Chapter 93: The Castaway

Sometimes it’s easy to go skimming along through this book and then be suddenly met with an ugly reminder that it was written before the civil war.

Naturally, this is any time a Black character shows up. It happens again this chapter, and while it’s not as bad as the cook, there are still some off-hand comments and just… general weirdness and discomfort around the portrayal of Black characters in this book. Like I think it’s about as good as you can expect from any white writer in 1850, but still, it’s a bit jarring.

Continue reading “Chapter 93: The Castaway”

Chapter 92: Ambergris

Another break in the narrative so soon?

Notes: 150 gram piece, Contact: David Liittschwager Natural History Photography 120 Parnassus Avenue #1 San Francisco, CA 94117 cell: 415 531 6882 email: liittschwager@mac.com Ambergris provided by: Mandy Aftel Aftelier Perfumes mandy@aftelier.com 510-841-2111

Yes, it’s time for another of Old Ishmael’s little musings, but it’s just a short aside this time, not a whole tangent with its own thematic arc. A little explanation, for those of you who are not fans of the old and oft-rebooted cartoon series Futurama.

Continue reading “Chapter 92: Ambergris”

Game of the Year 2022

Ahhh, it’s that time again.

This was a weird year for me, in terms of games. There was the release of something that I had been looking forward to for a long time, but it didn’t really hit for me. I spent the first half of the year paralyzed with fear and absorbed in old favorites, and the latter half too busy to get into anything new. So, there’s not a lot to go on here, really. But, I’ve still got Some Thoughts on a few things.

Continue reading “Game of the Year 2022”

Chapter 89: Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish

Alright, enough about space whales, let’s get back to good ol’ fashioned domestic Earth whales.

Diver freeing a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) trapped in a fishing net.

We’ve got a real barn burner of a chapter today. One of those ones that feels like it was written specifically for me, or at least the 21st century audience. This is just a beautiful bit of philosophical writing that really gets across an idea in a very neat and tidy way. Sure, there are a few rough edges to it, I won’t ignore those, but we’ve certainly gotten used to them by this point, haven’t we?

Continue reading “Chapter 89: Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish”

Chapter 77: The Great Heidelburgh Tun

This is one of the chapters that really inspired me to do this blog.

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The casual reader of Moby Dick, which I must assume exists because I was one, would come across this and be utterly confused. What the heck is a Heidelburgh Tun, and why is it being talked about like it’s some sort of famous reference that everyone knows? It’s a question that cries out for answering. This is the one that really got me started in on researching all these obscure 19th century references. Continue reading “Chapter 77: The Great Heidelburgh Tun”

Chapter 69: The Funeral

Nice.

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Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we can get back to business. I’ve been a bit busy lately: going to school, being overwhelmed by the horrors of the world, fearing for the safety of my city and my friends abroad, making a new website for myself. All very pressing business, I assure you. Continue reading “Chapter 69: The Funeral”

A War among the Stars

Man, where do you even begin?

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Star Wars is many things to many people. It has changed genres many times as the series has gone on, drawing from many different points of inspiration. It used to be the very symbol of outsider auteurship succeeding in the face of Hollywood studios, and now it’s part of the great Disney media conglomerate. It is modern mythology, and has been interpreted and reinterpreted many times. Continue reading “A War among the Stars”

Chapter 52: The Albatross

Okay, so this chapter isn’t technically the one with the first game, that would be chapter 53, titled: The Gam. But it is the first time the Pequod meets another whaling ship, so I think it technically counts.

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Oh, by the bye, “gam” is a term used for a meeting between whaling ships on the open ocean. This is explained in the next chapter, but I figured I ought to get out ahead of that so you’ll know what the heck I’m talking about. Continue reading “Chapter 52: The Albatross”

Chapter 51: The Spirit-Spout

Now that we’ve formally begun hunting whales and been introduced to Ahab’s secret whaling crew, it’s time to get a move on, physically and narratively.

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For once, the passage of time and tide will not be marked merely by a descent into endless pontification on the nature of whales and whaling or whatever philosophical nonsense Ishmael has decided to linger on for far too many pages. No, we get a proper bit of narrative to connect things together here. Continue reading “Chapter 51: The Spirit-Spout”

Chapter 50: Ahab’s Boat and Crew. Fedallah.

Ahhh, I had a nice vacation, of sorts. Really, I was just dog- and housesitting, I never got much further than a mile from my house, but I was away from my computer, and thus could not continue this blog. But it’s good to be back! And for a nice big, round number, no less.

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This chapter is a good one. I actually took notes on it before my vacation, and to dig them out again to refresh my memory. As you’d guess, it’s dealing with some of the fallout from the revelation of Ahab’s secret stowaway crew and personal whaling boat, as well as digging into some themes that I’ve really been ruminating on over my summer break. Continue reading “Chapter 50: Ahab’s Boat and Crew. Fedallah.”