Dinty W. Moore, To Hell With It: Of Sin and Sex, Chicken Wings, and Dante’s Entirely Ridiculous, Needlessly Guilt-Inducing Inferno (2021)

“Dante published his ambitious and unusual poem, Divine Comedy, more than seven hundred years ago. In the ensuing centuries countless retellings, innumerable adaptations, tens of thousands of fiery sermons from Catholic bishops and Baptist preachers, all those New Yorker cartoons, and masterpieces of European art have afforded Dante’s fictional apparition of hell unending attention and credibility. Dinty W. Moore did not buy in.

“Moore started questioning religion at a young age, quizzing the nuns in his Catholic school, and has been questioning it ever since. Yet after years of Catholic school, religious guilt, and persistent cultural conditioning, Moore still can’t shake the feelings of inadequacy, and asks: What would the world be like if eternal damnation was not hanging constantly over our sheepish heads? Why do we persist in believing a myth that merely makes us miserable? In To Hell with It, Moore reflects on and pokes fun at the over-seriousness of religion in various texts, combining narratives of his everyday life, reflections on his childhood, and religion’s influence on contemporary culture and society.”   —University of Nebraska Press

“Dante is remembered most for his depiction of hell. This sculptor wants us to remember heaven, too.”

“VATICAN CITY (RNS) — In preparation for the 700 anniversary of the death of medieval poet Dante Alighieri, a Canadian artist is creating a sculptural tribute to his ‘Divine Comedy’ that would be the first sculptural rendition of the entire poem.

“‘In our culture Dante is becoming lost,’ said sculptor Timothy Schmalz in an interview with Religion News Service on Monday (July 20).

“Not only is Dante less and less required reading, Schmalz said, but his ‘Divine Comedy’ is often misrepresented by putting the focus only on the first part — the descriptions of hell and its fiery punishments.

“The Italian poet captivated generations by telling his imaginary journey through hell, purgatory and heaven. His use of popular Italian dialect in his writing, instead of the more high-brow Latin, earned him a title as the ‘Father of the Italian Language.’

“’Because I am a Christian sculptor I will right this wrong,’ Schmalz said. ‘I will do what has never been done before in the history of sculpture, which is to create a sculpture for each canto of the ”Divine Comedy.””  –Claire Giangravé, America, 2020

Read the full article here.

“The Ninth Circle of Hell – Dante and the DMV”

“Dante once wrote that Hell had nine circles within its depths. Dante’s Inferno is an amazing literary work that describes in great detail the horror of a place where no person wishes to go. Dante must have been inspired by a trip to the local DMV.

“You see, I recently journeyed into an inferno of abandoned hope, discomfort, and pain when I was forced to visit the Queens DMV. Like Dante, I encountered the nine circles of Hell, though not necessarily in the same order. But first, some backstory . . .”   –Jason Greene, The Good Men Project, 2012

Read the full article here.

“Satan Delighted to Announce That The Newly-Constructed 10th Circle Of Hell Will Include Acadiana Mall”

“HELL – In a significant boost to the area, Satan confirmed today that the Underworld’s long-awaited 10th Circle will include the Acadiana Mall amongst its very first tenants.

“The project has been almost fifteen years in the making, however construction is now complete and officials are beginning to slowly but surely usher in people, places and businesses.”   –thedailycrawfish337, The Daily Crawfish

Read the full article here.

“The Extra Circles of Hell, A Short Tour”

“There’s a lot of self-righteous assholes out there who think they’re going to heaven. If an afterlife exists, they’re in for a tiny surprise — probably. Dante didn’t know how things would turn out when he wrote the original Divine Comedy. But he knew all about hypocrisy.

“That’s why he created a special circle of hell for each type of sinner. Because they all deserve each other, and their own special punishment.

“Dante originally envisioned nine circles of hell. Just nine? Seriously? We’re gonna need more circles…”   –Jessica Wildfire, Splattered, 2019

Read the full article here.

