with Chris Hedges
TheRealNews on Jul 29, 2022
Moby Dick, which explores the self-destructive forces that define America and the collapse of a civilization, is our greatest and most prescient novel.
Melville makes our murderous obsessions, our hubris, violent impulses, moral weakness, and inevitable self-destruction visible in his chronicle of a whaling voyage.
Melville’s description of the ship’s captain, Ahab, is a description of the bankers, corporate boards, politicians, television personalities, and generals who, through the power of propaganda, fill our heads with seductive images of glory and lust for wealth and power. We are consumed with self-induced obsessions that spur us toward self-annihilation.
Melville is our foremost oracle. He is to us what William Shakespeare was to Elizabethan England, or Fyodor Dostoyevsky to czarist Russia.
Joining Chris to discuss Melville’s novel is Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Why Read Moby Dick?, as well as books such as In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleboat Essex, Mayflower: Voyage, Community, War, Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy, and The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and The Battle of the Little Bighorn.
From the archives: