Stock Photo Hell
Circle Eight: Fraud
There is a place in Hell called Malebolge, made all of stone the color of crude iron, as is the wall that makes its way around it. Right in the middle of this evil field is an abyss, a broad and yawning pit, whose structure I shall tell in its due place. The belt, then, that extends between the pit and that hard, steep wall’s base is circular; its bottom has been split into ten valleys.
–Canto XVIII, Mandlebaum translation
So the first half of The Inferno covers everything up until the eighth, and the entire second half of the text is devoted to the final two circles of hell, Fraud and Betrayal. The circle of Fraud, Virgil explains to Dante above, is subdivided into ten little “evil pockets” (literal translation of Malebole), each focusing on a different aspect of fraudulent behavior.
Bolgia 1: Panderers and Seducers
Both left and right, along the somber rock, I saw horned demons with enormous whips, who lashed those spirits cruelly from behind. Ah, how their first strokes made those sinners lift their heels! Indeed no sinner waited for a second stroke to fall or for a third.
–Canto XVIII, Mandlebaum
Yep, these folks are forced to walk around being constantly whipped forward by demons. Demons, whom have been startlingly sparse in earlier circles, and pretty much all over the Malebolge. I wonder if that’s some kind of contra passo (ironic punishment) thing…the fraudulent tried to use other people, and thus spend eternity being used by demons. Hmm.
Anyway, what exactly are panderers and seducers? Well, Dante meets an old friend of his, Vendico Caccianemico, who apparently sold his sister to some Marquis for political favors. Incidentally, we see Dante’s becoming more of a jerk: he’s pretty much like: “Hey. You with the face in the mud. You’re Vendico. What did you do to get yourself landed here?” (literally he says “in such a piquant sauce”) Their conversation is kept short, because a few moments later a demon comes by and is like “Hey jerkface, keep moving: no women for you to con here.” So, some texts call “panderers and seducers” instead “pimps and seducers.”
Among notable folks Dante also encounters: Jason, of the Argonauts. I appreciate this, because I always thought Jason was a major asshole, and that Medea got waaay too much crap. Apparently Dante thought so too, because he says here “for Medea, too, revenge is taken.”
Personally, I imagine this is where all the asshats on the internet who are total bastards to women will go when they die. I’m not putting any links here or anything. But I’m sure you can imagine a few folk (denizens of the comments section, harassers of geek girls, all of 4chan) who deserve to end up here.
Search terms: panderer, pander, seducer, pimp
WELP apparently all my sites know just what a panderer looks like, and it’s this guy:
However, the sites had markedly different results when it came to seducers. Shutterstock was about 80% images of women seducing men or isolated sexy women. Dreamstime was vastly more entertaining with its 80% isolated seductive men, many of whom were…well…
For review, culturally, this is a “seductive woman”:
This is a “seductive man”:
And as for this, well, I am not actually sure what’s going on with this guy:
As for “pimp”…sigh. Lots of scummy dudes in terrible suits. Not all black scummy dudes, though, yay? And sometimes scummy women apparently pimping other women? Oh, wait, there’s the white scummy dude in an afro wig what the actual hell.
I had to know who could have possibly thought this was a good idea. Turns out this is from a stock photo company out of the Netherlands. Which says something about how American culture is globalized? Or in any case, is pretty weird because this is a white guy dressed up as a racist stereotype of an American pimp in a culture in which prostitution is legal and regulated by the government? Not sure if that makes more sense, or less sense. All in all it makes me feel weird and scummy for having downloaded the image. Well done, Inferno. Now I feel squicky.
Next up: Flatterers
Spoilers: Their punishment in the afterlife is…shitty.