Where Famous Celebrities Would Wind Up in Dante's Inferno
First Circle (Limbo): Neil deGrasse Tyson
Technically, Limbo isn't even considered part of Hell, per se. It's more like the coffee shop outside of Hell where people just kind of hang out and talk about stuff for eternity. In Inferno, Dante writes that he even sought to stay there instead of delve into the fiery depths of hellfire and brimstone. Limbo holds the virtuous pagans; Dante places the great poets and thinkers Homer, Horace, Ovid, Socrates, Plato, and an assortment of others here. They're the guys that didn't technically make the "list" to get into the club (Heaven), but God lets them sort of hang out and shoot the shit.
In today's society of staunch Atheists and zealous believers, the happy medium is hard to find. It seems the two extremes are destined to just fling insults at each other while each side claims to be right. The most outspoken mediator in this debate is, without a doubt, Neil deGrasse Tyson. As an astrophysicist, he serves as the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium and regularly speaks out concerning the religion/science debate. He considers himself agnostic but chooses not to condemn Christianity nor completely embrace Atheism -- he simply states that he doesn't know. As the keynote speaker at The Amazing Meeting in 2008, he offered his views:
I don't have an issue with what you do in the church, but I'm going to be up in your face if you're going to knock on my science classroom and tell me they've got to teach what you're teaching in your Sunday school. Because that's when we're going to fight.
He'll happily hang out with Socrates and Plato, sipping some kind of Limbo latte (not too good, but still not bad). Like the rest of the virtuous pagans, he won't try to prove nor disprove the presence of some divine presence; his only search is for the truth of the universe. And for the most part, he's right nearly all the time.
Second Circle (Lust): Tiger Woods
Oh Tiger, Tiger, Tiger... How did you really end up with that bum leg? Dante would stick El Tigre right here with the likes of Dido, Helen, Achilles, and Paris: those who refused to keep it in their pants. The eternal fate awaiting the sinners of lust is described thusly:
The infernal storm, eternal in its rage,
sweeps and drives the spirits with its blast:
it whirls them, lashing them with punishment. (II. 31-33)
Now, I have to admit I'm not privy to the sexual fetishes of Mr. Woods, but considering that the man slept with a rumored 120 women, I'll assume that "lashing [him] with punishment" may not be punishment for him at all. If there's one thing that professional golfers hate, it's a stiff wind during their round. Dante strategically hurls Tiger into the unrelenting storm that flings his horny soul ad eternum. He's notorious for dropping out of tournaments once he starts to suck it up in a round. Unfortunately for our sex-addicted, multi-millionaire golfer friend, no one withdraws from Hell
Third Circle (Gluttony): Lindsay Lohan
For many of us, the only thing standing in the way of doing whatever we want is a means by which to do it (i.e. money). Why did Tiger sleep with all those women? He freaking could, that's why. Along the same lines, what happens when you give an individual in his/her early 20's a huge sum of cash? They go buck wild. Believe me, I see it at the beginning of every semester: kids get their loan money in, and it is time to part-ay! Meanwhile, these guys are only getting a couple thousand in their bank accounts. Lindsay Lohan, has no such wall to stop her, but what she does have is a team of reporters following her every move. I could only imagine what kind of stories would be written about me if cameras recorded my every move (STAY OUT OF MY SEARCH HISTORY!).
Nonetheless, I'm not famous, and our girl Lindsay is; so, she is cast in the sludge swamp with the Gluttons! Young people are entitled to go out every once in a while and have a good time. I'll assume that most social humans have at least experimented with a few drugs. We must remember, though, the go-to reasons for most of us not going out every night: money and work. Ms. Lohan doesn't have to worry about this stuff, so she will drink, smoke, inject, and snort her way into a blacked-out stupor whenever she damn well pleases. Just ask yourself, what would you have done in your early 20's had you not had to work and worry about money? We're pretty much all gluttons who lack the means to become as gluttonous as we want to be.
Fourth Circle (Greed): Mark Pincus
If you don't automatically recognize the name, maybe you'll recognize him as the CEO of Zynga games, the godless bastards behind Farmville and such. You may be thinkings, "But Jay, I love these games. Pincus shouldn't be prosecuted for getting rich off of a good idea!" To you, imaginary questioner, I'd say that I'm okay with him being rich. I draw the line when he deliberately scams his target deomgraphic to make himself richer. In 2009, he actually admitted that he was deliberately posting scam "offers" that, if participated in, would allow the gamer in-game power-ups or "Farmville gold" or whatever kind of currency you people use.
Now we all know that these offers are scams and totally aren't worth it, but guess who doesn't: people who play Farmville. Our moms, dads, grandmothers, and grandfathers aren't too savvy on the whole internet thing, in case you haven't noticed. Therefore, Zynga saw an opportunity to capitalize on our poor, cute old people and ultimately got super rich. And don't think I had to research that hard; he'll tell you himself:
I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues... We did anything possible just to get revenues so that we could grow and be a real business.
Apparently, his idea of a "real business" is the exact stereotype we all assume is the norm for businesses: get you hooked and the product sells itself. Zynga games are like cocaine for old people. Wait a second... Mark Pincus is a drug lord.
Fifth Circle (Anger): Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson's numerous fits of rage should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has seen any of his movies before the turn of the century. If you were surprised, I'd like you to raise your right hand. Any hands raised? If so, take it and slap yourself across the face because you should just feel ashamed. Nobody can play a crazy person as accurately as Mel Gibson. Of course, when he's sided next to Danny "I'm too old for this shit" Glover while acting like a complete lunatic, it's acceptable acting (it's like he's actually crazy!). When he does the same stuff in real life, it's front-page news (HOLY BALLS! He actually is crazy!).
