Greil Marcus has written extensively about the history of punk rock in the UK and the US. It is a happy coincidence that he starts us of on our readings regarding the SI this week. In his book, "Lipstick Traces" he posits that the punk rock movement is a direct and natural outgrowth of the situationists. After reading more about the SI, I am beginning to connect the dots myself.
Fed up with every day life and the bourgeois cultural usurpation of everything at one time deemed radical, the situationists sought to create settings in which authenticity, new emotions and understandings would be discovered. Whole cities were planned by members of the SI, designed with the intention of it's citizens playing games and discovering things about their neighbors they never knew, they never knew. Utopian playgrounds with climate controlled gardens, as proposed by Constant, were the answer to the crisis in social relations in urban centers. All in the name of a radical break with consumptive capitalism.
In my view this is a very "pie in the sky" approach to undoing the passivity (or as some argue the consumptive activation) and questionable morals propagated by the spectacle. However, the SI stands as a fresh & radical break with everything. For all the criticism they have received over the years, one can see how their genuine reflections on a morally bankrupt society were at one time so alluring. They hated the careerist intellectuals! They hated the rule makers! They hated advertisement! They hated on everyone! "The fact is that the writing the the situationists left behind makes almost all present-day political and aesthetic thinking seem cowardly, self-protecting, careerist and satisfied. It remains a means to the recovery of ambition." -G.M. (Pg 18)
I've got television
I've got supervision
No decisions for you
Media Blitz-Media Blitz
Immediate hits we rule!
(all citations came from Guy Debord and the Situationist International)