As his eyes scanned a kluge of spam, one email caught his eye.
All the email said was: Hello, Marten. Visit the Devil’s Blog!
It seemed too much of a coincidence to resist, even if common sense dictated that it was likely to be a trap to harvest his computer, or worse, inflict a virus.
When he clicked on the URL “www.thedevilsblog.com”, the homepage revealed a dark red backdrop with just a hint of orange. The lettering in bold, black, gothic letters, announced, Welcome to the Devil’s own Home Page!
He clicked the word beneath— Enter.
What he saw next was a second landing page filled with an etching by Albrecht Dürer. Center stage was the image of a knight in full armor on a horse. A leering corpse holding an hourglass rode beside him. Behind them both was a strange figure with a boar’s head and a pick. The title written underneath was “Knight, Death and the Devil.”
But what most captivated Marten’s eye were two other elements.
The first was a little dog, trotting loyally beneath the knight’s horse with its head held erect and its ears splayed to listen into Death’s conversation. The dog was smiling, as if it were uncomprehending of the drama unfolding around it.
The other element that caught Marten’s attention was a stone plaque resting on a stump beneath a skull, with the inscriptions S. 1513 and the A above D—the iconic signature of the artist. This last struck Marten in particular because of his private reference to the A.D. Note. It seemed like a parody—one upon the other. A visual mockery of his own imagination.
Just beneath the etching was a brief quasi-epitaph—quasi because there was no date of death.
Karl Grünenwald: Born: 1503. Worked in Spain, Italy and Germany with his brother Ferdinand. Served as military engineer to the Viceroy of Sicily. To honor his contributions, he was made a Knight of Devotion of the Order of St. John.
Further below, in small print, was a menu with only two options—one for The Nine Deadly Sins and the other for Three Poems.
Given the alleged source, Marten hoped there would also be a URL for Contact Us—the devil leaving his very own forwarding address, so to speak.
But none was forthcoming.
When he clicked onto the page with The Nine Deadly Sins, Marten saw the top heading, “Introduction.”
It explained that the Vatican had recently extended the Seven Deadly Sins to include pollution, obscene wealth, genetic modification, human experimentation, and taking drugs.
So The Nine Deadly Sins were just the devil’s attempt to “keep up and stay current.”
The text underneath read—
The Seven Sins, largely the work of a fourth-century Greek monk, have become old and familiar to the point of being tiresome. The worn-out acronym SALIGIA stands for superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira and acedia. Or pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.
But the modern world has its own sins, most of which are yet more insidious than those of the past. No one needs an old-fashioned devil anymore when the world is going to hell quite on its own. And so the new devil—the devil of the Modern Era—has nothing left to do but reinvent a better world with a less conflicted, design.
The sins listed below should, therefore, be understood as a platform to rationalize the need for a new world order.