In his "Translator's Notes" to the Situationist International Anthology, Ken Knabb writes: "pro-situ: pejorative term referring to followers (passive or active) of the SI." In the words of the SI itself, a pro-situ is one who lacks "cohabitation with their own practice" (Debord, "Remarks on the SI Today"), one who has not applied his or her own theory "in the very activity of the formulation of that theory or in the general conditions of its struggle" (Debord, "Untitled Text"). Elsewhere (in his "Remarks on Contradiction and Its Failure"), Knabb writes: "There is hardly a thesis in the Debord-Sanguinetti portrait of the pro-situ where I do not recognize myself -- in the past and far too much right now!" I think this is an extraordinarily honest remark. Anybody who reads the texts the situationists left behind and is inspired to attempt something similar -- and this (of course) includes myself -- starts out as a pro-situ. The serious attempt to "do something similar" to what the SI did must start out with the recognition of this starting point before it can proceed. My criticisms of the Feederz, Bob Black (of the Last International) and Dan Todd (of AntiAuthoritarian Anonymous) are based on the belief that these men have repressed the fact that they are pro-situs. Their misogyny, hostility to students, and total refusal to take seriously any criticisms of them flows from this basic repression.
1) In an article reprinted from The Free Beer Press (POB 1513, Kalamazoo MI 49005), an unidentified writer announced, without the slightest touch of sarcasm, "I'll back you up in anything you attempt, be it shows, ads, or (especially) killing Madonna." And this immediately after claiming that "I don't need to slice up my 'friends' or my enemies to make myself feel complete"! In a world in which women are routinely beaten, raped and killed, I see nothing funny about a proposal to kill Madonna, even if it was made sarcastically and Madonna is terribly annoying. Kill power, I said, not people.2) In an article explaining and defending Bob Black's campaign against the San Franciscan magazine Processed World, an unidentified member of AntiAuthoritarians Anonymous (POB 11331, Eugene OR 97440) (who later identified himself as Dan Todd) felt compelled to describe the situation in the following manner: "Those familiar with CHRLA (the Council for Human Rights in Latin America) will appreciate the similarity to the PW (Processed World) operation. At the center of both groups one finds a dominatrix with money, surrounded by a core of loyal executants, depending on a large group of volunteers doing the shit work and largely kept in the dark." My objection was that it was unnecessary (and no doubt inaccurate) to call these women dominatrixes. A "dominatrix" is a slang expression referring to women who sexually dominate sex. Given that the in question dominate their followers by means other than the sexual, Dan Todd's use of the word "dominatrix" in this context was metaphorical. My suggestion was that Todd should refrain from such metaphors, because they are of a piece with the radical Right to the extent that they encourage people to define women (solely) by their sexuality. Once they are defined by their sexuality, women can be controlled by the (male) administrators of sexuality -- the doctors, the psychoanalysts and the rapists.3) In "The Correct Line," its parody of dogmatism, The Last International (2000 Center St. #1314, Berkeley CA 94704) (later identified as Bob Black) lined up two columns if "Incorrect" and "correct." But all (except one) of the 33 items in the "Correct" list were Sadean, situationist or Reichian catch-phrases: sedition (not sedation), after-hours parties (not vanguard parties); playing (not praying); sex (not sects); erotics (not neurotics), etc. Thus Black's piece ended up reinforcing dogmatism rather than negating it. Significantly, the only item in the "Correct" list that wasn't "correct" concerned female sexuality: whores (not wars). My objection was that prostitution and those whose job it is, unlike sedition, after-hours-parties, playing, etc., are thoroughly imbued with commodity relations. The concept of "whores" is unreconstructed (or undeconstructed) and thus cannot be translated as is into the corpus of Sadean, situationist, Reichian discourse.
