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An Aesthetic of the "Grand Style": Guy Debord Author(s): Mario Perniola and Olga Vasile Source: SubStance, Vol

. 28, No. 3, Issue 90: Special Issue: Guy Debord (1999), pp. 89-101 Published by: University of Wisconsin Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3685435 Accessed: 07/06/2010 00:08
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but even to imagine "the grand style" as the quality of an action. veneration.but "reality. and widespread cynicism. Nietzsche himself taught diffidence about actions and behaviors that attribute to themselves all sorts of positive qualities. but precisely because of their rarity they may render "the grand style" the object of more diligent research and more zeal than ever. In this specific instance. life. the philistinism of the rich and idle mob that glorifies Wagner's opera exemplifies exactly the opposite of "the grand style". they are secretly animated by opposite drives. works keep being produced that correspond to the features of contained power. in most cases. of boasting ostentation that is at the antipodes of "grand style's" simplicity and purity. 1999 89 . it is for me a source of great happiness to have met the man who in the second half of the twentieth century has been the Substance# 90.An Aesthetic of the "GrandStyle": Guy Debord Mario Perniola A Distancing from the World It is difficult today to determine what might correspond to that model of aesthetic excellence that Nietzsche defined with the expression "the grand style. almost as if longevity required a long exercise of practical shrewdness. to consider it no longer simply art. As for a whole life.unfortunately they come to the attention of experts and the public with greater difficulty and more slowly than in the past."Besides. indeed cultural snobbism -as the word itself suggests: "sine nobilitate"-constitutes a manifestation of vulgarity and coarseness. globally considered. as Nietzsche says." in fact." Certainly. artistic and cultural overproduction. both because of literary. not just to find. These aspects do not blend well with the general tone of contemporary daily experience. however. memory-in a word. a behavior or even an entire existence: in other words. if not complicity with infinite shames. To recognize this is already a great achievement! For this reason. "Thegrand style. it seems that only a few short existences may aspire to all that. classical rigor and unbounded certainty. truth. superficiality. and he showed how. It is much more difficult.and insensibility. respect. in the various arts. implies immediate concern.

both require obedience and discipline. 1999 . they have to be suppressed and realized in ? 191 and ff.from immediate emotions. That tradition. politics and media. but master of the ambitious.)According to Debord. In Debord's case. however.his disdain is not softened by inherited wealth: he affirmsthat he was "bor virtually ruined" (Panegyric 12). but cold and detached from himself and from the world. even criminal) conduct. Debord's strategy exploits one factor: the admiration he inspires in those who see that political power and money are secondary to excellence and its recognition. suspension from disorganized affections. Style. this superiority is not so much embedded in an ethical background as an esthetic one: the tradition to which Debord belongs is one of poetic and artistic revolt. but takes it further with a qualitative leap." Guy Debord. publishing. Debord explicitly recognizes that heritage. dates back to the Middle Villon was the model Ages: the great fifteenth-century French poet FranCois for an encounter between culture and alternative (in his case. journalism. revolutionary theory and practice(Society. which encountered an extraordinary development in the twentieth century avant-garde. they have to be there! Besides.90 Mario Pemiola personification of "the grand style. maintaining that they must be overcome-that is to say. "doctor of nothing. for whom coherence between principles and behavior was essential. He hates worldliness and snobbish frivolity that flirts with revolutionary extremism ." Finally. but is an urgent need of the time in which we live: it is not so much a question of foreshadowing a society to come than of obeying the very powerful command coming from the historical and social Substance# 90. like Diogenes. since he refuses the exercise of poetry and art. the overcoming of art must not be postponed to a distant future. hence there is a relationship between style and classicism that Nietzsche repeatedly underlined. Debord nourishes a deep disgust for the whole cultural establishment. pedantic and stereotyped academicism. In an age in which ambitious people are ready to do everything to obtain political power and money. This is in fact the first condition of style: detachment. distance.the so-called "radicalchic. friend of rebels and the poor. or worse. style and passion have in common their imperious and constraining character. in Hegelian terms. should not be considered a synonym for frigidity. insensibility." as he defines himself (Panegyric13). In order to master passions. handed down through the centuries. from unrestrainedpassions. detachment manifests itself first of all as completely extraneous to the worlds of academia. secretly admired by the mighty. as some utopian thinkers propose. This strategy aims at a kind of superiority similar to that of some of the ancient philosophers. However. stirring great emotions.

