Chapter 85: The Fountain

Alright, back into the weeds we go.

A still from the 2006 film The Fountain, unrelated to this post
Not that The Fountain

This week’s chapter is, as they say, a doozy. Not that it is especially long, but it is dense, and comes to a surprising conclusion at the end. We’re back to pure non-narrative stuff, pontification on the nature of whales, in this case a specific part of their biology: the breath. This one requires a bit of cutting through the underbrush of 19th century vocabulary, but if you can manage that, it’s quite fun. Continue reading “Chapter 85: The Fountain”

Chapter 84: Pitchpoling

Ah, after a couple of chapters of non-narrative philosophizing, we get back to a bit of whale hunting.

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This one is kind of tricky, I’m not sure if I’m really going to be able to wring a lot of philosophical meaning out of it, but there is a mystery to be solved. Namely: what the heck is pitchpoling, actually? Let’s get into it. Continue reading “Chapter 84: Pitchpoling”

Reflections in Reflections of Crystal: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and the Nature of Fiction

Most metafiction is bad, I find.

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Almost always, when authors start getting into the weeds on the nature of reality, twisting things around and trying to play with the idea of characters within a story knowing that they’re fictional, I find it incredibly boring. It serves as a kind of excuse for not doing the hard work of writing actual characters or events with meaning. You simply point at the fourth wall and say “look at it! I’m doing something interesting here!” Continue reading “Reflections in Reflections of Crystal: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and the Nature of Fiction”

Chapter 81: The Pequod Meets The Virgin

Enough of this reflection and philosophizing, it’s time for more action!

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I do wonder if Melville was a bit self-conscious in writing this book, aware that he was a bit too heavy on the high-minded discourse, when his audience was expecting more of a rollicking action-adventure yarn. After all, his most successful previous books, Typee and Omoo were more in that vein. Thus, the sudden shift in tone here, to a good ol’ fashioned whale hunt. Continue reading “Chapter 81: The Pequod Meets The Virgin”

Chapter 76: The Battering-Ram

Boy I sure hope you’re ready for more whale physiology!

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Continuing on with our little run of non-narrative chapters, today we’re getting a close examination of the sperm whale’s powerful forehead. Of course, this being Moby Dick, it has some deep philosophical implications that would drive a man mad if he fully understood them. Let’s get into it. Continue reading “Chapter 76: The Battering-Ram”

Chapter 75: The Right Whale’s head—Contrasted View

I bet you never could’ve guessed this chapter title. Not in a million years.

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In this chapter, we learn a bit more about the other whale, the one the southern whalers usually spurn, at least these days. And by “these days” I of course mean the 1840s, when this book was written. Nowadays, nobody is out hunting whales, except the Makah of the Washington coast, and the Japanese, probably. Continue reading “Chapter 75: The Right Whale’s head—Contrasted View”

Chapter 74: The Sperm Whale’s Head—Contrasted View

Okay, this may be a little less philosophical than I remembered.

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But, I will find a way to make it so, in my particular way. Not to say that Ishmael stays squarely on topic for the whole chapter, such a thing has almost never happened, but it isn’t the feast of direct philosophical references I was assuming. I guess it is just that one off-handed remark from the last chapter, where he calls one head Locke and the other Kant. I remember a lot about Kant from my philosophical studies, but little about Locke, so I couldn’t expand much on that anyway. Continue reading “Chapter 74: The Sperm Whale’s Head—Contrasted View”

Chapter 73: Stubb & Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk over Him

Man, what a chapter title.

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After so many chapters titled “The [noun]”, we get an old fashioned summary, like this is a danged penny dreadful or dime novel. Also, apparently hunting a whale is now a single-chapter affair, or half a chapter, as we’ll soon see. The real focus is on the eponymous Talk. Continue reading “Chapter 73: Stubb & Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk over Him”

Chapter 71: The Jeroboam’s Story

Alright, now we are back in it.

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Jeroboam sacrificing to his idol, oil on canvas by Claes Corneliszoon Moeyaert, 1641

Today’s chapter is a lengthy one, featuring the tale of another whaling ship that the Pequod comes across on that vast, wild plain of the Pacific Ocean. They hear the story of this ship, another wild tale that happens to be incredibly relevant to their own quest. Let’s listen in, shall we? Continue reading “Chapter 71: The Jeroboam’s Story”

Police Abolition: A Reasonable Idea

On its face, police abolition sounds crazy.

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After all, we need police, they help protect us from crime! Their presence in the community helps prevent crimes actively and passively, and they work to solve crimes and catch criminals after they are committed. Well, the problem is that none of that is actually true. The vision of cops that is presented in the media and the reality of their existence in the world could not be more different. Continue reading “Police Abolition: A Reasonable Idea”