Sunday, May 27, 2012

South Beach Diet

An email from my friend Arthur:

MIAMI (AP) – A Miami police officer on Saturday fatally shot a naked man who was chewing on the face of another man on a downtown causeway off-ramp, police and witnesses said.

The Miami Herald reports that gunshots were heard at about 2 p.m. on the MacArthur Causeway off-ramp, which is near the newspaper's offices. Witnesses said that a woman saw two men fighting and flagged down a police officer, who came upon a naked man mauling the other man. The newspaper quoted witnesses as saying that the officer ordered the naked man to back away, and when he ignored the demand, the officer shot him. Witnesses said that the naked man continued his attack after being shot once, and the officer shot him several more times.

Police said the other man was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center. The newspaper said he had suffered critical injuries.

Okay, I think I figured this one out: it was a Dante symposium gone horribly, horribly awry. Dante scholars are a notoriously disputatious bunch. There was a discussion about the exact meaning of the scene in the Ninth Circle of the Inferno where Count Ugolino is chewing Archbishop Ruggieri's head because the latter locked the former and his children up in a tower and let them starve. The controversy was over Ugolino's last words, after recounting the death, one by one, of all his children till only he was left: "Then hunger did what grief could not do." Does Dante want us to interpret these words to mean simply that he died, or as a veiled confession of cannibalism? The scholarly discussion deteriorated into an argument, which degenerated into a re-enactment, which led finally to the gruesome and tragic outcome of which you have just read. Note that with one exception all the categories of sinners in the Inferno are naked. (The dead cannibal is down there now being congratulated as the place's first meta-sinner—the first one who sinned in the course of a literary argument about the sinners in the Inferno.)

Or not; just puttin' that out there, is all.