Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Moby Dick, the Least Amount of Plot in the Most Amount of Words?

How was your day, Ishmael?

Ishmael begins an exposition on exactly what a day is, making a lengthy reference to the Babylonian origins of the twenty four hour day. Next, he begins a lecture on the number twenty-four and the use of the number six as a base by the ancient Babylonians. The many manifestations of the number six throughout history are described at length. Goliath of Gath had six fingers upon each hand and Ishmael draws this out with an analogy involving the number six and gigantism in various creatures both mythological and actual. This is followed by a reading of the book of Revelations with specific attention to the number of the beast – 666. Pulling out the Matthew-Henry Commentary and the writings of Tertullian, Ishmael expounds on the possible meanings and interpretations of 666 whether for good or for ill. An anecdote involving an old sea captain from Maine and his experience with regular occurrences of the number six is given.

Ishmael returns to the topic of days, breaking down the average lifespan of various animals and trees into units of days. This leads into a discussion of the length of days that might have occurred at Creation with Ishmael giving attention to competing theories. One of these theories is roundly condemned as having no support among experienced whalemen. Naturally, a discussion of the movement of the planetary bodies around the sun follows, which Ishmael somehow manages to infuse with derogatory remarks about the entire non-white population of the earth. The etymology of the word day is given along with etymologies of the words good and bad. A brief synopsis of what might constitute a good day is given. This is followed by a more lengthy summary of what might make for a bad day. A philosophical reflection on the subjectivity of good and bad is expounded upon. Ishmael starts singing a sea shanty, does a jig, and then wanders off muttering about landlubbers.

 (1 whale fart out of 10)

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