Guy Debord

French Marxist theorist, writer, filmmaker and founding member of the Situationist International (SI)

Guy-Ernest Debord (December 28, 1931November 30, 1994) was a French strategist and founding member of the groups Letterist International and Situationist International (SI). He was also briefly a member of Socialisme ou Barbarie.



  • Art need no longer be an account of past sensations. It can become the direct organization of more highly evolved sensations. It is a question of producing ourselves, not things that enslave us.
    • Internationale Situationist (no. 1, Paris, June 1958).

Society of the Spectacle (1967)Edit

  • In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.
    • Ch. 1, sct. 1.
  • The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.
    • Ch. 1, sct. 4.
  • Tourism, human circulation considered as consumption ... is fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal.
    • Ch. 7, sct. 168.
  • Ideas improve. The meaning of words participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author’s phrase, makes use of his expressions, erases a false idea, and replaces it with the right idea.

The Incomplete Works of the Situationist International (Nov. 1963)Edit

  • Boredom is always counter-revolutionary. Always.
    • The Bad Old Days Will End

Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (1988)Edit

  • No longer is science asked to understand the world, or to improve any part of it. It is asked instead to immediately justify everything that happens....spectacular domination has cut down the vast tree of scientific knowledge in order to make itself a truncheon.
  • With the destruction of history, contemporary events themselves retreat into a remote and fabulous realm of unverifiable stories, uncheckable statistics, unlikely explanations and untenable reasoning.
  • Everyone accepts that there are inevitably little areas of secrecy reserved for specialists; as regards things in general, many believe they are in on the secret.
  • What is false creates taste, and reinforces itself by knowingly eliminating any possible reference to the authentic. And what is genuine is reconstructed as quickly as possible, to resemble the false.
  • The Mafia is not an outsider in this world; it is perfectly at home. Indeed, in the integrated spectacle it stands as the model of all advanced commercial enterprises.
  • It is hardly surprising that children should enthusiastically start their education at an early age with the Absolute Knowledge of computer science; while they are unable to read, for reading demands making judgments at every line.... Conversation is almost dead, and soon so too will be those who knew how to speak.
    • Ch. 10.
  • The Sage of Toronto ... spent several decades marveling at the numerous freedoms created by a “global village” instantly and effortlessly accessible to all. Villages, unlike towns, have always been ruled by conformism, isolation, petty surveillance, boredom and repetitive malicious gossip about the same families. Which is a precise enough description of the global spectacle’s present vulgarity.

Panegyric (1989)Edit

  • There is nothing more natural than to consider everything as starting from oneself, chosen as the center of the world; one finds oneself thus capable of condemning the world without even wanting to hear its deceitful chatter.
    • Vol. 1, pt. 1.
  • Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs.
    • Vol. 1, pt. 1.
  • In the zone of perdition where my youth went as if to complete its education, one would have said that the portents of an imminent collapse of the whole edifice of civilization had made an appointment.
    • Vol. 1, Pt. 2.

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