Note: The following is satire. It basically reflects what I think the people involved might say if such a conversation took place.
Greetings, faithful readers! Today, the Curiously Dead Cat brings you a special guest: None other than the medieval master, that prince of poetry, Dante!
Dante, it is really a great honor to have you here.
chuckling Of course it is. And you know, I’m glad to be here, because I just love anime!
Yes, I was surprised to learn this. But it makes sense that you of all people would have a great appreciation for good art.
That, and mangaka love to steal from me. Quite good taste they have.
You’re referring to all the stories that copy your Seven Deadly Sins and corresponding punishments?
Plus actually naming one villain after me.
Ah! The woman Dante from the FMA anime. She was rather… disconcerting.
Take my word, she wasn’t nearly as frightening as the real Signora Dante.
Now, Dante, in particular today I was hoping to get your comments on the latest scandal making the rounds on the Internet. You’re familiar, I take it, with My Hero Academia?
That quaint little flash in the pan? It’s rather mediocre as an allegory for the seven theological virtues, but it’s not so bad, I suppose. FMA: Brotherhood is better though.
choking on my wine Dante, my good man, if you’re that blunt, I’m glad you don’t have a Twitter account.
But of course. How can I properly mock someone’s pedigree and insult his father’s small and misshapen loins without at least writing a sonnet?
That’s what my friends and I did for fun back in Florence. But tell me about this My Zero Academia.
Well, there’s this character named Momo, a young woman whom the artist has been portraying with very little clothing.
And this has caused some protests.
Ah, those Protestants.
Um, I don’t think you’re using that word correctly. In any case, you’ve seen her. What do you think of how she’s presented, Dante?
Horrible. Utterly horrible. Why, with those physical proportions, her sense of balance would be thrown completely off. No way she’d make it as a hero. The artist should know better.
Um, I think he does know better.
Aha, you’re saying it’s all part of the conventions of this artistic medium?
You mean, everybody does it? Well, yes.
Carry on, then.
But don’t you, a medieval Catholic, have a problem with portraying women as objects of men’s sexual appetites?
Why, of course I do! Dedicated an entire chapter of Hell to that, I did.
So don’t you think it’s wrong to depict women as Momo has been?
sigh The problem with you 21st-century types is that you have no sense of nuance. Or balance. Have you read the Epic of Gilgamesh? The Aeneid? The Mahabharata? You Americans and your sexual squeemishness are the aberrations, the clowns on the Stage of History. You don’t just throw out a great story over things like that.
Take my Inferno. I put sexual sins up near the top, right near the philosophers. Know what that means? There’s seven more circles below of sins that are worse! Guess what’s below lust.
Gluttony! Now do you object strongly to stories that depict people as eating too much? Don’t tell me the Japanese don’t enjoy their meals: I’ve seen Food Wars! Or how about greed? Anger? Dio mio, near the lowest part I put money-lenders. That’s right: Hell holds a place of honor for capitalists! Man, you guys are screwed!
The deepest part is for traitors, of course. Can you think of anything worse than a traitor? And can you imagine anyone flipping tables because a story portrayed betrayal? I thought not. So put it in perspective, mate. It’s not what you read, but how you read it, that makes the difference.
All right, Dante, but we’re not talking about reading here. We’re talking about visual depictions.
Do you think there’s any difference that matters? Have you seen Michelangelo’s David? Praxiteles’ Aphrodite? Have you been to Rome and run the gauntlet of Classical and Renaissance statues of ideal human figures?
Yeah, that’s what I thought. So get some perspective, amico mio. Enjoy some gelato, grab a glass of deep red vino, and join me in a toast. Salute!