“REVIEW: Taco Bell Diablo Sauce”

“Taco Bell has opened a gate to hell. Proof: “Bell” rhymes with “hell.” Convenient. Seven layer burrito? Nine circles of hell. And there are actually nine layers if you count the tortilla and the Pepto Bismol that is actually essential. And latest of all, they’ve introduced Diablo sauce. Diablo, for the Latin-impaired, is Spanish for the mother-bleeping Devil. Maybe some of you know Diablo as “Stop playing that computer game and come to bed,” but for non-nerds they aren’t even trying to hide it. It’s called Devil sauce. Taco Bell has conjured El Diablo and is feeding us its hot fluids.

“Other hell ties: The Devil is, like, half goat and Taco Bell does NOT serve goat because then we would be eating the Devil’s relatives; “run for the (south) border” can be simplified to “run south” and south (down) is where hell is; and somehow they consider cinnamon Cheetos a dessert. Unholy.”   –Kevin, The Impulsive Buy, 2015

Read the full review here.

REVIEWED: Dante’s Inferno: A Verse Translation by Sean O’Brien

“At least 50 English translations of The Inferno — the first volume of Dante’s three-part epic — have appeared in the 20th century alone. And now we have another, by the Yorkshire-born poet Sean O’Brien. O’Brien’s is a brave undertaking, given the scores of august literary figures who have attempted the task in previous centuries, often obscuring Dante’s brilliance in the process.

“O’Brien’s Inferno is touted by the publishers as ‘the most fluent, grippingly readable English version of Dante yet’.”   –Ian Thomson, The Spectator, 2006

Read the full review here.

“Dante’s Inferno and Governor Good Hair”

“Dante wrote his famous work in a day when pundits could not openly attack the powers that be in columns such as this for fear of their lives.  Well thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution I’m somewhat protected in what I can say about our contemporary politicians.  I’m somewhat limited because I cannot defame or slander anyone; I can, however, make fun of them as I describe their foibles and fumblings.

“Anyway, I digress.  Dante wrote his very descriptive poem describing Hell (The Inferno) as being constructed of many layers.  The lower you descended the worse the conditions were.  The sinner who passed away was assigned to the specific layer reserved for those with similar sins and the worse the sins the lower the level.

“Interestingly enough Dante placed politicians in the lowest levels where those who lied, committed treachery, fraud and treason against the state.  I couldn’t figure where Governor Good Hair exactly belonged because he has been guilty of so many infractions.  So, I stuck him in both levels.”   —Mary Mata, News Taco, 2014

Read the full article here.

“CARLTON FLETCHER: Finding the proper circle in Dante’s hell for the deserving”

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“In the classic poem “The Divine Comedy,” finished in 1320 by Italian poet Dante Alighieri, Dante made note of the nine circles of hell that he visited during what had to have been a fever dream.

“In doing so, Dante left the perfect vehicle for we mere mortals centuries later to assign the likes of those with whom we’re at odds or others whose abhorrent behavior we find particularly egregious. So, as we close out this most contentious of years — a year we might dump as a whole into the first circle of Dante’s hell — here are a few nominees for various levels of the poet’s underworld.”   —Carlton Fletcher, Albany Herald, 2020
See the full article here.

“Sin’s Entertainment: On Dante’s Inferno”

“Dante’s descriptions of his imagined underworld creep right into that part of the mind which simply cannot shake off the willies. Children know that the scariest things are those we dream up in response to a few well-placed hints—and Dante is nothing if not a master of the beautifully dropped, deeply unnerving suggestion.
“Dante’s Inferno is far better known to most American readers than Purgatorio and Paradiso, the other two canticles of his immense Commedia Divina or Divine Comedy. And for good reason: sin’s more entertaining than grace. L’Inferno has been widely and variously translated into English, and weighing in on the results has become, over the years, a kind of literary sport. Fierce admirers and equally fierce detractors of John Ciardi, C.S. Singleton, and Robert Pinsky (among others) have tossed the football of judgment up and down the field; no one wins the game, but it’s lively and fun to watch.”   –Martha Cooley, AWP, 2009

Read the full article here.

“Dante’s Inferno-Identity Politics in Morality”

“As a quick rundown of the circles of hell, from least bad to worst, there’s: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and finally Treachery. Now what’s particularly interesting here is that, according to Dante, it would seem to be worse to be a flatterer or a corrupt politician than a murderer. Misrepresenting your stances about people or politics is bad bad bad in Dante’s book.

“More interesting still is the inner-most circle: Treachery. Treachery seems to represent a particular kind of fraud: one in which the victim is expected to have some special relationship to the perpetrator. For instance, family members betraying each other seems to be worse than strangers doing similar harms. In general, kin are expected to behave more altruistically towards each other, owing in no small part to the fact that they share genes in common with one another. Helping one’s kin, in the evolutionary-sense of things, is quite literally like helping (part of) yourself. So if kin are expected to trade off their own welfare for family members at a higher rate than they would for strangers, but instead display the opposite tendency, this makes kin-directed immoral acts appear particularly heinous.”   –Jesse Marczyk Ph. D., Psychology Today, 2014

Read the full article here.

“How Dante and Virgil Can Guide Recovery From Mental Illness”

“In the epic poem ‘The Inferno,’ written by Dante Aligheri in the 14th century, the author journeys through ‘hell’ and is escorted by the great poet Virgil. Virgil is from the otherworld and can walk with Dante as a fellow traveller and let him experience the catastrophic existential restructuring to foundationally change a life, and, eventually, show him a way back to the world. This relationship model is not a treatment program or an informed guess but rather guidance based on a shared suffering.

“What is different in a Dante/Virgil relationship is that the roles are interchangeable. On some journeys of the self, you may be Dante or you may be Virgil, depending on your experience and the issue. Your suffering has utility.”   –Eric Arauz, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Learning Network, 2014

Read the full article here.

Jasmine Serna’s Measuring Love with Cups

“One of the most profound ways I’ve learned to see the world is based off a lesson in a class I took about Dante’s The Divine Comedy. My professor Dr. Glyer was explaining Dante’s vision of heaven in Paradiso.

“She brought up many different sized cups to the front of the classroom — some were tall and skinny, others short and wide, some small, others big. She explained that the cups represented each person’s capacity to love. The bigger the cup, the bigger the capacity to love.

“She explained that our cups were always changing while we’re alive. All of our little daily actions — from returning an item someone dropped, to listening to a friend in need, to showing patience for children — increase or decrease our cup size.

“Then she explained that in Dante’s spheres of heaven, the cup size we end up with at the end of our lives determines where we’ll end up in heaven. No matter our cup size, though, all of our cups will be completely full.”   –Jasmine Serna, Medium, 2019

Beyond The Inferno by Alex L. Moretti

“What if the fires of ancient love burned so strong you’d traverse three realms of the afterlife in a bid to save mankind from spiritual destruction, for one last kiss with your dead lover? Even if it was she who plunged you into the depths of Hell, the terrifying, blazing Inferno, to witness the punishment of sin in all its barbarity, cruelty and horror. While you were still alive…”   –Beyond the Inferno, Alex L. Moretti, 2020

Alex L. Moretti’s Beyond the Inferno is a novelization of Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

See our post on Moretti’s essay here.

Franz von Bayros’ Illustration of Inferno 14

XOT361807 Illustration from Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, Inferno, Canto XIV. 28, 1921 (w/c on paper) by Bayros, Franz von (Choisy Le Conin) (1866-1924); Private Collection; German, out of copyright