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Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord - Help!!


TRIBE Member
I have to write a 3 pager response to the first 3 chapters. but damn, is it ever hard to grasp!

anyone have any experience with this reading?

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Well-Known TRIBEr
What specifically? I did some readings about him but not the actual book itself.

Apparently he's Kalle Lasn (Adbusters founder)'s hero. He talks about him a lot in his book.


TRIBE Promoter

I haven't read the text for many years and I don't want to open a can of worms here, but If you do some general research on the Situationist International and the May 1968 Riots in Paris that should help you coast through Debord. The text is essentially about capitalism as distraction and advocates all kinds of "unscripted" rebellions to reclaim the city, the body, and our lives. Debord was kingpin of the SI and the movement still resonates today (anti-globalization anyone?), performance art, flash mobs, etc.. so I suggest you do some homework on the SI, smoke some hash and use a map of New York to navigate around Toronto, this will help you get into character.

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TRIBE Member
i think one of the easiest to grasp and sink your teeth into is the fourth thesis: "the spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images". from a visual arts perspective you might want to discuss the rise of an image saturated society, phantasmagoria as a consequence of urban spectacle, and overall the socio-cultural-economic powers that combine to weave the debordian notion of spectacle.

and blah blah blah

debord was also a pretty interesting experimental flimmaker and there's a film of the same name that would make an excellent viewing companion for your work.

ultimately, he's dense, not because he's really that rigorous a theorist, but like mcluhan, a bit of a rambling madman with great nuggets of genius tossed in amongst his probes.

grab a few that resonate with you and just write around them.

don't dig too deep though, or you might end up shooting yourself in the heart like ol' guy debord.