The Seven Deadly Social Networks

“Lust, of course, is Tinder. That’s easy. In Dante’s Inferno, a source of much seven-deadly-sin apocrypha, lustful souls are blown around forever like they’re stuck in a hurricane. Today they would be condemned to a similar cyclone—to swipe right forever but never get a match.

“Gluttony is Instagram. We hear sometimes of Tantalus, stuck in a pool below branches laden with fruit. His punishment was that the fruit always pulled away from his grasp, and the water always receded when he tried to drink. So it is with Instagram: The most tantalizing morsels pass in front of our eyes, and we can eat none of them.

“On to Greed. According to Dante, the greedy and avaricious are condemned to joust with each other using enormous heavy boulders, forever. What’s more, they are rendered unrecognizable—each soul appears as the blandest, dullest version of itself. Does that sound like LinkedIn or what? Mandelbaum’s translation put it particularly well:

… I saw multitudes
to every side of me; their howls were loud
while, wheeling weights, they used their chests to push.
They struck against each other; at that point,
each turned around and, wheeling back those weights,
cried out: “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

“Sloth was Zynga once, per Hoffman, but Zynga is no more. Now sloth is Netflix. I know that’s not a social network, but, eh.

“Wrath, according to Dante, was a twin sin to sullenness. He wrote that they both came from the same essential error: Wrath is rage expressed, sullenness is rage unexpressed. And he condemned both the sullen and the wrathful to the Fifth Circle—where, in a foul marsh, the wrathful attacked each other unendingly, without ever winning; while the sullen sat beneath the murk and stewed and scowled and acted aloof. Rarely has there been a better description of Twitter.

“Envy makes people so desirous of what they don’t have that they become blind to what they have. That’s Pinterest. I don’t have a joke about it.

“And what about pride, the weightiest sin? Hoffman said it was Facebook, but I’m not so sure. Pride is sometimes considered the sin from which all others flow: the belief that one is essentially better than all one’s neighbors. It is, I imagine, something like telling everyone else they’re bad at what they do and then saying “ping me.” Pride is Medium.

“If Facebook doesn’t represent pride, then, what is it? Some theologians recognized two other sins beyond the original seven. The first was Vanity or Vainglory—an unrestrained belief in one’s own attractiveness, and a love of boasting. That’s Facebook.

“But the second of the new sins was Acedia, a word we have now largely lost but whose meaning survives somewhat in melancholy. It is the failure to do one’s work and take interest in the world—a cousin to boredom, exhaustion, and listlessness. It is the Hamlet Feeling. It is the feeling of Tumblr, it is the feeling of Deep YouTube—it is the feeling of the afternoon Internet.” […]    –Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, May 9, 2016

Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell and the Internet Inferno

“I’ve seen several references to various social media apps and the Seven Deadly Sins, but as I consider the darkness that seems to breed in social media circles — from teen bullying on Snapchat and Instagram, to Twitter trolls threatening female reporters in India with rape and abuse, to child pornography on the Dark Web and the children who suffer miserably, literally living in hell for predators’ public pleasure — Dante’s Inferno comes to mind, and how this ancient story from 1300 might actually describe our reality right now, as we enter the Information Age of our human development.

[. . .]

“Unfortunately our technology is held hostage by the worst of us. Until we can turn the technology around and use it against those who commit such evil, we can’t get out of the woods. However, Dante and Virgil do make it out of Hell. Interestingly the poets cross through the barren wasteland and to the river of forgetfulness, emerging from Hell on Easter morning.

“I find it interesting that they must forget the darkness in order to leave Hell and make their way to Heaven, where true connection, love and solidarity await. What must we forget in order to fulfill the promise of the Internet and the idea of a globally connected world?

“Our hate? Our jealousy? Our anger? Our fear? Our ignorance? Our greed? Our lust? Our mistrust?

“I imagine so. In the meantime, our experiences online seem to be on one hand accelerating and enabling those who wish to sow the seeds of discontent and on the other hand bringing us together, enabling the collection and sharing of information and knowledge, and making us aware of those places and people in our community who are in need. If we can rid ourselves of our lower natures and focus on the fact that when we’re online, we’re actively creating a world together, perhaps someday we will hold Beatrice in our embrace, and finally find human connection at the deepest, most satisfying level.”    –Nicole Sallak Anderson, “Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell and the Internet Inferno,” Medium, October 25, 2017

The 9 Circles of Nursing School Hell

“Nursing school can be.. well, hell.  Senior year is particularly horrific.  From applying for jobs, to completing your last clinicals, to finals week, to scheduling NCLEX prep, applying for your ATT, creating your resume and cover letters, preparing for interviews, scheduling and preparing for the NCLEX, sitting for boards, and actually graduating.. it can be it’s own special form of hell.  Nine circles to be exact.

“You ever read Dante’s Inferno in high school?  . . . well, here is our version of Dante’s Inferno . . . nursing school style.” [. . .]    –Kati Kleber, NRSNG, 2016.

Read Kleber’s list of nursing school hell here on NRSNG.

