Sunday, June 24, 2007

Conversations with Guy Debord (6)

"Debord, I woke up this morning on Tony's suitcase."

Guy Debord's unstruck match and his dense, packed Gaulois cigarette are presented as irreconcilable antagonisms.

"The Republican Party, like modern society itself, is at once united and divided," he said, waving the unstruck match held between his thumb and forefinger.

Debord continued: "The unity of each is based on violent divisions. But when this contradiction emerges in the Republican Party, it is itself contradicted by a reversal of its meaning: the division it presents is unitary, while the unity it presents is divided.

Even where the material flame is still absent, Debord's Gaulois has already used its potential. Upward-seeking braids of smoke invade the social surface of every room in my apartment.

"How did I get here?" I asked. "Why am I purring? Why was the catnip vacuumed? The dog upstairs sticks his whole whooping cough of a body out the window and watches Greenview Avenue go by."

Debord's Gaulois sets the stage for usurping indigenous ruling classes and recontextualizing their agendas.

Just as it presents upward-seeking braids of smoke to be coveted, it offers itself as a model to local revolutionaries.

Smoke is the social surface of every room in my revolution.

"Shimmy, the vestiges of religion and of the family, along with the vestiges of moral repression imposed by those two institutions, can be blended with the pretensions of worldly gratification. Why? Precisely because life in this particular world remains repressive and offers nothing but pseudo-gratifications."

"Smokey Bones," I said. "Aoyma Japanese Steakhouse. Outback Steakhouse. Taco Bell. Fox & Hound English Pub & Grill. Ponderosa. Red Lobster. Panda Express."

"Complacent acceptance of the status quo may also coexist with purely spectacular rebelliousness, dear Shimmy."

I can't remember the last time I fell asleep atop the tabletop hockey game under the bed.

"Ruby Tuesday. Mr. Sub. Dippin' Dots. Eat ‘n' Park. Auntie Anne's. Max & Erma's. Baskin Robbins. Pretzletown."

"Dissatisfaction itself becomes a commodity," Debord said, running his fingernail along the flint end of the match, "as soon as the economy of abundance develops the capacity to process boredom."

4 Comments:

Blogger BrianC said...

"Dissatisfaction itself becomes a commodity," Debord said, running his fingernail along the flint end of the match, "as soon as the economy of abundance develops the capacity to process boredom."

Where did you find this line . . . or did you write it yourself? I love it b/c it reflects how I've long felt about our consumer-crazed society. I may have to use it in a blog entry (hence my request for a source). Thanks.

9:09 AM  
Blogger BrianC said...

Ah, now I see that you're actually quoting Debord and not just inserting a hypothetical quotation.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Shimmy said...

Hi Brian--

Yes, Debord often speaks to me from his The Society of the Spectacle between lugubrious puffs of Gaulois!

Yours,
Shimmy

P.S. Let me know when this finds its way into your blog.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Hussein Soho said...

Society- spectacle and media. And now of course- play. Dissatisfaction is not just a commodity- it is the device. Think of GAMES. One more time, I'll kill this bad guy. One more time, I'll make that jump. One more time, I'll film the other team. What did Debord have to say of play?

6:43 AM  

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