. one of the reasons why we broke off our relationship in spring 1969. moreover.almost as if today only a similar attitude could arouse interest and excite passion. he does not doubt that the highest level of revolutionary theory has been reached by Marx. Debord also distances himself from anarchism. In this. It is not by chance that I got in touch with Debord after a conflict that in 1966 opposed me to the Surrealist movement.At the same time.? 102). with a fortunate acronym-was a closed group that made a clear-cut Substance# 90. despite being foreign to every form of institutionalization. He writes: "[. One has to add to all this his distance from all political-revolutionary organizations and trends prevailing in his age: Debord felt he was carrying on the heritage of the "councilcommunism" of the 1920s. twelve numbers of a journal. and knew how to make themselves accepted" (Panegyric. persevere in practicing activities that can at any time be recuperated by the cultural establishment. In this way.17). Trotskyist. and which produced. The SI. poetic and artistic milieus which. Approval and effectiveness obtained through sympathy.Maoist or Third-Worldposition: in his view.L'Internationale Situationniste. If by "political" one means the distinction between "friends" and "enemies. In fact. according to which the greatness of the soul is not compatible with amiable virtues: "The grand style excludes the pleasant" (Nachgelassene." together with the effort to increase the number of the former. he followed Nietzsche's opinion. over twelve years. anywhere. the so-called socialist regimes are forms of state capitalism.as it was called..An Aesthetic of the "GrandStyle" Style" 91 hic et nunc.1972. there is in Debord a radical "unpoliticization" leading to isolation. agreement and a good predisposition towards others was certainly not included in Debord's style. In an era when amiability and ease are the most appreciated qualities. a sociability that recognized itself in a theoretical project and in a life-style formed around Debord." a movement that Debord founded in 1957 together with other members of the art avant-garde. Debord also dissociates himself from those literary. at least in the second half of the 1960s.developed in France ou Barbarie. This choice led him to a by theoretical journals such as Socialisme total refusal of any Leninist. Its axis was constituted by the "Situationist International. 18. My entourage has been composed only of those who came on their own accord. That is. that was brilliantin content and elegantly produced. 1). which abandons the human being to individual whim. 1999 . and not by Bakunin. Debord faces his contemporariesin a bitter and rough manner.] I never went looking for anyone. governed by a party bureaucracy that assumes the right to speak in the name of the proletariat whom it actually owns (Society. this did not prevent.

they did not match the dominant features of the protest movement. 3.according to which individual theoreticalstatements and behaviors automatically involved everyone else. the aesthetic feature of the Situationist endeavor was not recognized by either those who formulated it from within or by external observers. Marxused for the philosophy of his time). on the other.in whichDadaismwantedto suppressartwithout wanted to realizeart without suppressingit. 1999 . concentratedand expanding alienation(finally:criticismof the modern stage of the worldly kingdom of the commodity). 1966. on one side of which raged subjective vitalism and the most impulsive spontaneity and. indeed. a deep sense of discipline and a repugnance for a disorganized and chaotic nature (Gay Science ? 290). it implies the erasure of individual specificity. and only 20 in Italy! Something of the high aesthetic qualities of the whole enterprise was transmitted to common readers who had the impression of belonging to a world revolutionary elite. they formed an international network within which it was possible to move not so much with a conspiratorial attitude as with an aristocraticone. This is meant to ofarttowardsa freeconstruction be the end of modem art. 2. realization of an overturned world..]. Marx'srevolutionary theory. and Surrealism I am hereresumingtermsthatthe young (Thesetwo needs areinseparable. lie. However. In a letter dated December 26. however. In a form of historical blindness. has in the case of the SI an aesthetic meaning.92 Mario Pemiola Perniola distinction between members and sympathizers: it was ruled by a sort of collective responsibility.to be corrected and completed in the direction of its own radicalism (first of all. ideological consumerism. Substance # 90.of modem society as concrete of thespectacle. did not match the temper of other members of the SI. against all the heritage of "Marxism") [.. But above all. Theovercoming of life. realizingit. summarized the SI projects in four points: 1. as Nietzsche writes. similar to one of the aspects of religious sects. or deprived of genius and creative spirit. referringto the importance of the constraining and binding element of style. This feature. which perfectly corresponded to Debord's way of being. Thecriticism that is to say. Guy Debord. these requirements. who were either much more expansive and extroverted. gloomy and anti-aesthetic Stalinist political subjugation. in answer to some of my questions. All this explains why only a very few people actually received the SI's message: at the end of '68 only three people received the journal in Rome.

which refuse all mediation. nourish an infinite diffidence toward form.]. In his letter of November 18. the modelof the revolutionary as target and Councils.in the following years for at least a decade. The fourth comes from the of proletariansof this century.. 93 93 What strikes me in this letteris the fact that the two most specific features of the SI are aesthetic. when it allots them a place in its spectacle. (Ingirum. 23). clandestineand bad. It is a question of revolutionarypractice unifyingthem. notifying me of the publication of his book The Societyof the Spectacle. and aspire to an ideal of absolute transparencv # 90.1967.. 65-6) It is not by chance that one of the most debated problems within the Situationist milieu concerned precisely its relationship with the cultural spectacle. The Situationists' effort to maintain a certain distance from the world clashed inevitably with modern society's tendency to "recuperate" their revolt-that is to say. and that the idea of uniting tendencies and perspectives inscribed in different traditions is even more aesthetic. 1999 Substance . This corresponds exactly to a Nietzschean definition of "the grand style": "few principles and these hold very tightly together.].expression. 1974. the only personto have had some renown. especially in Italy. indeed. 3. to neutralize it by assigning it a role and a function within society itself. and whom they have not managed to get to appear on this stage of renunciation[. at this time.. Debord writes: Wecertainly all agree:"cinema" is in itselfa passivespectacular relationship [..) on different levels. the myth of action were destined to be raging.].. On this last point Debord was too optimistic: spontaneity. powerof Workers' modelthatshouldalreadydominatethe revolutionary aiming organization at this [. in some ways. It is evident for all of us thatwe cannotreduceourselves to a sort of pure immediacy.].YetI am. no esprit. However.) is also participatingin this separatemode of unilateralspectacular expression [. It is known that this society signs a sort of pact with its most avowed enemies..no rhetoric" (Nachgelassene. we believe that it is necessary to dominate criticallythese moments(theory.An Aesthetic of the "GrandStyle" Style" 4. vitalism. Debord says in one of his films. The thirdcomes fromrevolutionary theoryof the beginning of the historicalperiod to which we belong. our main theoretical contribution. These orientations.Theproblemis moregeneral:we believe thateven the book (a journal etc.I would find it just as shabbyto become an authorityin the contestationof a society as to be one in this society itself. The first two points are... agitation etc.

