living was any kind of revolutionary act. He spent much of the last couple of decades of his life working on slim books that were mostly just aftershocks and on a wargame that by all accounts seems far less interesting or revelatory than many commercial games. Personally I've always preferred Raoul Vaneigem's work, mainly because it's more concrete and deals with the world as it is rather than the loose abstractions of Society of the Spectacle. Still, I did pick up the first volume of the English translation of Debord's letters and will post about that whenever I get around to reading it.