The Whale in the Room

Ride the Whale!

Month: December, 2012

Chapter 18- His Mark

Here are some killer words that showed up in today’s lecture, also known as Chapter 18, His Mark. If you are a taxpaying citizen of the upper crusty caste, taste and decency, you will attempt to familiarize yourself with these words, add them to your lexicon and henceforth dole out linguistic punishment so that that peasantry of heart and mind quiver at the sonorous boom of your eloquent and confident word. Without further ado.

Skylarking- Originally a nautical term for a jokester, as in one who might play in the upper rigging with careless abandon, like a bird. Or a lark. Sounds to me like a character from StarFox or something. Skylark!

Philistine– I only sort of knew how to apply this word appropriately, so I rarely ever did. But god bless Wikipedia. Donate. Seriously.

Obstinate – Just imagine some salty old degenerate is standing in the middle of the road, drunk, and screaming, tattered pants secured only by a shoelace belt, and you can’t drive around them. You say, “Excuse me. Can you please move for I cannot pass and I don’t wish to harm you,” to which you hear the reply, “F-F-F-Fuck you!” to which you reply, “You, sir, are being obstinate!” to which you hear, “F-F-F-Fuck you.” Which only proves your point. Or imagine Bill O’Reilly opening that gaping abyss of ignorance he calls a mouth and doing what we call “talking.”

Appellative- It means title, more or less. I dare you to use that in a sentence without sounding like an asshole. You know the type, the narcissist who casually overuses words in conversation like “milieu” and “loquacious.”

Heterogeneously- Not homogenous by definition.

“Pious harpooners never make good voyagers- it takes the shark out of ‘em.” So says Captain Peleg after witnessing Queequeg demonstrate his harpoon mastery. Queequeg is now gainfully employed aboard the Pequod, with a considerably handsome pay rate. Next.


Chapter 17- The Ramadan, where there is much confusion and talk of dyspepsia

Ishmael has secured a job upon the Pequod, we have met two captains, yet there is no sign of this elusive Ahab.

From the last chapter, in reference the biblical character of the same name, “When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they not lick his blood?”

Once I am finished with this project, maybe I shall undertake the bible, old testaments and new, in a similar fashion. What could be more delightfully torturous?

Ramadan. A month, a ritual, one of the five pillars of Islam, a lunar thing, and rooted in the Arabic word for heat or dryness, and involves prayer and fasting. This is all according to the Prophet of Lazy People Everywhere, WIKIPEDIA. But as some believe in their deities, I believe in people.

Queequeg has himself a little 24 hour Ramadan, where he locks himself in the room at the Inn, remains motionless for sometime, fasts (duh), freaks out Ishmael who then fetches Mrs. Hussey the indefatigable inn keeper, they break down the door, everything is still fine, Ishmael loses sleep because he can be such a timid chump at times, they have a pow-wow about it because that’s what friends do and because Ishmael is concerned about his friends crazy behavior, and everything is ultimately fine because why shouldn’t it be?

Funny thing though, the chapter is titled The Ramadan, but Hermano Melville never mentions Islam and I got the distinct impression that Queequeg was of the unnamed cannibal-worshipping-wooden-totem faith. I can only assume this is intentional, because the weight of Hermano Melville’s brain, humanity, and comprehensive world-view would crush a mere mortal, but why? Oh yea, he also refers to it as a Fasting and Humiliation. Cheers.

Some choice words from Hermano Melville, via our dear narrator Ishmael.

“… for I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody’s religious obligations, never mind how comical, and could not find it in my heart to undervalue even a congregation of ants worshipping a toadstool.”

“… and Heaven have mercy on us all- Presbyterians and Pagans alike- for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.”

I like how the word Pagan was capitalized. Next.