Prohibition Tunnel, SF Artist and Craftsman Supply

SF-Artist-Craftsman-SupplyThe entrance to an old prohibition tunnel, in Artist and Craftsman Supply, 555 Pacific Ave, San Francisco.

Contributed by Kavi Montanaro

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (2014)

Kim Kardashian: HollywoodKim Kardashian: Hollywood is an app in which a cartoon version of Kardashian guides the player’s avatar through the social and financial ladder of Hollywood. The app, released on iTunes in 2014, is expected to make $200 million by the end of 2014.

iTunes’ description of the app reads: “Join KIM KARDASHIAN on a red carpet adventure in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood! Create your own aspiring celebrity and rise to fame and fortune!”

TIME’s article, “Kim Kardashian’s Genius New Game is Basically Dante’s Inferno, claims that “Kim is a Virgil for our time”.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood reminds me of that super-long 14th-century poem about the nine circles of hell, each filled with sinners punished in a manner fitting their crimes, poetic justice if you will. Kim Kardashian’s game is Dante’s Inferno.

“It’s basically the same idea, except you (Dante) can dress up in customizable hair and outfits that get increasingly elaborate as you get richer/closer to the center of hell. Kim is like Virgil, but she traded in her black robe for a sparkly silver dress, because shrouds are so 14th century. The circles of hell are levels of fame, natch.

“But what’s so hellish about an addictive game that allows users to play at being beautiful reality show stars? Um, everything. In the Kim Kardashian universe, your character can’t sleep, eat or see any friends who aren’t ‘contacts’ to help you get more famous. You have no family (Kim has family, but you don’t) and nobody to love. Your only human contact is with other hell-walkers game characters with whom you can either choose to ‘network’ or ‘flirt.’ You’re not allowed to do anything but go to club openings, photo-shoots or red carpet premieres. You can’t read. [. . .]

“It’s been nearly a month since the game came out, and I’m still in Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood, checking my eyeliner, changing my outfit, flirting and networking and promoting brands and slowly spinning deeper and deeper into darker circles of hell. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”    —TIME

“Nightcrawler’s Inferno,” X-Men Annual #4 (1980)

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“Dr. Strange, Storm, Colossus and Wolverine wake up next to Nightcrawler, all of them lying in front of a massive door with a verse of Dante’s Inferno inscribed on it: ‘Abandon every hope, ye that enter.’ Dr. Strange leads them through the door to help preserve Nightcrawler’s soul, and warns them that the march to Margali will be long and hard. They are picked up at the shore of the noxious River Acheron by Charon, the boatman. He transports them to the chamber of Minos the demon, who taunts the X-Men. A giant tentacle swings around and grabs Nightcrawler, flinging him far out into the distance. Storm gives chase and catches up to him, floating over the second circle of Hell, where many lost souls spend eternity. A cadre of harpies fly down, and though Storm valiantly fights back, they stab her in the back with a spear, sending her hurtling down into a whirlpool.

“Nightcrawler teleports back to Minos’ chamber, unaware that Storm is missing. Minos chortles that Storm has been sent to her appropriate circle of Hell, and they must go save her to get her back. Dr. Strange senses still no presence of evil, but an abiding hatred that Margoli–master of this reality–has for Nightcrawler. They set out to help Storm and are attacked by Cerberus, the three-headed dog. They fight him off, but continue their march forward to a great wall guarded by demons. They try to gain the top of the wall, but they are knocked back. Colossus puts himself through the ultimate test of his strength to pry the flaming wall open so they can walk through. There, they find themselves at the precipice of Malabolge [sic], the eighth circle of hell, where Storm’s soul is held captive. In a writhing pit of human flesh and giant reptiles, they spot what they think is Storm. But it is really a demon clad in her costume. Wolverine’s senses sniff out the real storm, stuck in the form of a reptile. Storm is able to change back to her real self, but is very disturbed from the experience!

“Their next move is to the ninth circle of hell, to face Satan himself. A bolt of black lightning flashes down to Nightcrawler, encasing him in ice.”   —Marvel Masterworks

Cat Cafe, Seoul, South Korea

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“Long hours at the office, tiny apartments and high stress levels are so characteristic of life in Seoul that the city’s motto might as well be ‘Abandon sleep, all ye who enter here.’ So it’s not surprising that Seoul residents keep thousands of coffee shops in business. The cafes allow tired masses to meet in a space that’s neither home nor work, taking time out from busy schedules to see friends and relax. While faceless chains are plentiful, a number of quirky theme cafes have sprung up, satisfying both the need for caffeine and the Korean passion for anything trendy, cute or both. Charming, whimsical and sometimes downright bizarre, these places embody a peculiarly Korean sensibility.” [. . .]

“About 20 cats of various breeds live in this scrupulously clean cafe. Cat lovers whose homes are too small to house a pet can spend time playing with and photographing the residents while enjoying their coffee.” [. . .]    –Nell McShane Wulfhart, The New York Times, January 5, 2012

“Alchemists Needed for Mets’ Golden Anniversary”

mets-logo “Two years ago, I quoted Dante in warning Met fans to expect nothing. (Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”) That still works in 2012. But Mets fans need to take stock of the hope and humor that course underground, like a long-forgotten creek under a municipal dump.” [. . .]    –George Vecsey, The New York Times, March 31, 2012

Sign Above Studio Entrance to “The Daily Show with John Stewart”

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Contributed by Kavi Montanaro

Occupy New Haven

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Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

Comcast Rant

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“Though I haven’t read Dante’s Inferno in its entirety, I have read enough excerpts over the years to realize that back in 1300, I’m pretty positive that Dante was extremely forward-thinking. In describing his descent into hell, he was obviously creating an allegorical representation of what it’s like to call Comcast customer service with a simple billing question on an innocent enough summer Wednesday in 2011. Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate, the gates of hell read as Dante enters. ‘Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.'” […]    –Sheena Moore, Spend Matters, July 22, 2011

Lee K. Abbott, “One of Star Wars, One of Doom” (2007)

lee-k-abbott-one-of-star-wars-one-of-doom-2007“The story follows Mr. DeWine, a high school civics teacher looking for the love that will bring meaning to his middle years, and the two alienated students who plot death, havoc, and woe.”    —Fantastic Fiction

“The first reference is to the two high school boys who shoot up the school as ‘founding members of the ninth circle.’ (Abbott) The second reference is made by Mr. DeWine as he notes a student’s inscription on a desk in his classroom, ”Abandon all hope,’ someone has scribbled. Dante-what a bozo. Blame the whole fiasco on Beatrice.’ (Abbott) This reference foreshadows the outcome of the story.    –Katie Tiller

Contributed by Katie Tiller (University of Texas at Austin)

“Supernatural” and Dante’s Purgatory

supernatural-and-dantes-purgatoryIn a 2010 episode of the TV show Supernatural, the alpha vampire makes a reference to Dante citing the very real location of Purgatory. The vampire says that the King of Hell is looking for this place because it is where the souls of vampires, and other creatures, go when they die; and he is also interested in it because of its proximity to heaven.    –Taylor Beaver

See the article by Sandra Gonzalez in Entertainment Weekly, November 6, 2010

Contributed by Taylor Beaver (University of Texas – Austin, ’11)

Season 5, Episode 10 of Supernatural, is titled “Abandon All Hope…” and aired in 2009.

Contributed by Stella Mattioli, University of Virginia ’15