Bikini Shopping and the Seven (Hundred) Circles of Hell

“For every advance that women have made in the past eight decades, there has been a commensurate annual knockback in the guise of that supposedly carefree and liberating item, the bikini. Compare Thirties swimwear with today’s. Admittedly, the old kind took days to dry – probably never completely reaching peak aridity during an average British summer – while today’s versions wick away moisture in seconds. But is that such a big gain, when Modern Bikini makes such bullying demands on body and mind?”    —The New Indian Express, June 18, 2016

Hell Passport Notebook

“You’d think that getting into Hell would be easy. It USED to be – but like airport travel and filing tax returns, everything is more complex these days.

Have no fear! The Hell Passport notebook can make your passage into eternal damnation a piece of Devil’s food cake. It looks and feels just like an actual passport with a place for personal information, a passport photo, and useful travel tips. And if you don’t have any immediate plans to go to Hell, it also functions as a handy and cool little notebook to jot down your most devilish thoughts. (Warning: the pages are not flame retardant, so keep your passport a safe distance from the burning brimstone, okay?)

Ruled pages to keep track of all the goings-on in your circle of Hell.”    –The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, Philosophers Guild

Smokin’ Guns Hell

“4th Circle – Motiveless Kickers: Condemned to obsessively kick each other.

[. . .]

9th Circle – Wallhackers: Condemned to play against invisible opponents, and completely surrounded by fog.”    –Biondo, Lame Clan, June 19, 2011

Learn more about the first-person shooter video game, Smokin’ Guns, here.

“In the Ninth Circle, A Misunderstood Angel”

“Cheeseburger eggrolls to the right,
The center head devoured beef nachos.
And on the left, the restaurant’s sickly lights,

Glistened off chicken wonton tacos.
My quarry swilled a foul-smelling elixir
As to his booth we walked-o.”    –Matthew Dessem, Slate, November 25, 2017

“Rings of Fire: With 9 Circles, Dante’s Inferno Meets Real-Life U.S. War Crimes in Iraq”

“This taut, 100-minute production of 9 Circles — a framing of Dante’s Inferno with a young U.S. war criminal at its center — has a way of implicating its audience in the action. The play, by Jesuit priest Bill Cain, is loosely based on the horrifying, real-life story of Army private Steven Dale Green, a young soldier from Midland, Texas, who was convicted in 2009 of playing a key role in the murder of an Iraqi family and the serial rape of a 14-year-old girl.”    –Brendan Kiley, The Seattle Times, June 3, 2016

“Iraq: Dante’s Hell for Animals?”

“Nearby, a brown bear that once roamed the Kurdish mountain reaches from the shadows of a filthy enclosure for a wafer biscuit that a boy holds just out of reach. Meanwhile, in a central cage that seems to double as the zoo’s garbage dump an adult male baboon makes lewd gestures to a group of teenage boys poking him with sticks. This sad place is not the beastly equivalent of Dante’s third hell, but a zoo — and a typical one for captive animals in Iraq.”    –Tracey Shelton, Public Radio International, May 22, 2010

Terrestrial Inferno: Dante Today

“Reading Dante’s Inferno today reminds us that hell has been built on earth. The machinery of war, like the descending circles of hell, trap people into a blind life followed by a blind death – all without meaning.

[. . .]

Dante’s Inferno was written as a warning and a spur to human beings – warning them not to fall prey to the empty promises of wealth and power, spurring them to contact the Divine Other in a life of spiritual reflection in order to find and follow what is good. In this tradition I show the images that are in the video. The hell on earth glimpsed here is the result of our collective indifference to the ambitious search for power and wealth that has been launched by a few in the name of society. I am referring to the so-called ‘global war on terror’. A part of every taxed purchase we make goes to its funding, rendering us complicit in its execution. Moreover, the theme of consumption is an integral part of Dante’s poem. Here I show the way that in the interests of providing food for all, our consumption habits have denied the lives of those animals we consume. The industrial production of food, furthermore, has not eradicated global hunger – rather it has created health epidemics like obesity (not to mention swine flu). Dante would be lost if he were transported to this cruel world: are we equally lost here?”    –V Gimbel, Vimeo, December 11, 2009

Two-Minute Apocalypse

“Heavenly Legal had issued a Malfunction Recall and she was a fallen angel sent from below to ensure poor souls like mine found their way into the tenth circle of Hell in an orderly fashion. ‘I thought there were only nine circles down there,’ I objected. ‘We had to add one for all those who’ve lived their lives as if they were going to live forever.'”    —Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Chipotle’s The Cultivating Thought Author Series

Photo courtesy of Crystal on Tumblr, who also provides a full transcript of Carlos’ story.

“L’Aquila, il ‘Girone dei golosi’ torna nel centro storico”

“Un’altra attività torna nel centro storico dell’Aquila. Sabato 25 agosto, alle 19, in via dell’Arcivescovado 25, riaprirà al pubblico, in una veste inedita e accattivante, la caffetteria ristorante il “Girone dei golosi”. Il locale e i relativi arredi sono stati progettati e realizzati interamente da artisti abruzzesi.

[. . .]

Il Girone dei golosi si presenta come un caffè artistico, con la presenza di quattro quadri appositamente realizzati dall’artista Srek (Stefano Cencioni), ispirati al Girone dei Golosi, nel Sesto canto dell’Inferno di Dante dove i dannati, sommersi dalla fanghiglia, vengono graffiati da Cerbero, mostro a tre teste.”    — L’Aquila, Abruzzo News, August 23, 2018

“How long will I be on Submission? (they sob)”

“The Wait haunts all stages of writing for publication. There are different levels of waiting, a bit like Dante’s circles of hell. Waiting for critique, waiting to hear from agents, waiting to receive edits, waiting for feedback on edits, waiting waiting waiting W A I T I N G.”    –Lindsay Galvin, LindsayGalvin.com, October 5, 2017