Call me Ishmael
September 7, 2003 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Thinking of reading Moby Dick? Let David Sedaris do it for you. And don't forget the amazing Assassinations Foretold in Moby Dick!
posted by Outlawyr (12 comments total)
David Sedaris is no Herman Melvillel. We seem now to live in a world of sound bytes so that paragraps are short, sentences are short, and anything over 200 pages is an eternity. I look forward now to a quick summing up of the old and new testaments.
posted by Postroad at 3:02 PM on September 7, 2003

From David Sedaris? Day One: It's too dark to read.... Day Two: Water, now there's a thirst quencher. Day Three: Hugh and I are sunning ourselves under that Sky thing.
posted by ?! at 3:23 PM on September 7, 2003

..."Talk not that lingo to me," this line is a definite keeper. [I] decided that Moby-Dick was the greatest book ever written. It leaves the reader with a few good lines and the arrogant self-righteousness that comes only with great suffering.

If Esquire would feature more David Sedaris and more good fiction and spend less time trying so hard to be Maxim and Stuff and GQ, they'd get my $$ every month.

Postroad, Herman Melville is no Herman Melvillel either ;-)
Sorry, you're the last person around here I want to snark on.

(I mean, why buy Maxim or Stuff when you can just Google the pictures? Does anyone read the articles?)
posted by Shane at 3:31 PM on September 7, 2003

alas, at my old age, what was to be an exclamation mark (!) gently turned into an uneeded "l"--What I love in HM is that while all his compatriots --the Tracendentalists--were seeming on prozac and found everything a delight, ole Hereman said No, in thunder...he sought the lower level and found...well, things are not so neatly designed to make us happy, virtuous, pleased, and pasting smile icons on breatfast plates.
posted by Postroad at 4:49 PM on September 7, 2003

I hate The Classics, but Moby Dick is a hell of a book. I'd be right there with Sedaris if he picked on the right books. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre are just begging to be given a swirly. Just begging.
posted by Samsonov14 at 8:45 PM on September 7, 2003

It leaves the reader with a few good lines and the arrogant self-righteousness that comes only with great suffering.
Haha! That's the way I feel about having read Atlas Shrugged.
posted by HTuttle at 12:11 AM on September 8, 2003

Don't get me wrong, I still love Moby Dick no matter what Sedaris says. We don't have to pick-n-choose, eh? Queequeg's m'man!
posted by Shane at 6:10 AM on September 8, 2003

Yeah. It's ok to laugh at something you like. It might even be healthy. I love Moby Dick, but Sedaris is pretty funny. As for the Assassinations Foretold in Moby Dick!, well, no comment.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:13 AM on September 8, 2003

That's the way I feel about having read Atlas Shrugged.

Exactly. I can't wait to see the Disney version of that one! (New Title: Slug & Frisco)

I can almost hear the catchy tunes of "Get the Trains to Run on Time," "Who's That John Galt," "Stop the Motor of the World, I Wanna Get Off," and of course Galt's 60-page speech-turned-high-kicking-cabaret-number, "A is A!"
posted by soyjoy at 9:56 AM on September 8, 2003

Outlawyr (et al): make sure you read ALL of that assassinations page. I was annoyed, too, until I got to the end. Right down at the bottom -
"Once you learn Drosnin's rules (none) and the method (a bit of messy programming) you can find things like this anywhere."
It's actually ridiculing the notion it seems to be espousing.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:37 AM on September 8, 2003

As to that Bible Code debunking page, here's another take from the same summer...

We don’t have the original Hebrew text of the Torah in digital form. We don’t even have Moby Dick. But we do have a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Finding Hidden Messages in Really Long Texts. And we have the only text we could find to analyze for hidden messages: the software-license agreement for Microsoft Access Developer's Toolkit version 2.0.

posted by soyjoy at 12:51 PM on September 8, 2003

if you can get by chapters like "the whale as a dish" you will find one of the most unforgettable novels of all time. You find its references everywhere. It runs through American culture like a river

from the "the try-works"

The hatch, removed from the top of the works, now afforded a wide hearth in front of them. Standing on this were the Tartarean shapes of the pagan harpooneers, always the whale-ship's stokers. With huge pronged poles they pitched hissing masses of blubber into the scalding pots, or stirred up the fires beneath, till the snaky flames darted, curling, out of the doors to catch them by the feet. The smoke rolled away in sullen heaps. To every pitch of the ship there was a pitch of the boiling oil, which seemed all eagerness to leap into their faces. Opposite the mouth of the works, on the further side of the wide wooden hearth, was the windlass. This served for a sea-sofa. Here lounged the watch, when not otherwise employed, looking into the red heat of the fire, till their eyes felt scorched in their heads. Their tawny features, now all begrimed with smoke and sweat, their matted beards, and the contrasting barbaric brilliancy of their teeth, all these were strangely revealed in the capricious emblazonings of the works. As they narrated to each other their unholy adventures, their tales of terror told in words of mirth; as their uncivilized laughter forked upwards out of them, like the flames from the furnace; as to and fro, in their front, the harpooneers wildly gesticulated with their huge pronged forks and dippers; as the wind howled on, and the sea leaped, and the ship groaned and dived, and yet steadfastly shot her red hell further and further into the blackness of the sea and the night, and scornfully champed the white bone in her mouth, and viciously spat round her on all sides; then the rushing Pequod, freighted with savages, and laden with fire, and burning a corpse, and plunging into that blackness of darkness, seemed the material counterpart of her monomaniac commander's soul.
posted by pejamo at 2:35 PM on September 8, 2003

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