'All my life I have seen only troubled times, extreme divisions in society, and immense destruction; I have taken part in these troubles' - Guy Debord. Guy Debord is one of the 20th Century's most prophetic critics. His bestselling work, "Society of the Spectacle", decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism, and everyday life. Since his suicide in 1994, the accuracy and pertinence of his writings on those troubled times is ever more apparent. "A Sick Planet" brings together three of his key essays. "The Rise and Fall of the "Spectacular" Commodity - Economy" is an analysis of the Watts riots in Los Angeles in the summer of 1965, when much of the city's black population fought thousands of police and National Guard for several days. "The Explosion Point of Ideology in China" examines and celebrates the decomposition of bureaucratic power and its ideology in China. "A Sick Planet" presents an extremely prescient polemic on global environmental degradation.
Guy Debord was an experimental film-maker, essayist and cultural critic, founder and autocratic head of the Situationist International, ideologue and activist. His text The Society of the Spectacle, also made into a film, remains today one of the great theoretical works on modern-day capital, cultural imperialism, and the role of mediation in social relationships. After the dissolution of the Situationist International, Debord was tangentially implicated in the assassination of his friend and publisher Gerard Lebovici. The accusations infuriated Debord, and he consequently prohibited the showing of his films in France during his lifetime. Debord continued writing, and in 1989 he published his Commentaries on the Society of the Spectacle, arguing that everything he wrote in 1967 was still true, with one major exeception: the society of the spectacle had reached a new form, that of the integrated spectacle. The prospect of overturning the society of the spectacle seemed more unlikely than ever. In December of 1994, at the age of 62, Debord killed himself. The French press, who had always repudiated the significance of the Situationist International, suddenly made him a celebrity. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith
1. The Rise and Fall of the 'Spectacular' Commodity-Economy 2. The Explosion Point of Ideology in China3. A Sick Planet