Pushy Salesmen

a beautiful sunset with text from the letter

Raoul Vaneigem gracefully declines an invitation to join the "Writers' Union". From Internationale Situationniste #12 (September 1969).

Submitted by Fozzie on April 18, 2023

In June 1968, Vaneigem received a circular from the "Writers' Union" that proposed, quite simply, that he join them, asking whether he wanted to "participate in the work of the professional commission (PC), the ideological commission (IC), or both," and if he would like to send thirty francs to Jean-Pierre Faye.1 He responded immediately with the following letter:

Pigs! Festering dregs from some intellectual's urinal! Morons! The stench of your own decomposition must have gone to your head for you to wind up asking a situationist to join the lowest of your filthy little gangs. You are the most pitiful bastards in twenty years of misery and lies. We know who you are, you fuck-ups.

Among other things, what just occurred in France has brought into the open the shameful worthlessness of your era. But even so, you doormats persist in thinking there is still a bit of spit left for you to capitalize on by making people talk about you again, by re-petitioning, by reconstituting yourselves into ideological commissions and what-not, by applying for the concierge's room in the House of Men of Letters.

Imbiciles! You are all as hackneyed as your Bourguibaist Duvignaud,2 as your unspeakable Sartre, as your ridiculous Faye, who aspires to count the pennies in your little treasury.

You'll realize soon that the time for such jokes is nearly over. The times are changing, and yours is just about up. We'll be seeing you, you pricks.

Translated by Reuben Keehan. From https://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/salesmen.html

  • 1Jean-Pierre Faye (b.1925), French poet, playwright, novelist and essayist, member of Tel Quel and founder of Change.
  • 2Jean Duvignaud (b.1921), French playwright and social anthropologist, Arguments contributer and supporter of gradualist Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba (1903-2000).