Anne Bean

I make delicious words. // I make words delicious.

Stock Photo Hell: Hypocrites

Stock Photo Hell

stock-photo-businessman-covering-his-face-with-a-cardboard-on-which-is-drawn-an-angel-face-124098439Circle Eight: Fraud

Bolgia Six: Hypocrites

we found a painted people, who moved about with lagging steps, in circles, weeping, with features tired and defeated. And they were dressed in cloaks with cowls so low they fell before their eyes, of that same cut that’s used to make the clothes for Cluny’s monks.

Outside, these cloaks were gilded and they dazzled; but inside they were all of lead, so heavy that Frederick’s capes were straw compared to them. A tiring mantle for eternity!”

-Canto XXIII, Mandlebaum translation

So the Malebranche (see previous post) got bored of the escort quest and had proceeded to give Dante and Virgil bad directions and then menace them until they ran away. They sort of slide down a rock face and end up in the sixth bolgia, home of the hypocrites. The main form of punishment for the hypocrites is to wear cloaks that were gilded and glittery on the outside, but made of crushingly heavy lead on the inside. Then they’re forced to walk for eternity, exhausted. Irony! Contra passo! Hooray! The cloaked hypocrites also get to walk over a crucified guy who was laid flat on the ground. The guy on the ground is Caiaphas, a member of the the council of Pharisees, and the guy who argued in favor of martyring Jesus. Logically, then, Virgil kneels down, politely asks him for directions, and he and Dante go on their merry way.

And now, a brief rant about words. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of “hypocrisy” reads as follows: “The assuming of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, with dissimulation of real character or inclinations, esp. in respect of religious life or beliefs; hence in general sense, dissimulation, pretence, sham. Also, an instance of this.” The root of the word comes from a verb referring to acting on a stage. I think I have seen “hypocrisy” used in a more general “do as I say not as I do” context, but that all falls under the same umbrella, I think.

The word I wanted to rant about here is “pretentious.” In this, the era of hipsters and irony and ironic commentary about hipsters, the word “pretentious” gets tossed around a lot. I see people use “pretentious” often to describe literature or art that they don’t understand. In a world where words are used like I want them to be used, “pretentious” art means “pretending to have thought behind it and actually having the appearance of thought with no substance.” Unfortunately, I see people using “pretentious” as code for “intellectual,” “referencing literature I’ve never read,” and “I dunno, arty shit, what.” In conclusion, fuck anti-intellectualism, pretence means pretending to be something, words have meanings, arg.

Moving on.

Search terms: hypocrites, hypocrisy, hypocritical woman

In general, hypocrisy was fairly gender balanced. I guess it’s a quality that unites us all, or something.

In Stock Photo Land, hypocrites are really obvious. You can tell because of all the SCHEMING.

man with clasped hands lookin' scheme-y

fig. 1: light scheming. Safe for most situations.

fig. 2: medium-level scheming. Use caution: they may see right through your clever ruse.

fig. 2: medium-level scheming. Use caution: they may see right through your clever ruse.

fig. 3: heavy-duty scheming. Appropriate only when plotting downfalls in secret lair.

fig. 3: heavy-duty scheming. Appropriate only when plotting downfalls in secret lair.

Sometimes, they also just have face-masks. And I mean literally; that wasn’t a metaphor for cosmetics.


Best of all, though, is the literal knife stabbing while looking as crazed as possible:

fig. 4: extreme scheming. Use with extreme caution.

fig. 4: extreme scheming. Use with extreme caution.


Insert clever commentary about the hypocrisy of bad acting in stock photos.

Next up: Thieves
Spoilers: It’s weird and gross and some guy totally flips off God.


  1. Thank YOU for this! You have a familiar handle on “pretentious”. Keep it honest! Do people really still criticize folks that enjoy thinking and talking about culture? I thought they were dying off.

    • Anne Bean

      June 30, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Unfortunately, in perceived “low” art forms like comics, I’ve found both people claiming and intellectual critique is “pretentious” and people being to my mind actually pretentious. Academics sometimes refuse to call the genre “comics” (instead they say only “graphic novel” or “sequential art”) or acknowledge the superhero sub-genre as a culturally relevant phenomenon.

      I don’t think people criticizing folks for thinking and talking about culture will ever die off, but on the other hand, nor will people who think and talk about culture.

      • As a non-representational abstract expressionist, I REALLY understand. Folks who must be able to focus on a familiar object need not look at my work…and their comments have little meaning but ones of preference. I am practicing personal commentary, as a CRONE. Be clear, be true, and think…is it necessary, is it nice?….I have a long way to go on this.

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