As I adjusted to the dying light,
Human-like figures issued from the mist,
And at my feet I found a tortured soul,
Contorted like a circus acrobat,
Contending with a long, unyielding word
That would not bend in any useful way,
Fiercely resisting to be swallowed whole.
Retributalitarianism it read.
Said I: “How came you to such dreary fate?”
And he to me: “Oh, how I rue the day
This awful word, which then appeared to me
As smooth as silk, promised to energize
My LinkedIn bio sketch and catapult
Me on the map of world-class scholarship.
Alas, my project dismally collapsed
When others forged, out of the molten ore
Of language, words more better than my own.
To top it all, and make my just-deserved
Humiliation utter and complete,
A devil snatched my soul at my demise
And I was brought before a hanging judge
Who sentenced me to this foul-smelling pit.
Said I: “You are in ample company.”
And he to me: “The pit is overfull.
I am but fresh arrived, and still on top.
But under me are heaps of miscreants
Eternally atoning for their sins.”
Not far from him, struggled a wretched soul,
Eyes popping out of sockets from the strain,
Choking on an unpalatable word,
“Commog... commog...” stuck halfway in his throat,
Refusing to go down or to slip back,
Blocking all passage of the vital air,
Until a fiendish devil, with his boot
Administered the palliative kick.
“Commognitive,” the soul said with relief.
“Oh, woe is me for venturing to wed the
Communicative with the cognitive
In an unholy union fit to dupe
The critically challenged easy marks,
The gullible, the tone deaf, and the dumb.”
“But what was it supposed to signify?”
“That I did never fully comprehend.
‘Twas up to my disciples to explain,
The which they did assiduously anon.”
And here his speech abruptly was cut off,
As the regurgitating, awful word
Was presently expelled with a loud retch.
How mercilessly strikes the contrapasso!
What mockery makes punishment of sin!
Oh, the extremes of suffering mine eyes
Have witnessed in that melancholy pit!
What torments, fearful and unspeakable
That anguished multitude had to endure!
I saw heartrending authors throttled by
Agentic factors rattling in their throat.
One by technicization garroted
Was writhing on the ground in search of breath.
And hundreds, thousands, countless many others,
Were squirming in their vomit as they wrangled
With tellability and groupishness,
Governmentality and othering,
Not even clear which syllables to stress—
Affordances, facticity, selfplex,
Deliverology and speakerhood,
Religionization and we-ness,
Glocalization, sic, and actorhood,
And multiplistic, museumification,
Protestantized riskification, oh,
And words too long and shocking to pronounce...
This is where Dante’s notes terminify, although the verbality of the episode doesn’t look definitivized. Perhaps postemporally we will stumble upon the absenting parts.