The following seems revealing about the quality of such an experience: "First." according to Heidegger. and not merely what holds that antithesis down and suppresses.94 Pemiola Mario Perniola represented the most serious problem of my youth. They were also present within the SI. Or of time's suspension? What do these empirical. especially in the circle of its sympathizers. But "the grand style" is certainly something different from classicism. but goes beyond it: "only what assimilates its sharpest antithesis. style is separate from "the paralysis of form in what is dogmatic and formalistic. I grew to like what lies beyond violent drunkenness when one has passed that stage: a magnificent and terrible peace. "the grand style" contains an element of excess. then.deinotaton-the frightful. 1968). and on whom he lingers in his memoirs when he celebrates various alcoholic drinks. It presupposes its existence. whose essential feature is his distance from the world. which the Greeks of the tragic age called deinon. As Heidegger observes. about whom he made no mystery. and in it feelings are followed to an extreme physiological state of the body. is Substance# 90. simplification. reinforcementand turning nasty that for Nietzsche constitute the essential features of classical style are present in Debord. In fact. The fact remains that next to the Apollonean Debord. very soon. what it is too personal and too alive? Is not the Nietzschean notion of "the grand style" close to "classic" style? Certainly those features of hardening. and from an aesthetic ideal of harmony and composure. is precisely a creative counter-movement in respect to the physiological. In other words. but also with the strongly emotional dimension of his writings and films. 1999 . This seems to contrast not only with the passions aroused by Debord. It goes beyond Kant and Hegel's moderate aesthetic. With Nietzsche. as [it is] from sheer rapturous tumult " (Nietzsche 128). Thereforethe Nietzschean notion of "grand style" cannot be fully understood if it is separated from Nietzsche's reflection on the importance of the physiological component in art as an indispensable premise of style. an extreme aesthetic has been born. like everyone. However. but certainly they cannot be attributed to Debord. the accidental. which seem often suspended between nostalgia and impassivity. "the grand style. there is a Dionysian Debord. between pain and hardness. for whom every manifested alternative to writing "depends itself on a more or less complex consciousness and theoretical formulation" (Letter of March 2. the true taste of the passage of time" (Panegyric 35). I appreciated the effect of slight drunkenness. vital and even physiological aspects have to do with style? Doesn't style consist in leaving aside the subjective. this does not mean succumbing to naturalism or to mere empirical factuality.

Hence the aesthetic dimension contains nothing decorative. It is possible to better understand his way of being by including him in a long tradition that dates back to the ancient philosopher Heraclitus. and accordingto the few effectivelyassailablepositions.otherwise you disappearwithout having achieved anything. in his view.]. meets with the esthetic ideal supported by rhetoric and oratory. or accessory or overstructural. to a sphere that we usually regard as pertinent to politics. # 90. This strategic and energetic conception of beauty. (Ingirum 61) This strategic conception of beauty was fully developed in the seventeenth century. however. but to that of war. the mixture of aesthetic and political models make the Baroque a constant point of reference for Debord: in particular the figure of Baltasar Gracian deserves attention and respect.An Aesthetic of the "GrandStyle" 95 truly great. It is tightly linked to the effectual. you make a grab for one or the other as soon as a favorablemoment is apparent. resorts to the metaphors of lightning and fire. such transformation does not cause the antithesis to disappear. the comparison between the man of letters and the warrior. what counts for him is struggle. to reality.. which operated underground in the Roman world through Stoicism. as the strongest weapon. Beauty is considered as a weapon-in fact. freely. in which aesthetics is not linked to the experience of conciliation (as in Pythagoras and in neoplatonism).according to which the practical efficacy of the art of speech has an essential value. Individualswho do not act wish to believe that you can pick. "theories are made only to die in the war of time: they are stronger or weaker units that must be engaged at the right moment in the combat [.theories have to be replaced because their decisive victories even more than their partial defeats produce their wear-and-tear" (In girum. the excellenceof those who will figurein a combat. The definition of beauty as sharpness.. An Aesthetic of Struggle One does not treat Debord fairly by considering him a pure theoretician: it is easy to put him into perspective by examining his writings exclusively from the point of view of their speculative originality. 25-6). 1999 Substance . According to Debord. but to come to its essential unfolding"(Nietzsche135). But no: with what is at hand. The sphere of beauty is therefore a battleground in which one wins or loses: it is the place of decision and result. Indeed. The Heraclitean conception.along with the place and time when you can strikean unstoppableand definitivehit. but conflict. who believes that beauty is not harmony. more than theory.

