||[May. 20th, 2013|06:17 pm]
“If a rock falls on your head it does positive harm, but shame, disgrace, reproaches and insults are damaging only in so far as you’re conscious of them. If you’re not, you feel no hurt at all. What’s the harm in the whole audience hissing [at] you if you clap [for] yourself? And Folly alone makes this possible.” Erasmus, Praise of Folly.
“To mark the launch of McKenzie Wark’s new book The Spectacle of Disintegration, Verso Books have offered Rhizome readers in the UK a chance to win a 3D printed Guy Debord action figure.” (Rhizome.org, 17 May 2013)
It seems to us that a response is necessary to this impudent and silly provocation. Silence on the part of people like us – who have spent many years and a great deal of effort trying to understand, enrich and act in accordance with what remains vital and relevant in the situationist critique of spectacular society – would only allow those unfamiliar with, newly informed of or hostile to the legacy of Guy Debord and the other members of the Situationist International to think that impudent and silly provocateurs such as McKenzie Wark are the only ones who are interested in this legacy today.
But what kind of response is called for in this instance? Let’s look at two of them: one might respond seriously, and denounce it sincerely and violently; or one might respond facetiously, and pretend not to be outraged by it (one might even pretend to find it amusing). There are advantages to both approaches: the first would have the merit of showing that not everyone in this world is a silly twat who thinks that life is but a joke; while the second would have the merit of being easier on the writer (there are so many outrages these days and it can be hard to be outraged by all of them all the time). And of course there are disadvantages to each of these approaches: the first one carries the risks of being dismissed as evidence that one doesn’t “have a sense of humor” or that one sees oneself as the exclusive holder of the “the truth” about Debord and the situs, and thus a kind of authoritarian; while the second one might very well encourage the perpetration of other, even more impudent and silly provocations.
So we have chosen a response that allows us to both laugh and tell the truth about this stunted publicity for Wark’s newest book. The class-consciousness of our era has made sufficient progress to demand, using its own means, an accounting from the pseudo-specialists of its history who continue to eke out a living by exploiting its practice.
19 May 2013
Brendan Boehning (Danish Society for Comparative Vandalism, Denmark)
Bill Brown (NOT BORED! USA)
Anthony Hayes (Notes From the Sinister Quarter, Australia)
Alastair Hemmens (Marblepunk , England)
Grant McDonagh (Ultrazine, New Zealand)