Dante Alighieri’s COVID-19

person-wearing-mask“‘Lasciate ogni Speranza, voi ch’entrate.’ Abandon all hope, ye who enter.

“The words inscribed on the gates of hell, according to Dante Alighieri in the Divina Commedia, could be the best way to describe the tumultuous year we have experienced so far…

“The COVID-19 world crisis has shed light into how broken some systems are, how a social net would have helped the ‘most developed country in the world’ be the hero it is in the Hollywood movies.

“Instead, residents of the United States find themselves trapped in a hell only known to them and a select group of countries, like Brazil and Mexico. We currently have no Virgil that will guide us through the complex planes of hell. At this rate, Dante would have never gotten out of the Inferno to ever meet the concentric circles of the Paradiso.” []    –Jorge Luis Galvez Vallejo, Iowa State Daily, July 30, 2020

COVID-19: Indians Going Through Nine Circles of Hell

“Akin to how characters in Dante’s poem paid for their sins in hell, Indians are paying with their lives during a pandemic for electing a government that is utterly incompetent and bigoted. [. . .]

“Dante and his imaginary guide Virgil were travelling through nine circles of hell on their way to heaven. Hell was used as a metaphor for human suffering for sins committed on earth. Although the punishment was severe, Dante’s poem portrayed them as fair and proportionate to the sins committed. The sufferings in India are not imaginary, but real, taking place while people are still alive, and most importantly, whatever their sins are, the fairness and proportionately of the punishments are definitely questionable. Yet the reference is fair and this column is designed to explain why.

“India is now in the proverbial ‘Ante-Inferno’ with a clear inscription written all over her, ‘Abandon all hope, you who enter here.’ India is now the case study of ‘what not to do’ in a pandemic, thanks to the conceit, egotism, and self-approbation of the Modi government.” [. . .]    –Debasish Chakraborty, The Wire, May 20, 2021

“The Forum: Dante’s Inferno: The Poetry of Hell”

the-forum-dantes-inferno-poetry-of-hell-2018“Inferno is the 14th century epic that tells the story of Dante Alighieri’s imaginary journey through the underworld. It is the first part of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest poems.

“Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here, is the famous phrase inscribed on the gates of Dante’s Inferno. Here Hell is divided into nine circles, with cruel and unusual punishments afflicting the sinners – who range from the lustful and cowardly in the upper circles to the malicious and fraudulent at the bottom of Hell.

“Joining Rajan Datar to explore the ideas and legacy of Dante’s Inferno is Dr Vittorio Montemaggi, author of Reading Dante’s Commedia as Theology; Claire Honess, Professor of Italian studies at the University of Leeds, and Sangjin Park, Professor of Comparative Literature at Busan University in South Korea, who will be speaking about the increasing popularity of Dante in his country and the role Inferno played in shaping Korea’s national identity.” [. . .]    —BBC, February 27, 2018.

The Inferno Steak

chef-boldek-2013-the-inferno-steak“I decided to create my own hellish steak recipe.  I immediately drew inspiration from outside of the culinary world: the first part of the 14th century poem, Divine Comedy.  Also known as Inferno, this part was written by Dante Alighieri to document the descent into hell.  That descent began at the gates of hell, which bore an inscription that ended with the words: ‘Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”, or ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’  That sounded like a fitting beginning for a hellish steak recipe.  After passing through the gates, Dante made his way through nine circles of suffering — Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery — with each circle representing a gradual increase in wickedness.
“The nine circles got me to thinking.  Many people think of eating chiles as a kind of suffering … with the heat and piquancy causing sweating and discomfort.  I decided to use nine different chiles to represent the nine circles of suffering, with each subsequent chile being more ‘wicked’ (or spicier) than the last.” [. . .]    —Chef Bolek, January 2, 2013.

Blue Moon Burgers’ Halloween Special

blue-moon-halloween-special-2020“‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…’

“Helping people feel good about making bad choices – it’s what we do here at Blue Moon Burgers. And we’ve got the perfect thing to help you through Halloween – we call it ‘Dante’s Inferno’

“Just as the exiled poet Dante made his voyage through the Nine Circles of Suffering/Hell, the Boys at Blue Moon Burgers are ready to help guide you through the Third Circle (gluttony!) with a spicy temptation offered all day/evening on October 31.

“The centerpiece of the Dante’s Inferno meal is our El Diabo Azul, a devilish burger coated with cayenne and cumin seasoning, topped with deep-fried jalapeno bottlecaps, pepper jack cheese and our spicy buffalo sauce. Fresh lettuce and housemade Pico de Gallo on a delicious Grand Central Bakery bun finish off this burner of a burger.

“The Diablo’s running mate is a full-order of our Jalapeno Bottlecaps,  which are floured and deep fried to a perfect crunch, and served with our own spicy buffalo sauce.

“Then to cool you off, we include a pint of one of our great beers on tap – or if you’d rather stay in the spirit of things (and off the spirits!), you can have a Pumpkin Pie Shake instead.  Whichever flies your broomstick is fine with us.

“There you have it – our Dante’s Inferno – offered Oct 31 only, at the special price of $10.31 – a devil of a deal!!!  There’s no punishment for gluttony here at Blue Moon Burgers…”    —Blue Moon Burgers.

The 5 Levels of NFL Draft Hell

5-levels-of-nfl-draft-zito-madu-2020

“The language of sports is full of jargon used to signal inclusion. Being in on the dialect indicates expertise — being someone who lives in and understands traditions. Jargon can also act as a replacement for original thought and provides a way to anesthetize the speaker and their audience from the human realities and consequences of sports. The conversation around the NFL Draft demonstrates this power of jargon in shaping the idea of football and its athletes: We’ve begun looking at players and their bodies through the cliches and expressions they are confined to.

“Terms like ‘elite,’ ‘draft stock,’ and ‘big board’ are used by experts and fans to signal belonging. Players are reduced to ambiguous descriptors, like ‘gunslinger’ and ‘winner.’ More troublesome, this path of reduction and obscurement leads to whitewashing a history of domestic violence as ‘character concerns,’ homosexuality dismissed as a ‘distraction,’ and black athletes portrayed as monsters and brutes. ‘Freak’ and ‘machine’ are treated as endearing descriptions, and the suspicion that a black quarterback can’t ‘read a defense’ tries to hide the racist idea that black people are not as smart as their white counterparts.

“This corrupted language leads to corrupted thinking. The banality of most jargon, in making sure to hide reality behind doublespeak, inevitably escalates to lightly coded bigotry. Jargon lets old prejudices and racist tropes run amok, disguised as sporting truths. To help untangle these euphemisms, we created a glossary to decode NFL evaluations, separated by levels of nefariousness that even Dante would appreciate. And in that spirit, let us take you on a journey …” [. . .]    –Zito Madu & Charles Mcdonald, Sbnation, 2018

Weather in Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 2021

CARROT Weather app for iOS

Ahayweh Gate – Descent II

“Ahayweh Gate, the first level, is named for the phrase ‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here’ from Dante’s Divine Comedy.”    —ClassicReload, January 7, 2016

Learn more about Parallax Software’s 1996 video game Dark Descent II here.

“WWE Extreme Rules 2020: 5 Important Details You Probably Missed From the Wyatt Swamp Fight”

“When Braun Strowman arrived at the Swamp, there was a sign that read ‘Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here’ which could be a hint about the Firefly Fun House.”    –Phillipa Marie, Sportskeeda, July 20, 2020

CIX, Hello Chapter 3: Hello, Strange Time (2020)

See the video teaser trailer here 

Contributed by Justin Meckes