“In Ghostbusters II, the mayor of New York makes mention of the city being ‘sucked down into the tenth level of Hell.’” —Wikipedia
“A Dante-esque Limbo”: Unemployment Claims in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic
“With a flood of unemployment claims continuing to overwhelm many state agencies, economists say the job losses may be far worse than government tallies indicate.
“The Labor Department said Thursday that 3.8 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the six-week total to 30 million. But researchers say that as the economy staggers under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of others have lost jobs but have yet to see benefits.
[. . .]
“New York has started processing claims from gig workers and freelancers, but one of those, Seth Flicker of Brooklyn, hasn’t had any luck.
“‘Not a phone call nor an email, nothing,’ said Mr. Flicker, 52, who applied in mid-March after his work as a handyman came to a halt. ‘We are stuck with absolutely nowhere to turn,’ he said, calling his situation ‘a Dante-esque limbo.’
“Mr. Flicker was able to delay paying his electric bill without a penalty and sent a check to the phone company, but he is worried about covering May’s rent. ‘I haven’t figured it out yet,’ he said. ‘It’s nerve-racking.'” –Nelson D. Schwartz, Tiffany Hsu, and Patricia Cohen, “Stymied in Seeking Benefits, Millions of Unemployed Go Uncounted,” The New York Times, April 30, 2020
Contributed by Martin Kavka, Florida State University
Nathan W. Pyle’s Comic
Nathan W. Pyle is an author and illustrator based in New York City. He is best known for his book NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette (2014), and his comic series Strange Planet.
You can check out more of Pyle’s work by following him on Instagram, Facebook, and by visiting his website. Additionally, Pyle is releasing a book of Strange Planet comics later this year, which you can check out on Amazon.
Contributed by Dariella Fonseca (Florida State University ’20).
Inferno by Franz von Stuck (1908)
Inferno. Franz von Stuck (1908)
Oil on canvas.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY
“This painting’s title refers to Dante Alighieri’s medieval epic of a journey through hell. Although Stuck employed traditional symbols of the underworld—a snake, a demon, and a flaming pit—the dissonant colors and stylized, exaggerated poses are strikingly modern. He designed the complementary frame. Stuck’s imagery was likely inspired by Auguste Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, particularly the figure of The Thinker (see related works nearby). When Inferno debuted in an exhibition of contemporary German art at The Met in 1909, critics praised its ‘sovereign brutality.’ The picture bolstered Stuck’s reputation as a visionary artist unafraid to explore the dark side of the psyche.” —The Met on Franz von Stuck’s Inferno.
To see the artwork that von Stuck was influenced by with this piece, check out The Met’s website.
Tina Turner and Dante Alighieri
In an interview with the New York Times Book Review, Tina Turner mentioned Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy in her answers to Jillian Tamaki’s literary questions.
Ms. Turner on the Divine Comedy as a book she can read again and again:
“In 2017, my kidneys were failing and I went through a prolonged period of dialysis. Every time I went to the clinic, I brought the same three books with me: The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra, the Divine Comedy, by Dante, and a book of photography by the extraordinary Horst P. Horst. I needed something for the spirit, something for the intellect and something for the senses, and the ritual of studying the same books while I was undergoing treatment was comforting to me because it imposed order on a situation I couldn’t otherwise control.” [. . .]
Ms. Turner on Dante as her first-choice guest for her literary dinner party:
“I like a dinner party to be a lively mixture of different kinds of people — young, old and everything in between. So my first choice would be Dante — after all my years of studying the Divine Comedy, I need to ask him a lot of questions! I could be his Beatrice! Since I can’t choose between Anne Rice and Stephen King, I’d set places for both of them. Their books have kept me awake for many a night because there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good scare! And I’d definitely serve Thai food, because I like things spicy.” [. . .] –Tina Turner interviewed by Jillian Tamaki, the New York Times Book Review, October 18, 2018.
You can read the full interview on the New York Times.
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