Cheating Spouses Warned by Dante’s Inferno

inquirer-cheating-spouses

“There, Dante encounters real historical characters such as Cleopatra of Egypt who had two children with Mark Anthony of the Roman Empire, and various personalities in the Greek mythology like Helen, earth’s most beautiful woman, who was married to King Menelaus of Sparta but was abducted by Paris of Troy; and Achilleus, the hero of the Trojan War – all consumed by sexual desires.”    — Dr. Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano, Inquirer, August 29, 2019

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

The 9 Layers of Thanksgiving Hell

–Rae, Peas and Cougars, November 22, 2011

“Francesca Says More” by Olena Kalytiak Davis

“that maiden thump was book on floor, butOlena-Kalytiak-Davis-Francesca-Says-More-Dante
does it really matter who kissed who
first or then who decided to go further?
lower? faster? naturally, we took
turns on top. now here, now there, and up
and down… once it started no one even thought to think to stop.
so, we have holes inside our souls,
but mustn’t we begin by filling others’?
god gave us lips and hands and parts
that cannot possibly be saved for prayer. nor by.
i will not name name, claim fame by how well
or who i fucked or why, it happens all the time.
and it’s you, white pilgrim, whom next galehot seeks.

fuck. we didn’t read again for weeks.”

“Francesca Says More,” from The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Of the poem, Dan Chiasson (The New Yorker) comments, “The speaker is a contemporary version of Dante’s tragic heroine Francesca, condemned to suffer in Hell with her lover, Paolo. The form — a form that Dante helped to invent — is the sonnet, here reduced to its rudiments: fourteen lines, a rumor of pentameter, a tart couplet at the close. The poem, one of Davis’s many ‘shattered sonnets,’ as she has called them, draws these lines in order to color outside of them; her small ‘i’ isn’t so much an homage to Cummings as it is a nod to text messages and Gchat, forms of written communication that operate under the conditions of instantaneousness previously reserved for speech. It was reading about the romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, as Dante tells us, that got Francesca in trouble to begin with; it was reading Francesca’s story about the dangers of reading that resulted in the book’s ‘maiden thump’ as it was unceremoniously kicked off the bed and replaced by the book Davis wrote.” — Dan Chiasson, “You and Me Both,” The New Yorker (Dec. 8, 2014)

Contributed by Silvia Valisa (Florida State University)

Guy Raffa on Dante and Same-Sex Love

In a response to Rod Dreher’s 2015 book How Dante Can Save Your Life, Guy Raffa (creator of the Danteworlds website) discusses the question of same-sex love in the Comedy:

Raffa-on-Dreher-Dante-Same-Sex-Love-Pop-Matters“In his otherwise fine explication and application of the Divine Comedy, Dreher badly misunderstood—or just plain missed—Dante’s view of same-sex love. […]

“The point can’t be made often or forcefully enough: getting Dante straight means getting him gay, as well. When it comes to the sex or gender of the people we love best, Dante doesn’t give a fig. This is something that Dreher and other serious readers of Dante ought to know.” — Guy Raffa, What Rod Dreher Ought to Know about Dante and Same-Sex Love,” Pop Matters

Jovanotti, “Serenata Rap” (1994)

Serenata RapItalian singer-songwriter Lorenzo “Jovanotti” Cherubini‘s 1994 song “Serenata Rap” contains a famous line from Inferno V: “Amor ch’a nullo amato amar perdona”.

 

To watch the music video, click here.

To view the song’s lyrics, click here.

 

 

Lele Mora and the Ruby Sex Case

lele-mora-and-the-ruby-sex-case-la-repubblica-milano

Today (28 June 2013) Lele Mora, involved in the famous Ruby-sex-case as Berlusconi’s personal “talent scout”, delivered a speech in front of his judges stating that he wants to break free from the hellish (lustful!) hurricane to see the stars: “Voglio uscire da questa bufera infernale che mi ha tolto la luce voglio vedere le stelle e il cielo azzurro.”

Found at: La Repubblica Milano

See Also: “Ruby bis: Lele Mora in aula. L’udienza del talent scout dopo quella di Nicole Minetti e Emilio Fede (Diretta),” L’Huffington Post, June 18, 2013

Google+ and McSweeney

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Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, August 1, 2011

Contributed by Steve Bartus (Bowdoin, ’08)