it is a totally different matter to have to deal with all sorts of men and to fight in a civil war in which everybody knows that life itself is at stake! The "grand style" of Retz's Memoiresconsists above all in the distance he keeps from himself. and I saw the tragic and inevitable consequences of attributing to failure an aura of dismal splendor. Debord wrote to me: I love the quotationof Retz'sMemoires not only because it touches upon the themes of the "imagination in power" and of "takeyour desires for but also because thereis a certainamusing relationshipbetween reality." so to speak. but definitely not to Retz the man of action. of course. not in the flagrancy of action. What Debord has in common with Retz the writer is the questioning of what could have been and has not been. even more than Gracian. By comparing Debord to the Cardinal who animated the Fronde. It is easy. Waris for him not only the realm of danger. betrayals and conspiracies. to preserve one's integrity in solitude. In his letter of December 24. 1968. there is in him a practice of truth that belongs to Retz the writer. The subversive tradition in which Debord places himself is therefore more one of ancient-baroque tyrannicide than the modern one of political and social revolution: 1968 seems to him similar to the Fronde. I have always had a vague sense of the "obscure melancholy" that accompanied his life." the Frondeof 1648and May [1968]: the only two greatmovementsin Paris which exploded as immediateanswerto somearrests: and both with some barricades. Retz often mentions events that were on the point of happening and did not happen for totally # 90. 1999 Substance . In his Mmoires. not to the FrenchRevolution. in it the aesthetic of struggle. However. is shaped as an aesthetic of defeat. failurewas certainly unintentional and unwelcome! Debord's case is very different. Retz is no different from his enemies. as he acknowledged in In girium. and if his schemes have not succeeded.it is the enemy of Richelieu and MazarinCardinalRetz-who occupies Debord's imagination. but certainly it does not consist in the events that he tells! It is a post festum "grand style. but also of delusion (Panegyric. in plotting intrigues.he was able to depict better than anyone else all the aspects of "the grand style" by rescuing it from any form of abstract classicism and immersing it in historical events and contingencies. much less the Russian Revolution. at least starting from the end of the 1960s. in the unrestrained sincerity with which he exposes the most hidden motivations of his actions. VI). even when it damages his reputation. or in a very restricted group of friends.96 Pemiola Mario Perniola In his TheCourtier's ManualOracle. almost as if any success would contain an element of unavoidable vulgarity.

wise to heimarmene. 1999 ." Life is a labyrinth from which there is no way out: from this..An Aesthetic of the "GrandStyle" 97 accidental reasons. literally. derives the title of his film In girum imus nocteet consumimur igni. I have never quite understood the reproaches I have often incurred. Connected to this experience is the stoic idea of the eternal return. Providence. Hence it expresses very well the the assent of the experience. of synkatathesis. a theoretical step that Debord never took." as amorfati:only in this way can the past stop being the cause of frustrationand powerlessness. Maybe political thinkers of the sixteenth century (such as Machiavelli.] The strike now has been defeated (mainly by the C. that is to say. he remained fundamentally linked. erasing the distinction between true and false.. to a realistic vision of conflict.] I certainly [. heroic judgment consists precisely in distinguishing the extraordinary from the impossible. like Retz.] assume responsibilityfor all that happened"(Ingirum. In Debord as well there is a similar attitude: in his letter of June 10. between imagination and reality. In his view. typical of the ancient Stoics. Nietzsche adopts the stoic conception of the eternal return and interprets it not as a metahistorical law but as "a will of eternal return. whereby I lost this fine troopin a senseless assault.1968 he writes to me: "Wehave almostmade a revolution. which they understood as the inviolable series of causes. "Weturn around at night and we are devoured by fire.G.[."presents the curious feature that one can read it from the last letter to the first without the slightest change-an extraordinary palindrome.60).. has not also changed the notion of victory and defeat. in which the same events that have already occurred happen again. [. This sentence. The stoic attitude of acceptance of present and past prevails: this is definitely a very important aspect of the "grand style. I wonder whether the "society of the spectacle" itself. however.).T. Guicciardini and Loyola) had already moved beyond this vision.but French society as a whole is in a crisis for a long period.or with some sort of Neronian complacency. much less repentance. of the repetition of recurrentcosmic periods. however. As is well-known. which means. freeing them from reference to the accomplished event and inaugurating a "society of simulacra. those that happen happen and those that will happen will happen" (Pohlenz). Debord's questioning the reasons for events. The future will not be able to give us anything better than what the past has Substance # 90. He writes.." This is. in fact." Now. "the rational law on the basis of which things that happened have happened. in order to aim at the first and to avoid the second.. never becomes regret..

