Barack Obama in Hell
In fact, I had the same idea in mind with the Cosmogenesis and Cosmobliteration sections of the book. In particular, there are a number of musical references packed in there, and at least one of them -- John Coltrane's A Love Supreme -- is referenced in the Inferno as well. Bang puts it in Canto I, where it reads
It was daybreak, the sun was rising with the stars / That were with it when the first clock started -- The spring wound by the hand of a love supreme
In the Coonifesto, we read Spiraling outside in, past the viaduct of dreams, the seventh trumpet dissolving in shee-its! of sound, One Living Being, Life of All, A Love Supreme, take the coltrain to the old grooveyard...
No, I'm no Dante, but I do have a noetic license, so there is also a reference there to the book of Revelation, to Van Morrison's Astral Weeks ("viaduct of dreams") and to Coltrane's early saxophone style (called by one reviewer "sheets of sound").
For that matter, the Coonifesto has a reference to the Poet himself on pp. 253-254, with "the Love that removes the sin and other scars (speaking allegheirically)." This is a play on the last line of the Divine Comedy ("the Love that moves the sun and other stars") and on Dante's full name (Alighieri).
By the way, why did he call it a comedy? Because our Florentine pneumanaut starts off in some deep shit and ends in happiness -- whereas in tragedy it is the other way around. And ultimately, like Finnegans Wake, it is meant to be about all of us, in all times and all places. For example, in Canto XVI, our Unknown Friend says By this Comedy, / If it ever makes its way into the world, I swear to you, / Reader -- my alias, my twin...
So anyway, things are going pretty well in hell until we reach the 21st Canto -- the seventh circle, close to the bottom -- where we meet a variety of human monsters such as the mass murdering Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy; the sadistic wife of a Nazi concentration camp commandant; Gestapo captain Klaus Barbie; former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi; genocidal Serbian commander Dragon Nikolić; a sadistic female Nazi concentration camp warden; and, of course, "crazy Rummy," AKA Donald Rumsfeld.
Does this not demonstrate how a tenured tool may spend her entire life immersed in a text, and yet, miss the whole point? What kind of moral retard confuses an American Secretary of Defense with mass murderers and genocidal Nazis?
Wrong question. What kind of morally stunted ovary tower hackademic doesn't?
She also missed a number of divinely golden comedic opportunities, for example, in circle five, which houses the "lifelong angry," where "Mud-covered souls gnaw at one another the way fury once gnawed them from inside out." Why not just say MSNBC? (Hey, the acronym even works: Mudcovered Souls @ NBC.)
In the same circle are the "sad-faced pouters, who never had a good word or a pleasant thought to offer." Why not just say feminists? That way she could say something both funny and true! But then she wouldn't be a feminist...
But where she really misses an opportunity is in circle eight, which is even lower than Rumsfeld's nasty home. It "is divided into ten concentric crevices, each for a type of fraud distinctly punished in a manner that befits it."
Fraud... fraud... What would be a possible contemporary reference to really serious and hellworthy fraud? It would have to be big, like the most massive fraud ever perpetrated on the American people. Hmm... thinking. Maybe Mitt Romney pretending not to be a mass murderer?
Down in the eighth circle we meet Geryon, "an image of fraud with the face of an affable man, but whose body is pure serpent."
An affable man... but pure serpent... hmm... Maybe a politician. Can't be a conservative though, since no conservatives are affable. Rather, they're all mean and hateful, so that won't work.
As we make our descent, we "see how plastic fraud is as it assumes many forms." Maybe it would help if we define fraud:
"A false representation of a matter of fact -- whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed -- that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury."
So, lying and concealing in order to sell us something we wouldn't want if the truth were known.
I've got it! All the Democrats who voted to authorize the war in Iraq? Nah, most Republicans voted for that as well...
As we make our way toward circle nine, "fraud and violence merge," and we see "what happens when might marries a monster."
Let's see... the state supposedly has a monopoly on the use of legitimate violence. But what if fraud was used in order to gain this monopoly, and the violence is deployed in order to enforce the fraud?
I've got it: Fox News, which has such a monopoly over the competition! Except for the fraud and violence, it's a perfect fit. And it will get big laughs in the faculty lounge.
... every wrong that Heaven hates is / In the end, an injustice. Each injustice injures / Someone -- either by violence, or else through fraud.
Since fraud is an evil unique to humankind / God hates it all the more. Therefore, / Schemers are farther down, so suffer greater pain. --translation by Bang