Jim Shaw, Donald and Melania Trump descending the escalator into the 9th circle of hell reserved for traitors frozen in a sea of ice (2020)

Jim Shaw’s silkscreen print Donald and Melania Trump descending the escalator into the 9th circle of hell reserved for traitors frozen in a sea of ice (2020) depicts the former US President and First Lady passing into the ninth circle, populated by members of the Trump inner circle: John Bolton, Michael Cohen, Omarosa Manigault, Anthony Scaramucci, Jeff Sessions, and others. The lake of Cocytus appears to have been displaced to the ground floor of a dilapidated American shopping mall.

Simon Lee Gallery describes Shaw’s collected works thus: “The practice of American artist Jim Shaw (b. 1952, Midland, Michigan) spans a wide range of artistic media and visual imagery. Since the 1970s, Shaw has mined the detritus of American culture, finding inspiration for his artworks in comic books, pulp novels, rock albums, protest posters, thrift store paintings – his ever-growing collection of found artworks has been the subject of its own exhibition on several occasions – and advertisements. At the same time, Shaw has consistently turned to his own life and, in particular, his unconscious, as a source of artistic creativity. Providing a blend of the personal, the commonplace and the uncanny, Shaw’s works frequently place in dialogue images of friends and family members with world events, pop culture and alternate realities. Often unfolding in long-term, narrative cycles, the works contains systems of cross-references and repetitions, which rework similar symbols and motifs, allowing a story-like thread to be perceived.”   –“Biography,” Simon Lee Gallery

See a discussion of Shaw’s exhibit Hope Against Hope, hosted by the Simon Lee Gallery (London) from October 20, 2020, to January 16, 2021, in The Art Newspaper.

Contributed by Deborah Parker (University of Virginia)

Hell’s Ninth Circle (2017 TV mini-series)

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“A dark comedy about a disgraced cop who goes undercover to bust a mob boss.”    —IMDb, 2017.

You Season 2, Episode 1 – “A Fresh Start” (2019)

On the Netflix drama You, in the season two premiere “A Fresh Start” the main character Joe/Will says “..if LA is hell, the LA DMV is surely the ninth circle.” (You, Netflix, December 26, 2019)

Contributed by Faeryn Lee (The Bolles School, ’22)

“In the Ninth Circle, A Misunderstood Angel”

“Cheeseburger eggrolls to the right,
The center head devoured beef nachos.
And on the left, the restaurant’s sickly lights,

Glistened off chicken wonton tacos.
My quarry swilled a foul-smelling elixir
As to his booth we walked-o.”    –Matthew Dessem, Slate, November 25, 2017

Dante and the Ninth Circle Align in a Shocking New “ARROW”

“Turns out Emiko isn’t just working for the Ninth Circle — she’s running it.

“After revealing last week that Emiko has been working with new big bad Dante, Laurel wasted no time bringing that factoid to Oliver’s attention. Then, by the second act or so, Oliver had confirmed it was true. This is one of those plot points they’ve been known to drag out in the past, so nice to see them just get to the meat of that reveal in “Inheritance” and start dealing with the fallout. Oliver is keen to give Emiko the benefit of the doubt, something she uses to her advantage to manipulate him for a while to get the drop on Team Arrow.” […]    –Trent Moore, SyFyWire, March 25, 2019

The 9 Rings of Donald Trump’s Administrative Hell

“In Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem Divine Comedy, the titular character is guided through the nine circles of hell. The darker your crimes, the lower the levels of hell you descend to until you meet up with Satan himself, trapped at the center of it all.

“At the top are crimes such as heresy and failure to believe; at the bottom, closer to the devil himself, are the rings of treachery and violence. Reflecting on a campaign season during which Donald Trump literally called Hillary Clinton the devil and threatened to put her in chains, you have to wonder whether he wasn’t subconsciously projecting, given the hellish landscape he has turned his early administration into. However, it’s not the nether regions that should concern most Americans but those condemned to the outer rings for lesser crimes.

“Trump may not actually be the vision of Satan portrayed in Inferno, even if he staffs his new administration like the rings of hell. Inferno describes Satan as a ghastly creature trapped by his own vanity with three faces: one red, one yellow and one black. The fact that Trump is now in a position that he has lusted after for years but is equally overwhelmed and unprepared for is strangely apropos.

“While Trump does not have leather wings, he is banishing those who dared not believe in him to limbo, and surrounding himself with white nationalists, terror sympathizers and warmongers. Anyone thinking that perhaps Trump’s own erratic tendencies would be balanced out by some sort of smart team of rivals should take note of the entryway to hell: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” […]    –Jason Johnson, The Root, November 26, 2016

The 9 Circles of Millennial Hell

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. This is a dead zone. (Effing AT&T…)
– Dante Alighier-ish

“Dante’s Divine Comedy was written in the 14th century with his uber-Catholic, Italian counterparts in mind. While the allegory of the afterlife lives on in modern culture, the Inferno would probably look slightly different were it typed out on an iPad.” […]    –Laura Stampler, TIME, July 30, 2014

Nuggets’ Ninth Circle of Hell

nuggets-ninth-circle-hell-alaskan-inferno-solstice

Posted on the blog Ink & Snow (December 21, 2012).

Margaret Visser, “The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude” (2009)

margaret-visser-the-gift-of-thanks-the-roots-and-rituals-of-gratitude-2009 “. . .The Gift of Thanks is a scholarly, many-angled examination of what gratitude is and how it functions in our lives. Gratitude is a moral emotion of sorts, Ms. Visser writes, one that is more complicated and more vital than we think. Ms. Visser acknowledges that simple politeness is the grease that keeps society running and, conversely, how much hostility can build up among people when words like ‘thanks’ are not spoken.
In Dante’s Inferno, she observes, ‘at the bottommost circle of hell, the ungrateful are punished by being eternally frozen in the postures of deference they had failed to perform during their lifetimes: trapped rigid in enveloping ice, they stand erect or upside down, lie prone, or bow face to feet.’
In The Gift of Thanks, however, Ms. Visser is most interested in the kind of gratitude that is not compulsory or self-interested. She writes about the humility required to be genuinely grateful, and the essential ability to climb out of one’s own head.” [. . .]    –Dwight Garner, The New York Times, November 17, 2009

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (Gore Verbinski, 2003)

pirates-of-the-caribbean-the-curse-of-the-black-pearl-gore-verbinsky-2003“Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl says, ‘Worry about your own fortunes, gentlemen. The deepest circle of Hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers.'”    –Kate Geraghty

Contributed by Kate Geraghty (Bowdoin, ’07)