“America in the Eighth Circle”

crisis-magazine-america-in-the-eighth-circle-2020“Such a world, naturally, produced every manner of sin imaginable, and all these sins are carefully chronicled in Dante’s descent into the Inferno. The nine circles of the infernal city are, as Dorothy Sayers reminds us, Dante’s picture of human society in decay; the further Dante and Virgil descend, the more radically corrupt and degraded the society becomes. The pilgrims pass relatively quickly through first seven circles of hell. All the sins of appetite and violence are contained in the first half of the cantica. Then the travelers reach the Great Barrier, and here the poem slows down. Dante and Virgil plunge into the abyss of the eighth circle, which houses the fraudulent. Alas, the various sins punished here read like a cross-section of our ruling classes in Washington, New York, and Hollywood: we meet pimps and seducers, flatterers, hypocrites, and thieves, bribe-taking officials, false counsellors, and sowers of discord. They come at long last to the tenth and final ditch of the eighth circle. Here we find the liars—those who perpetrate the purest form of fraud, the one that unites all the others. Their stench is overwhelming.” [. . .]    –Ben Reinhard, Crisis Magazine, September 21, 2020.

“Keeping Cool”

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“The thing is … I love air conditioning. And I hate, haaaaaaaaaaaate being hot. ‘Oh, thank you Jesus,’ were my first words upon entering our 68-degree oasis with a carload of groceries on a 90-plus degree, muggy summer day where the outside feels like a shvitz or the third ring of Dante’s Inferno. Central air conditioning is grace for me. But what if my blessing is a curse for someone else? Like, say, the rest of the planet? Air conditioning hurts the environment, quaffs energy, and hastens global warming. But is my air conditioner evil? What would Jesus do? For one thing, Jesus recognized the Jewish kosher laws. A fairly new movement in Judaism today called eco-kashrut (aka ‘eco-kosher’) expands on the ancient dietary laws to look at what’s kosher in terms of ethical living, fair trade, the ecological concerns involved in food production, consumerism, and lifestyle, including whether to air condition or not.” [. . .]    –Cathleen Falsani, SOJOURNER, October, 2009.

Lil Nas X, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

The music video for Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” has drawn many comparisons to Dante’s Inferno for its depiction of the singer’s descent to hell (and eventual lap dance of Satan). Here are a few quotes from media outlets:

“2021 is here, purgatory is (almost) over, and Lil Nas X is our Dante.”   –Halle Keifer for Vulture

“Artists have been imagining trips to hell for hundreds of years without anyone raising too much fuss, but then Dante wasn’t a gay black pop star. Also, as far as anyone knows, Dante didn’t promote the Divine Comedy by selling a limited-edition sneaker made with human blood, which is the approach Lil Nas X has been taking with ‘Montero.’ On Friday, news broke that Lil Nas X and MSCHF had collaborated on ‘Satan Shoes,’ a limited release of modified Nike Air Maxes decorated with pentagrams and a reference to Luke 10:18 (‘And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’) They’re only making 666 individually numbered pairs of shoes, and each one is made with a drop of real human blood. Not surprisingly, Nike wants everyone to know they had nothing to do with any of this.”   –Matthew Dessem in Slate

“In the ‘Montero’ video, Lil Nas X journeys from Garden of Eden to Dante’s inferno by sliding down a stripper pole (truly, twigs is correct in calling it iconic) [. . .].”   –Meagan Fredette for W Magazine

Watch the video on YouTube (accessed April 14, 2021)

 

Dante Alighieri: A Suite Of Thirty-Four Lithographs

“The enduring power of Dante’s imagination in his masterpiece The Divine Comedy has inspired artists from the Middle Ages to the present. On reading this literary epic, the artist Liam Ó Broin began three years ago the daunting challenge to create 34 coloured lithographs in response to each canto of Inferno. Although faithful to Dante’s text, Ó Broin through his powerful imagery brings his personal perspective to bear on the central themes and contemporises Dante’s voyeuristic passage through the realms of Hell by portraying the Inferno of our time.  As Ó Broin states  ‘the one which can be created by ourselves and for others, in the here and now.’ These lithographs not only deepen our appreciation of the richness of the epic’s poetic language, but also seek to examine the multi-layered meanings of the text – universal themes of life after death, divine justice and punishment, man’s immoral actions and crimes to mankind.” [. . .]    —Liam Ó Broin

The Inferno lithographs were exhibited at Graphic Studio (Dublin) in 2012.

Selected prints from Liam Ó Broin’s Inferno series, including a limited edition box set (now sold out), were available for purchase here.

“Hell-Fire: The Lie That Made God Cruel”

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“They built the high places of Ba’al in order to burn their sons in the fire as whole burnt offerings to Ba’al, something I had not commanded or spoken of and that had never come into my heart.” Jer. 19:5    –Jehovah’s Witness, Pinterest