Day 109

5.03: We’re gluttons for punishment, we folk that are here before light. A lot of people tell me that I must be, so I probably am.

I’ll tell you who else is: Lapham’s Quarterly, my favourite online cultural magazine with diagrams. But they’re gluttons for punishment in a more voyeuristic sense. They don’t seem so much love to be punished (although they might) as making info-graphics about punishment’s meted out to others.

Here be illustrative charty things of:

Bond villains and their methods of death
Crimes and their punishments through history
Forms of medieval torture
Divine justice
Dante’s circles of hell

My favourite circle of hell is the eighth circle in which pimps are whipped by demons while marching, hypocrites have to wear leaden cloaks, thieves are chased and bitten by reptiles, flatterers are covered in poo, and diviners are contorted until their heads are backward and they cry until blind.

Hypocritic thieves, it seems to me, would be able to take advantage of a built-in loophole.

Less so flattering diviners.

At least Dante’s hellish punishments seem vaguely to fit their crimes. When 42 children of Beth-el call Elisha a ‘bald head,’ God sends two she-bears to kill them. And in Rome in 52 BC, parricide was punished by the offender being sewn up with a dog, a cock, a viper, and an ape and thrown into the sea or river.

That one sounds like the start of a joke: A parricide, a dog, a cock, a viper, and an ape walk into a sack, and the dog says, “Well blow me over, Len the Cock, haven’t seen you in donkey’s years. Who’s that ponce you’re with?”

Or send in your own punchlines… It’s really early in the morning, but I’m a glutton for punishment.

6.57: Stuart screwed up the last bit of that, and I can’t be bothered to type it out again. Take it as read, I said something about how jolly this all is, something about some novely problem I’ve been wrangling with, and something vaguely offbeat or amusing. Then, let’s do this all again tomorrow.

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~ by David Thorley on September 15, 2010.

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