Wear a 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. No matter the age, generation or social status, every single human being on the planet has been affected.  The novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, has upended human life as we knew it. Long are the days when we could go out to our favorite pub, restaurant or store and enjoy a genuinely good time. Nowadays, we leave our houses with a new fear. Will we get it on our trip to get groceries? Will we get it from that group of careless people that refuse to wear a mask or social distance? If I get it, will I die? Will I infect my loved ones? Will I see them die?” […]    –Jorge Luis Galvez Vallejo, Iowa State Daily, July 30, 2020

Nick Reding, “Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town” (2009)

nick-reding-methland-the-death-and-life-of-an-american-small-town-2009“Think globally, suffer locally. This could be the moral of Methland, Nick Reding’s unnerving investigative account of two gruesome years in the life of Oelwein, Iowa, a railroad and meatpacking town of several thousand whipped by a methamphetamine-laced panic whose origins lie outside the place itself, in forces almost too great to comprehend. . .
In the grisliest passage of Methland, which deserves to be quoted at some length so as to convey its hellish momentum, he invites us to share in the torments of Roland Jarvis, a paranoid small-time meth cook, in the Dante-like interlude after the combustion of his improvised home lab (just one of hundreds in the area).
‘Jarvis looked down and saw what he thought was egg white on his bare arms. It was not egg white; it was the viscous state of his skin now that the water had boiled out of it. Jarvis flung it off himself, and then he saw that where the egg white had been he could now see roasting muscle. His skin was dripping off his body in sheets. . . . He’d have pulled the melting skeins of skin from himself in bigger, more efficient sections but for the fact that his fingers had burned off of his hands. His nose was all but gone now, too, and he ran back and forth among the gathered neighbors, unable to scream, for his esophagus and his voice box had cooked inside his throat.'” [. . .]    –Walter Kirn, The New York Times, July 1, 2009

“Dante” Sheep Cheese

dante-sheeps-milk-cheese-wisconsin-photo(Bought in a “local foods” store in Decorah, Iowa)

From what I can tell from this fuzzy image, the logo seems to be inspired by Auguste Rodin’s sculpture of a man in thought [Dante, to become the later sculpture “The Thinker”] on the top center of “The Gates of Hell” with his head replaced by a sheep.

dantes-sheeps-milk-cheese-wisconsin

“Made with 100% pure sheep milk and aged a minimum of six months, DANTE has a rich, nutty flavor with a firm and somewhat dry texture. DANTE complements pasta, and fruit as well as medium red wines and semi-sweet white wines.”    —Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative


Contributed by Ruth Caldwell (Luther College)