09-10-2007 10:38 AM - edited 09-10-2007 10:43 AM
Message Edited by chad on 09-10-2007 10:43 AM
09-12-2007 11:46 PM - edited 09-12-2007 11:59 PM
Message Edited by chad on 09-12-2007 11:59 PM
09-14-2007 10:00 AM
It's difficult to think of the whale hunting of the 1800's as a union, although I believe Melville would rather you think of the hunt in this way, the whales are harpooned and consumed by a much larger beast, a man-made beast made of wood. And anything I eat can be considered to be a union of my body with what I eat. My stomach digests all the nutrients of plant or animal to utilize wherever my body may need them. Hopefully, this happens in a healthy human being. Indeed, Melville describes the Pequod as a larger whale with "pot-boilers" for a stomach that breaks down the parts of the whale for distribution of its oil or "essence" to all its extremities the crew of the Pequod, the armada, a Quaker religion, New England, a Democracy, or a United States- the whale's essence or spirit disseminated throughout her trains, industries and soil. And each extremity may or may not be aware of being consumed by a larger entity, it may not able to see the skin that surrounds it, engulfs or consumes it, sometimes skin being the actual language itself. Or another biological example might be cells in my body being encapsulated by a membrane- a separate world within a larger body- my body.
Again, although I think Melville would like for you to think of the whale hunting to be a union, he does depict the hunt as somewhat "devilish" -- the-devil-made-me-do-it scenario. The pact between Ahab and his crew to hunt the white whale was something of an unholy union, or deal made with the devil, as they lift sizziling harpoon heads in the air.
Whether you consider consumption to be a union or "a deal with the devil", this United States and democracy has consumed them and the Makah tribe may now be facing the spirit of the whale who has said "enough! and the people, influenced by the spirit, have instructed the Indian tribe to stop. But the whale that died recently off the coast of Washington was not consumed at all, it was aimply allowed to die. In contrast, the whales that died during during the 1800's influenced the outcome of our civil war. More broadly, they were consumed by a much larger whale we know as Democracy, and tht's if you believe that our civil war was a fight for freedom and democracy- something I think we still argue today.
In any case, if we are to have a true democracy, the whale will have to have a seat in congress before we proceed to authorize a hunt. The Makah tribe currently is recognized as its own nation and denounced the whale's killing.
PS- Melville does describe the hunt like sex on a large scale- please reread.
09-28-2007 12:33 AM