The social revolution is not conceived as an ideal to be realized. in Marx and Engels's words.but it is difficult to attributegrandeur to him. as well as for Debord. but they do not make it really great. The SI believes in being the critical consciousness of the return of social revolution.98 Pemiola Mario Perniola already given us. But the highest point of the Situationist experience is represented by May 1968 in France." During the period I was in contact with Debord. he affirms that "a decisive step has been made in the revolt and in the consciousness.m. racial uprisings. 1999 . this expresses itself in unconscious and nascent forms in all industrial societies as the revolt of youth. the boundless ambition to constitute the most advanced point of human progress (already present in Hegel and Marx) found some true support. Indeed. I have never regretted anything I have done. the SI played a decisive role in the first European student revolt. They can in fact lead to an ascetic model in which fanatical features are present: the figure of the warrior monk manifests a strong aesthetic dimension. While I was there. and the events of May 3. by being what I am. The path of utopia is blocked for Nietzsche. as "the real movement that abolishes the existing state of affairs. but. I had experienced the enthusiasm of feeling oneself in the avant-garde of a worldwide movement. Starting from the early 1960s. in which Debord describes in detail the relationship between the SI and the student movement. his distance from the world and the aesthetic of conflict undoubtedly constitute style.). advising me to take some precautions with respect to the police. and struggles in the Third World. went a long way beyond the university environment. The Direct Hold on History In Debord's way of being there is a last aspect that is probably more important than all the previous ones: the relationship with history. of which he claims to be not only the interpreter. in Strasbourg in Autunm 1966. and of that same morning. and I admit that I am completely unable to imagine what else I could have done.but also an essential part." (Panegyric47). Substance# 90. For instance." And he adds. 1968 (2:00p. it is extraneous to "the grand style. exploiting the occasion of a student revolt. In his letter of May 10. Something else is required. this extra element comes from his relationship with the historical process. expanding to the industrial proletariat and to the whole of French society. In fact this movement. for his courage and his (at first sight) contradictoryfeatures. May 6." Debord says: "As for myself.in Debord.

In their opinion. 99 The Council. formed by Situationists. While taking refuge in Brussels for fear of persecution (where I meet them in July 1968). Ourgroupwas formed 25 partisanswho joined in by 4 Situationists+ 2 Enrages+ approximately the battle (half of them were totally unknown before) [. Everyold organizationhas bitterlyfought against the movement[.] The core people--including a certain number of workers-have been most of the time remarkable..but the futureis very uncertain.Wecontinueat the moment. deliberating day and night.It published the "Report on the Occupation of the Sorbonne" (May 19). the Council dissolved. which exposed the events that had caused the failure of that experience. 1968. because it refused to have a permanent existence. the movement of May '68 was essentially proletarian and not a student one. but its development went farbeyond Substance # 90. relations with occupied factories.the Situationistswrote the volume Enrages and Situationists in the Occupation Movement (signed Rene Vienet) and the article "The Beginning of an Era" (issue 12 of L'Internationale Situationniste).Wecount on the shockthatin many countriesopens the way to a international returnof the new revolutionary Herealreadytheory critique. which evaluated the possibility of reactivating certain sectors of the economy under workers' control. he writes: We had the opportunityto be at the heart of the entire event during the most interestingperiod.] After having had the "Occupation Committeeof the Sorbonne"during the first days (one of them was decisive). Enrages and sympathizers for a total of approximately 40 people...An Aesthetic of the "GrandStyle" Style" The momentof the SI'sovercominghas not yet come:and this is why one needs to overcometheprevious stageof our action(if we were unableto do so. in order to really possess this revolution. it expressed itself on the occasion of a student revolt. had functioned as an uninterruptedGeneral Assembly. 1999 . had taken to the road. the "Appeal to All Workers"(May 30).in which they perfected their judgement on May '68. we have formed the "Council for the of occupation" Maintenance which has had many contactsin Parisand in the provinces. In his letter of June 10. It had three separate commissions in charge of compiling and printing documents. which maintained that the movement in its reflux process "was missing only the consciousness of what it had already done. and the supplies necessary for the activity. we would be "objectively"dissolved because the spreading of the struggle requiresthat a group such as the SI attaina correctand slightly more extended practice).the declaration "Forthe Power of Workers' Councils" (May 22).." With the State restoration in June.

