PrefaceDanteBookDante 101:

  • Dante Alghieri, who is one of the few authors cool enough to get the “first name only” Cher/Madonna style treatment, lived in medieval Italy and wrote The Divine Comedy, a three-part epic poem that has profoundly affected Western thought, Christianity, and culture. There were a few pundits who wrote about the afterlife, but Dante’s work gained the most cultural traction, in part because he referred to all those other dudes in his own work.
  • The Divine Comedy tracks a fictionalized version of Dante being led through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven by Virgil, who was pretty much “best poet of antiquity,” sort of analog of Shakespeare would be today. Virgil is not his only companion, because Dante couldn’t go letting Pagan ol’ Virgil very far into non-Hell afterlife places, but Virgil is Dante’s companion through all of Inferno.
  • There are 100 cantos (chapters made of poems) in the Divine Comedy, 33 in Paradiso, 33 in Purgatorio, and 34 in Inferno because Hell is all about excess. Hell is basically a large cone in the ground, with people packed more and more tightly the further you go down. Hell is set up in levels, with each “worse” sin being situated below the next. At the bottom of Hell is Lucifer, stuck in a lake of his own frozen tears, constantly chewing on the three worst betrayers of history. Nobody says Dante ain’t metal.
  • In all of the circles of hell, there’s the idea of contrapasso, or a fitting punishment that’s ironically related to the sin/crime. For example, corrupt politicians are submerged in a lake of boiling pitch, which represents their dark and terrible deeds.

Stock Photos 101:

  • Instead of paying a photographer royalties for use of their images, you can buy a royalty-free stock photo online that’s been uploaded by people who had ideas like “Hey, a photo shoot of this Cyber Woman Holding Corn totally makes sense!”
  • While they may be useful for cheap illustration, book cover images, etc, stock photos are also creepily cliché. StockPhotoLand is a magical land wherein the bigotry of American culture is way more blatant than usual. I am particularly obsessed with how women are handled in stock photos. The women of StockPhotoLand seem to obsess over four things: food, being a sex object, motherhood, and business.
  • Many fine folks have taken note of this: Women Laughing Alone With Salad, Racial Misprofiling, and the epic Francetucky, OH, a whole town made of StockPhotoLand with captions by Drewtoothpaste and Natalie Dee.


So, lovely denizens of Earth, join me as we enter…


(Updates for new circles will be posted every few days….until we reach the bottom!)