I'm not going to exhaust the stories we've all heard here before, so I'll let Dante describe exactly why CrazyMel ends up in this circle of Hell:
They fought each other, not with hands alone, but struck with head and chest and feet as well, with teeth they tore each other limb from limb. (VII. 112-114)
If this isn't Mel Gibson's eternal pastime, I question the existence of a merciful God. Then again, the above description sounds pretty much like a paradise for Martin Riggs.
Sixth Circle (Heresy): Tom Cruise
As far as acting goes, Tom Cruise is pretty damn good. The man plays everything from a bartender to a fighter pilot to a secret agent to a sports agent to a samurai (of which, he is the last, apparently) to a guy who believes that people are actually immortal aliens trapped in a mortal human body. Wait... That last one is actually real Tom. You see, Tom is a believer in Scientology.
He is, more or less, the polar opposite of Mr. Gibson up there. While Gibson is a crazy person who portrays crazy people on film, Mr. Cruise can act as normal as can be in movies while being batshit insane in real life. It has to be an extremely painstaking endeavor to mask your own lunacy when attempting to portray something as normal as an 18th Century vampire (Interview with the Vampire). Of course, this same work ethic has helped Tom ascend to the coveted rank known as "Operating Thetan Seven," or OT-VII, which I can only assume permits him entry to a lollipop castle amid the Candy Cane Forest.
The Church of Scientology is the only religious group that gets made fun of by pretty much every other religion. Despite all the disputes and hatred among all the world's religious groups, they all agree: those people are straight up wrong.
Seventh Circle (Violence): O.J. Simpson
To be fair, the Juice was found Not Guilty by a jury of his peers in his murder trial. That being said, let's take the giant leap of faith and just assume for a second that he did, in fact, do it. We'll throw him into the Seventh Circle of Hell with the sinners of Violence. We must remember, though, Dante doesn't just lump all of these violent no-gooders into the same violent no-gooding pile. There are three separate groups. In which case, we'll have to toss a little bit of O.J. into each ring. Oh, and did I mention that this circle is guarded by a Minotaur?! Awesome...
In this crazy bizarro world where O.J. did kill two people, his actions would first land him in the first ring, the flaming Phlegethon. Those who committed violence toward other people and property get to float around in what can only be described as Satan's Lazy River. Once through there, O.J. is transformed into a tree and fed on by Harpies. Such is the punishment for the suicides. Granted, he didn't actually kill himself, but his note demonstrates that he was more than likely pondering offing himself. Finally, his gas-guzzling white Bronco lands him, also, in the third ring designated for the violent against God and nature. Lord only knows how much of the ozone he ate away with that SUV.
Eighth Circle (Fraud): Rush Limbaugh
Before I get into Mr. Limbaugh's Hell resume, I'd like to present a bit of a list of those housed in the Malabolgia: panders, flatterers, simonists, sorcerers, barrators, hypocrites, thieves, deceivers, sowers of discord, and falsifiers. As controversial radio hosts are wont to do, Rush enjoys inducing a bit of shock factor during his shows. You have to admire a man who will speak his mind (I certainly don't... Right?). On the other hand, let's take a look at our cigar toking buddy and how he fits into the Eighth Circle of Hell.
I'll admit that it would be a bit unjust to begin by stating Rush as a sower of discord, as virtually every talk show radio host has to be nowadays. On the application for the job, it asks, "How good are you at starting arguments?" If you bubble in the 10 on the 1-10 scale, you're hired. I'm almost positive that that's how it works. Where Rush happens to leave hosts like my beloved Phil Valentine is his blatant obliviousness to his own slimy character. I hear that if you shake Rush Limbaugh's hand, Agent Orange wouldn't even wash the douchebag off -- and this guy has to live with it.
Due to society's ever diminishing attention span and my own disdain to actually type Rush Limbaugh's name for this article, I'm going to forgo a systematic list explaining every single reason why Mr. Limbaugh ends up with all the other fraudulent here. Instead, I'll issue you a task (homework, if you will). The list mentioned above, save my good mood and type "Rush Limbaugh [insert sinner here]" into your handy little Google Search Bar up there. Let the internet do the work for me.
Ninth Circle (Treachery): LeBron James
And now I could make out one of the faces, the shoulders, the chest and a good part of the belly and, down along the sides, the two great arms. Nature, when she cast away the mold for shaping beasts like these, without a doubt did well, depriving Mars of more such agents. And if she never did repent of whales and elephants, we must consider her, on sober thought, all the more just and wary: for when the faculty of intellect is joined with brute force and with evil will, no man can win against such an alliance. (XXI. 46-57)
Above is Dante's prophetic vision of LeBron James written in 1308. His forethought surrounding King James' betrayal of an entire city puts Dante in the same class of Nostradamus. Any scholarly Clevelander familiar with the circles of Hell as described by Dante didn't have to watch the The Decision to know the outcome, for it was already decreed. The frozen lake of Cocytus imprisons the chained giants Nimrod, Ephialtes, and, of course, Satan (Bosh, Wade, and LeBron???).
Judas received thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus. Lando Calrissian got paid to turn in Han Solo. Scar became king when he killed Mufasa. I get it, Bron Bron had his reasons to leave: he thought he would have a better chance to win a championship if he joined some type of evil alliance of super giants. Their team name is "The Heat" for Pete's sake; how can you get more Hellish than that?
The only thing Cleveland can take solace in is the cosmic justice of the world as presented through movies. Everyone gets their comeuppance eventually, and LeBron shall pay dearly for his treachery... in this life or the next.