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on April 29, 2003
Guy Debord was a major figure in the student revolutions of 1968 Paris -- a French Abbie Hoffman, if you will, albeit far more intellectual ... as the French are wont to be. This is his major work, and it's definitely worth a read if you want to understand the '68 revolutions.
Some of Debord's ideas were interesting: his conception of the Spectacle is definitely thought-provoking. On the other hand, he's no Michel Foucault, and at times his material feels as dated as love beads and Be-Ins. His rigid Marxist slant doesn't help: he tries time and again to shoehorn postmodern society into a framework which is more applicable to the early Industrial era from whence it sprung. (Of course, during this time just about EVERY French academic was a Marxist ... )
Debord is a relatively quick read: he's nowhere near so impenetrable as Baudrillard, and he's definitely a skilled polemicist. This is an enjoyable work (if you enjoy French philosophers, that is), but it's not a particularly substantial one. Like the *SCUM Manifesto* and *Steal this Book*, it's a product of its culture, more important as a historical monument than as a philosophical treatise.
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