Brunetto Latini was a GLBTQ civil servant in Florence in Dante's Day. Neil Steinberg reads Dante all of the time. I taught some passages from the Divine Comedy for years and have merely a high school teacher's middling familiarity with Dante. I never would buy a sweatshirt with Dante's Mug on the front, however. Who would?
However, I do remember Brunetto Latini*. Dante tossed folks with whom he had congress from Florence into Purgatory or the Inferno during his epic journey with the Roman poet Virgil through the afterlife in search of lost and beloved Beatrice - who is up in Heaven ( Paradiso) with Beatific Vision -All Three of Him.
Not Brunetto Latini. The poor guy was lumped into the third ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell ( Inferno) with the sodomites - gays.
There are plenty of breeders in Hell as well - folks who cave in to Lust. That is the sexual urge in all of its many manifestations -Diversity is Hell.
Well today, Old Neil goes after Rev. Senator James Meeks, who broke with the Left Coalitions by urging Vouchers for all school children. Contra Progresso! Che Brutta!
Rev. James Meeks has railed against homosexuality - contra natura, as Dante and Virgil and Pope Benedict XVI might say.
Rev. Meeks met with the Illinois Gay Papacy in Closed Session. Neil finds that to be great sport - treats James Meeks like people of the 19th Ward he does, Old Neil. Funny guy.
Damn! I never get invited anywhere. I would have loved to be in the room when the Rev. James Meeks explained to gay activists how his urging the state to continue denying them jobs and housing based on their sexuality, not to mention his firm, oft-stated belief that they'll all be roasting in hell with Satan for eternity, was merely a misunderstanding, now that he needs their votes. . . .The crux is what he is willing to say to the thousands of Salem Baptist faithful every Sunday. If the scales have indeed fallen from his eyes, and he has decided he wants to be mayor so much that gay people should now be judged, not by the color of their sexuality, but by the content of their characters, well, glory hallelujah, he should not whisper it to a few gay leaders, but shout it from the mountaintop to his faithful flock. I would get up early on a Sunday, put on a good suit and go to church to hear that sermon. If it ever happens, I'll let you know.
Neil's tongue tucked tightly to the cheek! Shades of Dr. King to make the sinful soul sing! Neil must be killing himself with laughter directed at all of the ignominious fools us mortal be who are not Neil Steinberg.
Not my cup of giggles. Like most people, I have more than enough grist for the giggle mill with my own personal and public follies.
Satura Lanx! Dante is a pretty good student of human nature and could teach all of us about tolerance. Well not all of us. Certainly not those who puff themselves up as Dante scholars, to be sure.
As I said, I have a middling familiarity with Dante, but full appreciation of literature's ability to make better human beings of us -were we not to use literature as a coffee table book.
Dante admired the genius and the poetic abilities of Brunetto Latini and is saddened to witness the man's torment in the Inferno - it was not Dante's choice to toss Latini in the third ring of the Seventh Circle - that is God's work. Dante has much more in common with Rev. James Meeks than with Neil Steinberg.
James Meeks has a congregation and a constituency.
Neil Steinberg has a column -for now.
* Brunetto Latini- Florentine philosopher and statesman, born at Florence, c. 1210; the son of Buonaccorso Latini, died 1294.
A notary by profession. Brunetto shared in the revolution of 1250, by which the Ghibelline power in Florence was overthrown, and a Guelph democratic government established In 1260, he was sent by the Commune as ambassador to Alfonso X of Castile, to implore his aid against King Manfred and the Ghibellines, and he has left us in his "Tesoretto", (II, 27-50), a dramatic account of how, on his return journey, he met a scholar from Bologna who told him that the Guelphs had been defeated at Montaperti and expelled from Florence. Brunetto took refuge at Paris, where a generous fellow-countryman enabled him to pursue his studies while carrying on his profession of notary. To this unnamed friend he now dedicated his "Trésor". After the Guelph triumph of 1266 and the establishment of a new democratic constitution, Brunetto returned to Florence, where he held various offices, including that of secretary to the Commune, took an active and honoured part in Florentine politics, and was influential in the counsels of the Republic. Himself a man of great eloquence, he introduced the art of oratory and the systematic study of political science into Florentine public life. He was buried in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Among the individuals who had come under his influence was the young Dante Alighieri, and, in one of the most pathetic episodes of the "Inferno" (canto XV) Dante finds the sage, who had taught him "how man makes himself eternal", among the sinners against nature.
Brunetto's chief work, "Li Livres dou Trésor" is a kind of encyclopedia in which he "treats of all things that pertain to mortals". It was written in French prose during his exile, and translated into Italian by a contemporary, Bono Giamboni. Mainly a compilation from St. Isidore of Seville and other writers, it includes compendiums of Aristotle's "Ethics" and Cicero's treatise on rhetoric. The most interesting portion is the last, "On the Government of Cities", in which the author deals with the political life of his own times. The "Tesoretto", written before the "Trésor", is an allegorical didactic poem in Italian, which undoubtedly influenced Dante. Brunetto finds himself astray in a wood, speaks with Nature in her secret places, reaches the realm of the Virtues, wanders into the flowery meadow of Love, from which he is delivered by Ovid. He confesses his sins to a friar and resolves to amend his life, after which he ascends Olympus and begins to hold converse with Ptolemy. It has recently been shown that the "Tesoretto" was probably dedicated to Guido Guerra, the Florentine soldier and politician who shares Brunetto's terrible fate in Dante's Inferno. Brunetto also wrote the "Favolello", a pleasant letter in Italian verse to Rustico di Filippo on friends and friendship. The other poems ascribed to him, with the possible exception of one canzone, are spurious.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia