Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Daily Dicking

I rather liked the philosophical discussion in chapter 89, Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish, about how we are all in some ways owned by someone and in some ways free for the taking. Reading it wouldn't ruin the story if you want to take a look. It also includes this bit of wit from our good fellow Melville:
In the course of the defence, the witty Erskine went on to illustrate his position, by alluding to a recent crim. con. case, wherein a gentleman, after in vain trying to bridle his wife's viciousness, had at last abandoned her upon the seas of life; but in the course of years, repenting of that step, he instituted an action to recover possession of her. Erskine was on the other side; and he then supported it by saying, that though the gentleman had originally harpooned the lady, and had once had her fast, and only by reason of the great stress of her plunging viciousness, had at last abandoned her; yet abandon her he did, so that she became a loose-fish; and therefore when a subsequent gentleman re-harpooned her, the lady then became that subsequent gentleman's property, along with whatever harpoon might have been found sticking in her.
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3 comments:

Gobula said...

I must thank you for recommending the "Bone" graphic novel series for the read challenge. I read a few graphic novels last year and didn't like a single one (I've never been a fan of comic books either) so I was a bit skeptical. I vaguely remembered something called "Fone Bone's Follies" that I read many years ago, so that coupled with your recommendation lead me to check the series out.

I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the series whole-heartedly (although I haven't read number 9 yet, annoying patrons always checking stuff out before I can...).

However, I doubt I will try any other graphic novels since they all seem to take themselves much more seriously than the "Bone" books, and that was what I liked about them.

I do have one question: Why is it that graphic novel writers cannot spell out the word "the"? They always use th' instead. I found that a little annoying after a while.

As far as Moby Dick goes, I will probably be reading it sometime. It is a pretty big book in the environmental history field and I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. The current book I am reading for my research has mentioned it several times so it looks like I should probably give it a go.

Degolar said...

I'm glad you liked Bone. I wouldn't give up completely on graphic novels, though. This doesn't seem to be your deal, but it always puzzles me when people don't like them because of the pictures. Everyone likes picture books for kids, right? This is the same thing, just for an older audience: using words and pictures together to tell stories. Some are for kids, some for teens, and some for adults. But the only unifying characteristic is that they use both words and pictures. There is an infinite variety of styles and genres that fall into the graphic novel category. Bone will be hard to beat because it is one of the best, and I'm sure there are many that take themselves too seriously, but there are others that have a tone similar to Bone that you might enjoy. No idea about the the thing; never noticed.

Moby Dick and environmental history. Never thought about it, but it makes sense. The history and knowledge contained in the book are immense. I'm constantly impressed by the complexity of what the whalers know and do to make their trade function. So elaborate, and Melville's descriptions can be exquisite (and at other times tedious). Despite the countless pages he (or Ishmael, at least) spends going on about the nobleness of the whaling profession, though, I get the sense that he is actually appalled by the whole enterprise.

Gobula said...

The thing about the pictures is interesting. I don't dislike them because of the pictures (mostly) but for other reasons. It's kind of like anime; many people see those shows as cartoons and nothing else. While I'm not a big fan (although have enjoyed some of them off and on for a few years) I definitely see that there is a wide variety appeal and that they are available for people of many ages, and there are some that are really not for those under 18. Just because something is animated does not mean it is only for children. This can currently be seen in the awesome phenomena known as Cartoon Networks "Adult Swim" lineup. Speaking of animation not for kids, many people can attest to the fact that I am a die-hard South Park fan (only the most socially relevant show currently on TV).

Now for the explanation of why I said "mostly". When reading a piece of literature I do not generally like pictures involved. This is why I usually dislike movies based on a book that I really enjoyed. To me the imagination is a tool greater suited for visualization as opposed to a colored piece of paper. I can, however, completely understand why many people do enjoy graphic novels. My stance on them (as well as comic books) has always been that they aren't for me, but I have nothing against the books or those who read them. I can see that they have a good deal of artistic value for some people.

In contrast to that, however, I have always greatly enjoyed newspaper comic strips. I can't think of many things that I loved more growing up than Calvin & Hobbes. I think it's the inherit humor combined with a more serious aspect in the medium that really draws me, and perhaps that is why I enjoyed "Bone".