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This chapter confronts us with a nearly unbearable thought: that politics as such, let alone leftist political activism and revolutionary transformation, is so thoroughly futile and farcical that a certain posture of acceptance is all that is left to us. Analyzing Pasolini’s film Salò alongside his essay “Repudiation,” the chapter tracks the bewildering intensity of the demand made, and the incendiary effect created, when we begin to think the unthinkable and accept the unacceptable: that what remains of politics is nothing but the convergence of freedom and slavery, autonomy and control. In this account, Pasolini’s adaptation to the given constitutes a new, and provocatively hostile, relation to the damaged world. Pasolini’s cinematic cruelty, like his unsparingly critical essay, offers a point of departure for a thought of the worst that dwells outside politics after its utter catastrophe.

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