Your point is not well-taken re: our use of the word 'dominatrix,' meaning a woman as aspires to dominate or does so in fact. Why does this choice of words offend your sensibilities? The only pertinent question here is: do Link and Manning [CHRLA and PW, respectively] in fact dominate their milieus and willing subjects? Since you indicate no first-hand knowledge of either of them, you must assume in the abstract that to call a woman a 'dominatrix' is a slur of some sort. What sort of half-assed sub-liberal feminism is this? Don't you accept that women -- given the opportunity and inclination -- have shown equal aptitude in dominating those they can? For someone who presumes to write about Sade, it seems to me you've missed one of the essential truths: women can be just as cruel as men.
You're damn right about my total rejection of you. It wasn't instantaneous, however, as you claim: it took two letters to convince me you had shit for brains, and your last letter only confirmed it. I didn't need your fucking credit to begin with, and the modifications in one area you wanted to see we dealt with extensively in my previous letters: namely a patient explanation of why 'dominatrix' accurately described the two people under discussion. You would whimper about the tone of my letter, since you have no substantive ground to stand anymore. You can only snivel that Manning/Link shouldn't be described in sexual terms. You're really a precious little shit!
It's been fun kicking you around, but it's so easy it's starting to feel like child molesting. If you bother to write again, don't expect an answer. You can have the last word and the last laugh.
It's no big deal -- stand 'em on their heads they all look the same -- but I'd lay off hassling the whores as politically incorrect, they have enough problems, and the two I've known intimately flatly deny the feminist/USA Today consensus that prostitution (even from their point of view) "has little to do with sex." Another convenient myth bites the dust. If is agreeable to your leftist morals you can put the johns in the incorrect column, but lay off the ladies (of the night), okay? Any other move smacks of misogyny, a la the dykes and other prurient feminists who wish to suppress prostitution -- but not out of any generalized opposition to commodity relations, no way! -- but because, so long as there are hookers around, sometimes straight-laced feminists are mistaken for whores and this error oppresses them. Life is tough. As I once asked, 'Why won't these women get in bed with any man except the DA?'
Why don't you send me your thing so I can go on the offensive?
No, no, you misunderstand me on whores, to begin at start, my text, which you persist in investing with a precision far from it, said "whores" (who are people) were "correct," not that prostitution (which is a social relation) was correct. I've sung your commodity-relations tune on prostitution for at least a decade, and I still know the score, but what relevance for practice it has when real whores, pimps and john sashay across the phenomenal field is not so clear.
Sonny, I'm going to tell you a thing or two before I send you to bed without supper. Your invective is puerile, stilted and above all, bookish. I know your type. You think the way to put yourself on the avant-critical map is to play king-of-the-mountain with your betters. Just a friendly word of avuncular wisdom: you're not in Ann Arbor any more, and if you don't curb your tongue, the next recipient of your learned, negativist billingsgate might not make allowance for your distinguished intellectual ancestry and might known your teeth out.
I would not be rejoining you in the sandlot but for my genuine gratitude for the belly-laugh I owe you thanks to Dan Todd sending on your exchange with him. It is the same pseudo-sit scat-scam you tried on me. See Billy write. See Billy bid defiance to the old world and all of its rules! See Billy apply hermeneutics to "The Correct Line," mistaking it for Parmenides. (That's a book by Plato. He was Greek.) See Billy go-by-the-book -- namely, the dictionary. But see Billy flunk the test of his own devising, for, lo! "dominatrix" is in the dictionary: try the OED ("A female dominator; mistress, lady"). Go buy the book. And if it was "obsolete" a few decades ago it is all the rage today.
Laddy, I'm not very old but I haven't had to be to see your kind come and go quicker than ducks at an arcade. You're a 90 pound weakling resentful of men who can pump irony. I wouldn't surmise that you're pussy-whipped, but I think you'd like to be. At best your published tracts are Situationism 101 take-home exams, but you are rarely at your best. I regret I cannot tutor you any further, mindful as I am of Diogenes' query: "Why not beat the teacher when the pupil misbehaves?" So beat it, runt.