Cartoonist Steve Bell’s “Brexit Hell”

Steve-Bell-Brexit-Hell-Cartoons-TreacheryIn early December 2018 British cartoonist Steve Bell published a series of Dante-inspired images in his If… cartoon strip. Adapting Doré’s illustrations of Cocytus (with one addition from the Malebolge), Bell’s cartoons comment on the Parliamentary Debate over Brexit. Contributor Nick Havely glosses, “[the cartoons] depict Theresa May’s journey through ‘Brexit Hell’ accompanied by Arlene Foster (leader of the N. Ireland ultra-Protestant DUP on whom May is dependent for her majority). The Dantean sequence began on 29 November and seems to have culminated last Thursday [6 December] in an encounter with Trump as Lucifer.”

The If… cartoons can be viewed on The Guardian‘s website at the following links: Nov 29, Dec 3, Dec 4, Dec 5, and Dec 6.

Contributed by Nick Havely

“Just another day in Brexitland hell”

Covering the failed attempt to topple British PM Theresa May in a no-confidence vote on Dec. 12, 2018, John Crace compared the chaos over May’s Brexit deal to Dante’s hell. In the digital edition of the paper, the photo of the prime minister (below) was captioned: “Just another day in Brexitland hell for Theresa May.”

Theresa-May-Brexit-Hell-Tenth-Circle

At the end of the piece, Crace comments, “The reality was that nothing had changed. Nothing had changed. May’s Brexit deal was no more likely to get through the Commons than it had been before the vote. If anything positions had hardened. The EU would not be coming to her rescue. All the future offered was more deadlock, more division. Dante was wrong. There was a tenth circle of hell and we were in it. Government as mindless light entertainment.” — John Crace, “Tory headbangers save the Maybot – for the time being at least,” The Guardian, Dec. 12, 2018

Contributed by Nick Havely

Penn Station and the Circles of Hell

“On March 8, 2016, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo compared America’s least-loved train station, Penn Station, to ‘the seven levels of hell.’ Here’s the full quote:

‘It is a disgrace. More people go through Penn Station every day than Newark, Kennedy, and La Guardia airports combined. It’s the most heavily traveled transportation hub in the hemisphere, and imagine what they say when they get off: “This is New York? Looks like the seven levels of hell. I’m in New York?”‘ [. . .]

“Penn Station is so viscerally awful that you can’t help but look for sin in relation to this place as causes for, results of, or simply in association with, its awfulness. So let’s humor the Governor and his imperfect analogy and try to map these different sins to activity occurring in (or near) Penn Station. I’ll be the Virgil to your Dante. Come with me across the River Acheron, or in this case, the stream of vomit and human misery running along West 34th Street.” [. . .]    –Mark Lee, Overthinking It, March 18, 2016.

You can read the full article at Overthinking It.

Intercepted Podcast: The Trump Mixtape – Dante’s Inferno Meets Disco Inferno

“Donald Trump has made crystal clear that he has a great affinity for strongmen and for unquestioned loyalty of those who work for him. This week on Intercepted: Trump’s besties in Saudi Arabia convinced him that Qatar, the host of U.S. Central Command, is the premiere Arab nation sponsoring terrorism. Amnesty International’s Sherine Tadros and Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan analyze the hypocrisy-laden, bizarre crisis. We also discuss the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy addresses the Justice Department’s allegations about The Intercept’s recent NSA story and the prosecution of the alleged leaker. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes talks Russia, Trump, the media and his new book, ‘A Colony in a Nation.’ DJ Spooky joins the conversation and imagines a Trump-inspired mash-up of Dante’s Inferno and ‘Disco Inferno.’ [. . .]

“So, to me, the fun part about the 21st century is we’re all DJs. Some of them, like Trump and his use of media, are a Divine Comedy mashup maybe of like, you know, Dante’s Inferno mixed with Disco Inferno or something.” [. . .]    –Paul Miller (also known as DJ Spooky) on Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill,  June 14, 2017.

You can listen to this episode and others of Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and other platforms.

You can learn more about DJ Spooky on his website.

Retirement tips for Steve Bannon and others

[…] “Learn something new.

“Mr. Bannon also might want to expand his cultural horizons, perhaps by learning a language of one of the few nationalities that he doesn’t want barred from the country. I’d suggest Italian, which would give him the ability to read Dante’s Inferno in the original. That should give him an idea of his future travel plans.” […]    –Charles Sykes, The New York Times, January 6, 2018

Art Young’s Political Cartoons

Art-Young-Music-in-Hell-Dante-Inferno

“The Music in Hell,” from Art Young’s Inferno

“Young published three different books inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Hell Up to Date: The Reckless Journey of R. Palasco Drant, Newspaper Correspondent, Through the Infernal Regions, As Reported by Himself was his first book, published in 1894. Its success led to Through Hell with Hiprah Hunt, in 1901.

Art Young’s Inferno: A Journey Through Hell Six Hundred Years After Dante, published in 1934, is considered one of Young’s masterpieces.” — Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman, “Art Young: A Cartoonist for the Ages,” The New Yorker, August 2, 2017

“Donald Trump, According to Dante’s Inferno

“The college English major in me can’t resist comparing Election 2016 to Dante’s Inferno. Just when it seems American politics cannot become stranger or more vulgar, it does. [. . .]

“There’s a lot of fire and brimstone here, but so much of our political discourse has become positively medieval.

“What does it say about our republic, what we value, and what we hope to become that Donald Trump, a person who seems to have disdain for so many people — Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, African-Americans, people with disabilities, a Gold Star family and the LGBT community — is polling at over 40 percent? And the misogyny? Trump humiliates and intimidates women to gain the upper hand. The 2005 tape where Trump boasts about groping women? Don’t even get me started.

“When is enough finally enough, I ask myself?” [. . .]    –Marthe Weyandt, Huffington Post, November 8, 2016.

Dante in Vietnam

In a review by Susan Ellingwood of Dispatches,’ by Michael Herr

“Here’s what the 1977 Times review had to say about this book: ‘If you think you don’t want to read any more about Vietnam, you are wrong. ‘Dispatches’ is beyond politics, beyond rhetoric, beyond ‘pacification’ and body counts and the ‘psychotic vaudeville’ of Saigon press briefings. Its materials are fear and death, hallucination and the burning of souls. It is as if Dante had gone to hell with a cassette recording of Jimi Hendrix and a pocketful of pills: our first rock-and-roll war, stoned murder.’ ”    –Susan Ellingwood, The New York Times, September 15, 2017

Midtown NY Election Party Hell

“The Crossroads of the World will be turned into the Seventh Circle of Hell on election night when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump host dueling ‘victory’ parties about 20 blocks from each other.

“He’ll spend the last night of this ugly campaign at the Hilton on Sixth Ave. She’ll be at the Javits Center. You’ll be stuck at the corner of W. 46th and Deliverance.

“Even under the best circumstances, Midtown Manhattan is New York’s no-fly zone, the place where no real person goes unless he has tickets to a play or somehow ended up leading out-of-town relatives through the biggest tourist trap this side of Patpong Road.” [. . .]    –Gersh Kuntzman, New York Daily News, November 4, 2016

The Nine Circles of Campaign Hell

“You aren’t imagining things — this campaign season has been hell on earth.

“During the State Dinner the White House hosted for the Italian prime minister Tuesday, President Barack Obama compared presidential campaigns to Dante’s Inferno.

“If choosing the punishment for this circle of political hell were up for a vote, having to sit in the front row of a never ending presidential debate seems like a pretty strong contender.” [. . .]    –Brenna Williams, CNN, October 19th, 2016

You can read the full list here.