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Bad manners are spooky. A modern look at Dante's 'Inferno' highlights some of the worst offenders.

A funny twist on Dante's masterpiece will have you contemplating your own social sins.

Bad manners are spooky. A modern look at Dante's 'Inferno' highlights some of the worst offenders.

After nearly 700 years, Dante Alighieri's "The Divine Comedy" is getting a bit of an overhaul.

So that's what Onnesha Roychoudhuriwho writes under the pen name Kali V. Roy (and who, full disclosure, is an editor here at Upworthy) — set out to give the world. Her book, "Go to Hells: An Updated Guide to Dante's Underworld," is part a tongue-in-cheek update on Dante's "Inferno," part modern etiquette guide. Roychoudhuri describes it as "a series of punishments for people who seem to have temporarily forgotten how to be people."


All illustrations by Jesse Riggle/Zest Books.

While Dante's traditional nine circles of hell cover some boring basics like lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery, they didn't really answer pressing questions. Like, "What eternal punishment awaits people in my office — knock it off, Brad — who click 'reply all' when it is wholly unnecessary to do so?" or "What lies in store for the man sitting behind me at the movie theater who's chatting it up with his buddy while I'm trying to focus on the matinee of 'Inside Out'?"

These are pressing questions that Dante (come on, dude) didn't have the foresight to include.

Let's take a look at some of these modern circles of hell (and how we can avoid winding up within them), shall we?

1. Be polite to restaurant employees. Don't mess with people who handle your food. It's just a bad idea.

"Go to Hells" has a name for those who commit this particular sin: Waitstaff abusers. They're the ones sending food back to the kitchen, leaving subpar tips, and just generally acting as though their server is somehow less worthy of respect than they are.

What sort of hell awaits those who are rude to servers? An eternity of disgusting meals. So take heed, restaurant employees, the man who snapped his fingers at you and didn't leave a tip will get what's coming to him.

2. Spend all the time you'd like on your cell phones — but maybe not in the middle of conversation.

This goes double for people on the phone in line at a fast food restaurant, bank, or really just any situation where you have to interact with someone else.


Take comfort in knowing that those people who rudely glare at their phones as you're trying to speak to them will spend the rest of forever with the teeny, tiny arms of a T. rex and their phone just out of reach.

3. Follow some societal basics, such as walking on the right side of the sidewalk and not blocking train doors.

For those of you out there using public transportation, I'm sure you know who this is referring to — the guy who charges onto a train as soon as the door opens and before others can exit? Yeah, screw that guy. Don't be that guy.

It's only fitting that since he contributes to this type of obstruction that his hell shall be to forever have to fight the current in a river filled with trout.

4. Even if it's "just the Internet," that doesn't mean it's OK to be a total jerk to strangers (or friends, for that matter).

"Who cares!?" this person will comment at the bottom of articles not to their liking. "You're ugly!" they post to your Instagram. These, my friend, are trolls, and you don't want to be one. What are you contributing to the world by telling a stranger how little you think of their writing or looks or hobbies or interest in pop culture? Very little, I'd say!

Those who troll in life shall be trolled in death, as their hell is a never-ending comment section moderated by real trolls.


5. Don't take up an exorbitant amount of space on public transportation, or anywhere else.

Your bag does not need its own seat. Your legs do not need to spread at a 60-degree angle into the seats next to you. You do not need to take up the whole arm rest on an airplane. But, of course, you're not this person, now, are you? Let's hope not.

Because if you are, it seems you'll be stuck in an eternal game of musical chairs with other space-hogs like yourself.

Are these hard and fast rules for existing in society? Nah. Do whatever you please, but try to be considerate.

"I'm an incurable crank with a tiny nugget of hope at my core," says Roychoudhuri. "To me, 'The Inferno' and 'Go to Hells' are less about fire-and-brimstone in the afterlife and more about calling out the things that we do to each other here on earth. In this life. They offer a way for people to identify and relate to the crappy things we do to each other, in the hope that maybe we can find ways to be better humans while we're still, you know, alive and breathing."

Below is a short trailer for the book, complete with a few additional examples.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."