Greed and Gluttony of Sexual Domination, Consumption/ Appropriation/Self-expansion and the Psychological Need For Being Entertained/Megalomaniacal Self-engrossment – In Fascism and Post-Democracy

In the middle of the 70s Pasolini was inspired to combine his creative inspirations by juxtaposing his retrospective vision of Italian Republic of Salo (1945) and his “futuristic” vision of post-modern “construction” named US (at the end of the 20th century) warming up towards the flowering of its “high-tech” in the new century. Today’s totalitarianism establishes itself not only by one single ideology for everyone as did the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany or USA with its money-making and private wealth-building propaganda and austerity for the majority.

Pasolini was “impressed” not only by the importance of sexual domination in Salo and in the post-modern democracies and its versatility including insistent (obsessive) practices of pedophilia, but also the common fact in the Fascist Republic of Salo and the “democratic” post-modernity of simultaneously living in peace and making wars. In the Salo people live violently but majority didn’t participate in wars and have little interest for it, and so are developed Western countries prone to make wars and yet enjoy living in peace at the same time. It is confusing and gives people the chance to feel that it’s possible and even “cool” to be belligerent and democratically peaceful at the same time – to be tough but tolerant – a psychological combination which is a part of the American soul.

Conservatism tends to imply the naturalness of inequality and domination on the one hand and friendliness and familiarity on the other at the same time. It is emphasizing the possibility of the distant bonds between billionaires and the homeless. The distance of indifference allows people with opposing interests to live “together” – it’s as if people need each other because they can exploit (use) or hope to use (exploit) one another. They feel that it’s healthy to have – a pragmatic (cool) togetherness. That’s why Fascist leaders in Pasolini’s film need the young girls and boys. They need them not only because they want to sexually possess their bodies, but because they want to have their collaboration in letting their bodies be used/exploited. These sophisticated fascists need the presence of victims’ collaboration in their own exploitation – the agreement of the used/exploited in being exploited. They need girls-boys’ volunteerism, they need their mind agreeing with them being exploited. In other words – they need girls-boys to be co-exploiters of themselves! That’s why the fascist leaders of Salo created a final assessment of the quality of girls-boys’ sexual collaboration and severe punishment for non-collaboration. The collaboration in being exploited is the vital point of fascist pedagogy in Salo and the basic principle of post-modern economy as a sucking of private profit.

It is, as if, it should be some friendship – a certain buddy-buddy familiarity, degree of mutual understanding between exploiters and exploited. Only then exploitation works as non-exploitation at all, but as a free-choice democratic arrangement of an emotionally positive collaboration between sides. It’s necessary to be able to love your sexual boss (in Salo) or your employer (in post-modern economy) – only then you will be appreciated and rewarded. For the leaders of the followers it is not enough to follow – it’s necessary to admire the leader. That is the real motto (in Salo) and vital custom in a “post-democratic” societies. Symbolism of financial incentive-reward is not enough. The multiple and passionate loyalty is needed. Despotism as love doesn’t have limits as despotism, as love as admiration and loyalty. That’s also why despotic greed is limitless. That’s why people who are working for billion dollar companies are greedy for a higher and higher salaries – it’s because their companies are greedy for more billions. It is like in Salo – the mutuality between the boss and his loyal admirer.

For a leader it’s not enough that those who worship him are ready to die for him – the leader expects that his worshipper ultimately wants… to use him as well. If love is not including exploitation – there is no mutuality in love. Of course, money reward is not enough. It’s supposed to be disinterested – absolute love on the both sides. That’s why exploitation itself is greedy and insatiable – it cannot be satisfied if the greed of the exploited is not present. Jean Janet in his “Maids” analyzed this phenomenon through. Greed on both sides is a synonym of mutuality. That’s why in Salo some of the humiliated and exploited youths of both genders try to put up and go through everything including the impossible in order to be rewarded at the end, while others are ready to be tortured and finally killed rather than to serve their bodies and wills voluntarily. Refutation of passionate greed is a revolution which asserts freedom and with it the tender relativity of love free of possessiveness.

As the humanistic sociology and social wisdom have it – conservatism is a greed, inequality and domination, while democracy is equality and mutual respect. Can you have mutual respect between billionaires and homeless and the hungry? It seems like in US, like in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia it is possible. Not only possible but respectable. Not only respectable but admirable. It looks that austerity can create admiration on part of those who are punished by austerity, a passionate idealized love for the strong and wealthy creators of austerity who respect the poor’s ability to tolerate humiliation and torments because of loyalty and… love. “Love in spite of…” can be observed not only among young recruits, but also among the over-loyal patriots mixing patriotism with soil and generals’ uniforms. To die for the master who sends you to die is for a masochistic – amorous absolute greed – as sweet as for those who believe in the teary pathos of immortality based on belief in people’s eternal (grateful) memory.

Collaboration between antagonistic partners – strong and wealthy on the one side and people with limited rights – is what allows the republic of Salo and post-modernist and “democratic” arrangements live together, although emotionally distantly. Revolutions are impossible in economically unequal “distant” togetherness. Salo and postmodern democracies (where rich and poor, the dominant and dominated ones are trying to collaborate) based on intimacy of inequality can prosper, although it’s traumatic for the subdued and the exploited ones. It’s traumatic although it gives the weak the chance to survive. Sexual and economic inequality is irrationally attractive for the week side, because it unconsciously appeals to the human emotional greed – it stimulates it. Statistics of divorce in today’s US is, perhaps, the simplest and the most elementary illustration of this fact. The side that is ready to divorce finds s/herself in pseudo-leadership position, while victims of divorce feel painfully frustrated and abandoned. These people are coming through the same conflict as the masters and victims of sexual domination or exploiters and exploited.

Sexuality as part of consumerism and entertainment (based on expansionistic self-enlargement characterizing the American way of life as slightly but substantially different from that of the European) is the economic cradle of exploitation and its acceptance by the exploited. To consume (to appropriate, possess and self-inflate) and to be entertained (served by amusement) – are the most basic and the most flattering forms of pop-satisfaction and self-aggrandizement. According to Pasolini, Salo despotism or post-modern exploitation on part of so called democratic economies are the ultimate examples of coexistence of exploiters and the exploited (when the both categories of people have their disappointments but also their satisfactions), and when the deprivations of the exploited were possible to tolerate. Consumerism and entertainment which Pasolini depicts in “Salo” as a part of sexual relations are of the same type as in today’s post-democracies.

Sexual domination, consumption as the way of life and entertainment as a chronic demand of the hollowed out human souls are forms of social pathology reinforced by the technological might and economic orientation. These seemingly innocent vices are exaggerated, despotic and self-serving. They create from human beings a self-centered monsters who transform life into a chaotically happy cornucopia of impulsive and devastating fraudom-freedoms.