Noth­ing di­vine about hav­ing to wait to talk about elec­tion re­sults

The Standard Journal - - EDITORIALS & OPINION - DICK YAR­BROUGH

Be­cause of a fi­nite dead­line, I won’t be com­ment­ing on the elec­tion re­sults in Ge­or­gia un­til next week since some of you will see this be­fore the elec­tion and some af­ter­ward.

But not to worry. As I have noted pre­vi­ously, Amer­i­can hu­morist Will Rogers used to say, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the gov­ern­ment and re­port the facts.” Me, too. There will plenty of jokes go­ing for­ward af­ter the re­sults are in. No mat­ter the out­come or the party, the gov­ern­ment is the gov­ern­ment and a politi­cian is a politi­cian.

In the mean­time, I have been an­a­lyz­ing Dante Alighieri’s clas­sic poem, the “Di­vine Com­edy.” (How is that for a nifty segue. Jokes? Com­edy? Is this guy good or what?)

Ac­tu­ally, I have dis­cov­ered that the “Di­vine Com­edy” isn’t funny at all. It would be ap­pro­pri­ate to com­pare it to Bill Ma­her and Kathy Grif­fith, who call them­selves co­me­di­ans but who aren’t funny, ei­ther.

The “Di­vine Com­edy” is a poem that de­scribes Dante’s dream of trav­el­ing through the three realms of the dead: hell, pur­ga­tory and heaven. It was writ­ten be­tween 1308 and 1320. If Sig­nore Alighieri were to write it to­day, he might de­scribe hell as Detroit City af­ter dark ,and pur­ga­tory as wait­ing to hear a live voice when you call for ser­vice while a robot tells you your call is very im­por­tant. Heaven could be no place but the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia, the old­est state-char­tered univer­sity in the na­tion, lo­cated in Athens, Ge­or­gia, the Clas­sic City of the South. (That one is a no-brainer.)

When Dante made his imag­i­nary trip to hell, he dis­cov­ered nine cir­cles or lev­els there and where you were lo­cated de­pended on how se­ri­ous your sin was. For ex­am­ple, there is limbo, where a lot of vir­tu­ous pa­gans re­side. I know a cou­ple of athe­ists who are nicer to deal with than some stiff-necked, know-it-all Bible-thumpers. limbo sounds like just the spot for them.

Of course, some of the pa­gans could wind up in the Heresy sec­tion of hell if they push God too far. That’s not my call. I think some of the stiff-necks are li­able to get put in the Sullen and Wrath cir­cle. Maybe they can bring their guns and tell who­ever runs that depart­ment, it is a “sanc- tity of life” is­sue.

Down to­ward the bot­tom of Hell is the Vi­o­lence Cir­cle. I’m not sure how big a deal that was in Dante’s day but we could fill the place up to­day with all the vi­o­lence go­ing on. To know a bunch of white su­prem­a­cists, street gang thugs and ISIS ter­ror­ists were shar­ing the same cir­cle and get­ting their col­lec­tive fan­nies burned would be heav­enly.

There are a bunch of other cir­cles like Lust (Look out, Jimmy Carter. God may for­give you for your racist cam­paign for gov­er­nor — I don’t — but He prob­a­bly re­mem­bers you talk­ing to Play­boy Mag­a­zine about hav­ing lust in your heart. You might want to alert your apol­o­gists.) And then there is Glut­tony where a lot of peo­ple end up when their ar­ter­ies ex­plode af­ter their sec­ond and third trips wad­dling through the line at the All-You-Can-Eat buf­fet.

A lot has hap­pened since Dante wrote his “Di­vine Com­edy” some 700 years ago de­scrib­ing who goes to what cir­cle in Hell and why. With all due re­spect, the poem could use a bit of an up­date. We’ve got a whole new crowd that de­serves con­sid­er­a­tion for a mis­er­able for­ever af­ter. Let’s start with robo­callers who man­age to dis­rupt our sup­per and the bad peo­ple who try to trick us on the in­ter­net into giv­ing them our bank ac­count in­for­ma­tion.

Any­body who abuses a child or an an­i­mal needs to go to hell, where a Rot­tweiler can chew on their nose into eter­nity while cherubs slap them up­side the head.

And let’s leave room for the pro­fes­sional foot­ball play­ers who make mil­lions of dol­lars play­ing a kid’s game while sir­ing mul­ti­ple chil­dren with mul­ti­ple mom­mas, slap­ping around their girl­friends, snort­ing drugs, get­ting in night­club brawls but still find­ing the time to kneel on Sun­day and dis­re­spect their coun­try, al­leg­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity. Wait! Did I just gen­er­al­ize? My bad. They would never do that.

Please don’t tell Dante I said this, but I find the “Di­vine Com­edy” a di­vine bore. Will Rogers is a lot fun­nier. If it wasn’t for this in­fer­nal dead­line, I would al­ready be jerk­ing the chains of a bunch of pompous politi­cians. Hav­ing to wait a week is just pure — well, you know.

You can reach Dick Yar­brough at dick@dick­yarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, 31139 or on Face­book at www.

face­book.com/dick­yarb.

Yar­brough

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