The Society of the Spectacle


| April 24, 2002


The Society of the Spectacle, Ken Knabb, Bureau of Public Secrets
Ken Knabb, in his new translation of Guy Debord's book The Society of the Spectacle, aims to more accurately portray the thoughts of the self-proclaimed founder of the 1950s French Situationist movement--a revolution that challenged capitalism's stifling of public creativity. The book was, in part, Debord's analysis of cultural transformation in light of the changes taking place in France, and Knabb says that his translation is 'Not an ivory-tower academic or philosophical discourse. It is an effort to clarify the nature of the society in which we find ourselves and the advantages and drawbacks of various methods of changing it.' Knabb puts forth a concise, chapter-by-chapter depiction of the book, and gives an overall impression of Debord's message--one that remains relevant today: 'The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual deception produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized.'
--Julie Madsen
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