McKenzie Wark on 25 Feb 2001 14:42:26 -0000

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Re: <nettime> In Defence of Cultural Studies aka Debord and nostalgia

I may be almost as fond of Guy Debord as Keith Sanborn is, but
let's face it, no matter how much he still impresses as a theorist
and as an artist, the romantic promise of something 'beyond'
art and theory doesn;t amount to much. Gee, messing up billboards.
Not much to write home about.

Debord is not mainly a commodity. A very classy commodity, avidly
consumed by the over-educated. I'm sure he would have appreciated
the irony.

"The incremental overcoming of human misery". As a card carrying
social democrat, that seems to me to be all that politics is good for.
And i am happy to spend my time among the grey and unfashionable
types in the social democratic movement who try to do something
to achieve it. They ten dnot to share my tastes in theory or art, but
then i don't share theirs for horse racing tips.

As for 'coherent views of history' -- look where those have gotten us.
They surely belong in the dustbin of history. Debord was a perceptive
and vigilant ant-Stalinist, and that is worth remembering. Not to
mention that he was a supurb literary stylist. Panygeric and  the script
to In Girum are masterpieces. I suspect that late in life he was not
unhappy with that fate.

As Croce asked, 'what is living and what is dead' in the Hegelian legacy?
Perhaps it is time for some accounting -- not least for past failures.
Who won the elections in France after May 68? The Gaulists, by a landslide.


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