Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday's Word(s): Soulless Susurration

I have this thing about The New York Times -- part of my 'thing' is that I never, ever link to it. If the Old Grey Doxy were the only outlet carrying the story of Judgment Day, I'd talk about something else.

Anyway, we don't usually do links in this neighborhood. It's not that kind of place, unless perhaps it's Tuesday and books are being bandied about. Otherwise, it's not the done thing here in Chaos, next door to H-m..

But recently -- and this has a connection, as you'll see -- Neo neocon had a post on Moby Dick. The first of two, as it turns out. The premise of this initial post is obsession:
...So, what does the whale symbolize, anyway? I've called it a "protean" symbol, meaning "readily taking on various shapes, forms, or meanings." So one thing we can agree on is that the text offers a lot of room for us to see any number of things in it. Evil, for starters. Or unbridled nature, with Ahab representing the hubris of fighting the way the world is set up, thinking he can subdue the chaos.
Hmm, I've been there...been there, done that, and will no doubt return to the scene of the crime many more times before I snuffle off.

Neo offers several obsessions, or "Moby Dicks" for our consideration:
Whatever your preferred Moby Dick metaphor, it can be extended to some present day situations. Here are my current offerings:

(1) To Hitler, the Jews were Moby Dick.

(2) To the Arab world, the Israelis are Moby Dick.

(3) To quite a few Europe on the left, "Zionists" (read: "Jews") are still Moby Dick.

(4) To those suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, Bush is Moby Dick.

(5) To many who detest Bush, Iraq is Bush's Moby Dick.
Most obviously, when I am Ahab, the Old Grey Whore is Moby Dick: elusive, cunning, always out there somewhere. And I want to harpoon her and drag her carcass back to shore.

Turns out I'm not the only one harboring this animus. Gerard Van der Leun has his own disquietude about her. Here is his meditation on the subject:

The Soulless Susurration of the Times' Editorials

After many years of reading the editorials of the New York Times with interest and attention, both my interest and attention began to drop below absolute zero after several months of sour grapes following the 2000 elections. Soon after that my interest and attention in the paper itself went even lower until, after nearly three decades as a daily reader of the Times, I decided that the money spent on the paper could be put to better use buying lap dances for indigent friends. At least they'd get a little pleasure from the money.

Since early in 2002 I've not spent a penny on the paper, but I do read it online from time to time just to assure myself that its death spiral continues unabated.
The rest of his essay is here and it's every bit as entertaining as this opening riff.

Mr. Van der Leun is one of those people who have led "interesting lives." That he can also bring forth "soulless susurration" from the depths allows me to surrender my envy of his myriad experiences in the face of astoundingly great alliteration.

Now I am free simply to admire his scope. And rejoice in discovering a kindred soul who would do better things with his money than spend it on that Hussy.


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