McKenzie Wark presents his latest book The Spectacle of Disintegration

Stunted Publicity

“If a rock falls on your head it does positive harm, but
shame, disgrace, reproaches and insults are damaging only in so far as
you’re conscious of them. If you’re not, you feel no hurt at all. What’s
the harm in the whole audience hissing [at] you if you clap [for]
yourself? And Folly alone makes this possible.” Erasmus, Praise of

“To mark the launch of McKenzie Wark’s new book The Spectacle of
Disintegration, Verso Books have offered Rhizome readers in the UK a
chance to win a 3D printed Guy Debord action figure.” (, 17
May 2013)

It seems to us that a response is necessary to this impudent and
silly provocation. Silence on the part of people like us – who have
spent many years and a great deal of effort trying to understand, enrich
and act in accordance with what remains vital and relevant in the
situationist critique of spectacular society – would only allow those
unfamiliar with, newly informed of or hostile to the legacy of Guy
Debord and the other members of the Situationist International to think
that impudent and silly provocateurs such as McKenzie Wark are the only
ones who are interested in this legacy today.

But what kind of response is called for in this instance? Let’s look
at two of them: one might respond seriously, and denounce it sincerely
and violently; or one might respond facetiously, and pretend not to be
outraged by it (one might even pretend to find it amusing). There are
advantages to both approaches: the first would have the merit of showing
that not everyone in this world is a silly twat who thinks that life is
but a joke; while the second would have the merit of being easier on the
writer (there are so many outrages these days and it can be hard to be
outraged by all of them all the time). And of course there are
disadvantages to each of these approaches: the first one carries the
risks of being dismissed as evidence that one doesn’t “have a sense of
humor” or that one sees oneself as the exclusive holder of the “the
truth” about Debord and the situs, and thus a kind of authoritarian;
while the second one might very well encourage the perpetration of
other, even more impudent and silly provocations.

So we have chosen a response that allows us to both laugh and tell
the truth about this stunted publicity for Wark’s newest book. The
class-consciousness of our era has made sufficient progress to demand,
using its own means, an accounting from the pseudo-specialists of its
history who continue to eke out a living by exploiting its

19 May 2013

Brendan Boehning (Danish Society for Comparative Vandalism, Denmark) Bill
Brown (NOT
BORED! USA) Anthony Hayes (Notes From the Sinister Quarter, Australia) Alastair
Hemmens (Marblepunk
, England) Grant McDonagh (Ultrazine, New