How to talk like a Situationist

Our guide to talking like a Situationist.

Submitted by Steven. on October 12, 2006

1. Learn French. No self-respecting situationist would dream of not knowing it.

2. Always use the most obscure language possible. Get lots of big scholarly words from a dictionary and use them often.
Poor: "Things are bad."
Better: "The formative mechanism of culture amounts to a reification of human activities which fixates the living and models the transmission of experience from one generation to another on the transmission of commodities; a reification which strives to ensure the past's domination over the future."

3. In particular, the words "boredom" (as in "there's nothing they won't do to raise the standard of boredom"), "poverty" (of the university, of art), and "pleasure" are important tools in the young situationist's kit, and use of them will greatly enhance your standing in the situationist community.

4. Make frequent reference to seventy year-old art movements like Dada and Surrealism. Work the subject into your conversations as often as possible, however irrelevant.

5. Vehemently attack "The University" and "Art" whenever possible (phrases like "the scrap-heap of Art" or "the stench of Art" are particularly effective). Attend as prestigious a school as possible and make sure your circle of friends contains no less than 85% artists.

6. Cultivate a conceit and self-importance bordering on megalomania. Take credit for spontaneous uprisings in far-flung corners of the world, sneer at those who oppose or disagree with you.

7. Denounce and exclude people often. Keep your group very small and exclusive — but take it for granted that every man, woman, and child in the Western Hemisphere is intimately familiar with your work, even if no more than ten people actually are.

8. Detournement: Cut a comic strip out of the paper (serious strips like 'Terry and the Pirates' and 'Mary Worth' are preferred), and change the dialogue. Use lots of situationist language. What fun!

9. Use Marxian reverse-talk. This is a sure-fire way of alerting people to the fact that you are a situationist or are eager to become one: "the irrationality of the spectacle spectacularises rationality," "separate production as production of the separate."

10. Invoke "the proletariat," factories, and other blue-collar imagery as often as possible, but do not under any circumstances associate with or work with real proletarians. (Some acceptable situationist jobs are: student, professor, artist.)

11. By all means avoid such repugnant proletarian accoutrements as: novelty baseball hats, rock group T-shirts, 'Garfield' or 'Snoopy' posters (no matter how "political"), and vulgar American cigarettes like 'Kent' or 'Tareyton'.

NB: First published in Processed World #18 (1986). Credited to "Shoe Polish Week, 195 Garfield PI. 2-L, Brooklyn, New York 11215"

Comments

Noah Fence

10 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noah Fence on July 14, 2013

Cultivate a conceit and self-importance bordering on megalomania.

sneer at those who oppose or disagree with you.

It would appear then, that certain Libcommers are situationists.

Bon nuit comrades.

Dylan Taylor

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Dylan Taylor on February 17, 2014

How to talk like a Libcom anarchist:

Denounce and exclude any one who uses Marxian modes of expression, as we would never want to have constructive discussions with anyone who sympathises with any aspects of Marxist theory as our comrades.

rat

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rat on February 17, 2014

You're kidding, right? Maybe you mean Leninism?

Steven.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 17, 2014

Dylan Taylor

How to talk like a Libcom anarchist:

Denounce and exclude any one who uses Marxian modes of expression, as we would never want to have constructive discussions with anyone who sympathises with any aspects of Marxist theory as our comrades.

hmm think you've got the wrong website here, as we are about as much influenced by Marxism/Marxists as anarchists. And about half the content on here is by Marxists of various descriptions!

Dylan Taylor

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Dylan Taylor on February 17, 2014

I consider myself suitably chastised by Rat and Steven for jumping the gun a little with my comment - the point I was trying to make is that this post, 'How to Talk Like a Situationist,' replicates the feeling of factionalism that the Situationists are being critiqued for (a point made by Webby above), and thus doesn't come across as being all that productive.

Steven.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 17, 2014

Dylan Taylor

I consider myself suitably chastised by Rat and Steven for jumping the gun a little with my comment - the point I was trying to make is that this post, 'How to Talk Like a Situationist,' replicates the feeling of factionalism that the Situationists are being critiqued for (a point made by Webby above), and thus doesn't come across as being all that productive.

it's just a joke, dude. We've got one of the world's biggest online archives of Situationist materials as well: http://libcom.org/tags/situationist-international, http://libcom.org/tags/situationist…

Dylan Taylor

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Dylan Taylor on February 17, 2014

Clearly I need to recapture my sense of humour! Cheers for the heads-up.

Steven.

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on February 17, 2014

Ha ha no worries. I think that Webby would probably say he has changed his views on (most of) us since his comment above as well!

jef costello

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on February 17, 2014

Were you chastised for jumping the gun or did you jump the gun to be chastised?

See, I'm a proper Marxianist

Dylan Taylor

10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Dylan Taylor on February 17, 2014

Upon reflection, It's probably a case of the later. I've got to get my kicks somehow.

RubyLight6

1 month 1 week ago

Submitted by RubyLight6 on April 13, 2024

This is marvelous! I would probably have described myself as a situationist in the early 70s and this brutal critique of the S.I. brought tears of laughter to my eyes.