"had been at the heart of one the greatest spontaneous strikes in history. The first concerns the general hatred in which we are all immersed. anticipated by some time the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union. Previously. gave Debord extraordinary credibility and invested him with an almost prophetic role. his Commentaries to the Societyof the Spectacle.IV). 1999 . both concerning their priority. I was impressed by the fact that he considered a Russian invasion the most probable solution to the Czechoslovakian crisis. above all in the milieu of the Left. and no longer because it would bring some extrinsic advantage. Substance# 90. But his "grand style" manifested itself once again with a masterly move: like TheSocietyof the Spectacle. On May 22 he deemed that the most probable solution to the crisis was the demobilization of workers. it was the acting proletariat seeking its theoretical consciousness" (Knabb. causing huge astonishment and scandal.229). The second is even more subtle.and their substance.on the basis of economic advantages. This is how he renewed. something that actually happened the following month. but it no longer protects anything. guided by a man who held the entire world "in gran dispitto. I interpreted his silence on the historical events of the 1970s and 1980s as a negative judgment with respect to an age he would indeed define as "repugnant" (Panegyric. In the conversations we had in July 1968 in Brussels. and social revolution. which marked his return to great political theory. On May 15 he saw three possible developments in a decreasing order of probability: the spontaneous extinction of the movement. his role as "occult master" of subversion. Debord kept an extraordinary lucidity of historical judgment. Therefore I have to quote it in full: It should be known that servitude henceforth truly wants to be loved for itself.100 Mario Pemiola Perniola the academic context: "The May movement was not some political theory looking for workers to carry it out. it could pass for protection. Even in the moments of maximum enthusiasm during May. poor and jobless.G. repression. Two more brief considerations in the last pages of Panegyric seem prophetic to me. The fact that a small group of marginal intellectuals. negotiated between Gaullism and the C.T. for the years following 1989. because of the authoritarian redefinition of pleasures. published a year before '68.

1992 (Englishtranslationby Donald NicholsonJappe. 1994. 1999).Berlin:De Gruyter.London:Verso.Situationist Anthology. (1967).1990.Berkeley: Nietzsche. # 90.Berlin:De Gruyter.ed.1991b. FriederichTheGayScience.Berkeley: Secrets. . 1974.Perunafilosofia presente. delsentire Vincentini.Guy. Random. Universityof RomeII translatedby Olga Vasile WORKS CITED on theSociety Debord. Fragmente -. a charm that would be anything other than the sole 77-8) pleasureof knowing it.Gottingen: Vandenhoek & Pohlenz.1974. Geschichte Ruprecht. anywhere at all. In girumimusnocteet consumimur igni.Nietzsche.Ken. MarioPerniola.New York: of theSpectacle Heidegger. 4. 1991a.Comments (1988).1981. Pescara:Tracce. Nachgelassene 1884-85. Smith. New York: . of theSpectacle -. TheSociety Zone Books.I Situazionisti. . (1989)London:Verso.1959. LondonPelagian Press. einergeistige Bewegung.Martin. Retz. (Panegyric 101 101 This seems to me the epigraph under which the present age stands. Rome:Arcana.Anselm. Debord.1998.An Aestheticof of the the "Grand "Grand Style" An Aesthetic Style" Servitudedoes not try to justifyitself now by claimingto have conserved.Ed. 1989.1994. Panegyric. 1972. Max. and trans.1983. Cardinalde. 1979. International Bureauof Public Knabb. (1882). Die Stoa.in L'aria sifa tesa.ReprintedRome: Perniola. Memoires(1717).Isabella.Genoa:Costa & Nolan. UC Press.Mario.New York: Good andEvil (1886). Nachgelassene 1888-89.Grande Stile.San Francisco: Harper& Row.1972. Castelvecchi. Fragmente In "Agaragar" n.(1961). Beyond VintageBooks.Paris:Gallimard. 1999 Substance .