The Nine Circles of Menswear Hell

“Sup, you fuckin’ mortals? When life finally logs you out due to inactivity, you’ll either be whisked away to #Menswear Heaven on the smelted down, crepe sole wings of angels or flung headlong through the infernal keyhole to #Menswear Hell. #Menswear Hell abides by it’s own rules: no gods, no masters. The #menswear legacy you left behind on earf determines what special punishment you’re subjected to for all of time. Doesn’t that sound like the brie’s cheese? If you haven’t yet read Dante’s Inferno—as I’m sure all you Kindle-having pariahs have meant to—spoilers abound.” [. . .]     –Rick Morrison, Complex, January 16, 2014.

Read Morrison’s full list of the circles of Menswear Hell here.

“Atlanta Podcasters Go To Hell With ‘The Divined Comedy’”

“‘The Divined Comedy’ is a podcast which is devoted to talking about Dante Alighieri’s Inferno one canto at a time, taking plenty of detours into pop culture along the way.

“Hosts Paul Cantrell and David Fountain began ‘midway in their life’s journey’ in July and plan on covering the entirety of Alighieri’s fantasy about traveling through the nine levels of Hell before moving on to Purgatorio and finally Paradiso. That’s one hundred cantos in all.

“Billing themselves as ‘The Only Dante Podcast You’ll Ever Need, Ostensibly,’ Cantrell plays the role of a sort of cheerleader for Dante, encouraging Fountain through his first reading of the book.

“‘For a poem that is seven hundred years old,’ Fountain said, ‘you can find a remarkable amount of modern lessons in it, and it withstands a lot of poking and prodding.'” [. . .]    –Myke Johns, WABE, August 17, 2016.

You can listen to The Divined Comedy on Podomatic.

You can check out Dante Today’s post on The Divined Comedy here.

“Document Inferno: The 9 Circles of Email Routing Hell”

“While email has been meant mainly as a communication tool, that hasn’t stopped people from trying to cram every manner of functionality into it. Unfortunately, this often leads to communication gaffes and tends to suck the productivity out of teams. Whether you’ve suffered through every level or have only had to visit one or two, we’re sure anyone who’s used email to route or work with documents will recognize these common frustrations.” [. . .]    —Ontask, 2018

Check out the full list here.

Brad Hong’s Tenth Circle of Hell

“Brad Hong is a college freshman from Morristown, N.J. His email is bradhong@sas.upenn.edu.”    –Brad Hong, The Daily Pennsylvanian, September 26, 2016.

The Nine Circles of Writing Hell

“With apologies to Dante Alighieri…

“We have all probably started ill-fated novels that, shall we say, did not go where we wanted them to go. For one reason or another, either our will or our preparation or the idea failed us, and sure enough, they ended up in novel hell.

“Based on the Nine Circles of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy, here are the nine circles of writing hell.

“Save your novel from these sins, my fellow writers! Repent before it is too late!” [. . .]    –Nathan Bransford, on his blog, November 23, 2010

Ukable Parodies’ Inferno Songs

“ORIGINAL SONG: ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,’ 1976 by Gordon Lightfoot, used primarily for music and meter.
PARODY COMPOSED: Archaic quasi-Italian and English lyrics by Giorgio Coniglio, May 2015.

A TRIP DOWN THE ACHERON RIVIERA

(to the tune of ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’)

Intro:

Accounts linger on from Old Testament on down

Of the fiery pit Jews call Gehenna.

You probably knew that our Dante passed through,

And the year Thirteen Hundred was when-a.

“Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore

Facemi la divina Podestate

Per me si va ne l’etterno dolore

Lasciat’ ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.”

The tour started badly, we recount to you sadly,

With a big screen predicting the weather,

“At this Rehab-resort, no rainstorms to report –

And you’ll surely be roasted for ever.”

Dante:

Queste parole di colore oscuro

Vid’io scritte al sommo d’una porta.

Per ch’io: “Maestro il senso lor m’e duro.”

Elli: “Qui ogne viltà sia morta.”

The ‘agreement’ on monitor, in font and hue somber

Conflicted with my inner wish-list.

“This Hotel,” it is said, “never gives up her dead.”

Virge explained, “Here all fear is extinguished.”

[…]    –Giorgio Coniglio, Silly Songs and Satire, September 3, 2015.

See Silly Songs and Satire for the full song and other Dante-themed ukulele parodies, as well as the ukulele chords for “A Trip Down The Acheron Riviera.”

The 9 Circles of Vacation Hell

“In theory, everyone likes a nice vacation. In practice, everyone who’s ever had one knows that for every moment of peace and relaxation, you’ll have to fight through mounds of stress, panic-sweat, and unexpected costs. What we’re saying is, vacations are hell. Quite literally, too: There are shocking similarities between the most famous description of biblical Hell — The Inferno section of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy — and the overpriced trip you fooled yourself into taking last summer.

“Come, friend, allow us to act as Virgil to your jet-lagged Dante, as we delve deeper and deeper into vacation-themed terrors” [. . .]    –Pauli Poisuo and Winston Rowntree, Cracked, September 13, 2016