China robotxxx

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The author complains about he noise of hell and “the fraud, hatred, insolence, brutality, superstition, malice, venality…” To which the doctor responds: “Man, what do you expect? [italics in original] (Zizek 56) The joke is finding that beneath the familiar lies the familiar — the Hell under earth is earth.

Humor then does not cause us to “see the familiar defamiliarized, the ordinary made extraordinary and the real rendered surreal,” as Simon Critchley argues (47). The humor of Young’s Inferno is not that the ordinariness of earth is rendered extraordinary by putting it in Hell; it’s that the strangeness of Hell is rendered mundane by making it just like earth.

Niebuhr believes that this Christian faith is the only way, ultimately, for humans to successfully face the mystery of being an angel stapled to a dying ape.

Thus, according to Niebuhr, “Laughter must be heard in the outer courts of religion; and the echoes of it should resound in the sanctuary, but there is no laughter in the holy of holies.

The Inferno, written during the Great Depression, is, then, not a light-hearted fantasy about a just universe, but rather a Marxist panegyric, which explicitly uses its humor to castigate the status quo.