The Society of the Spectacle

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.’
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