‘Starbuck’s Does It Again’ (2017)

Image result for images of starbuck in moby dick

The original “Starbuck” with Captain Ahab–100% ineffectual.

I don’t know whether Starbuck’s ever got around to actually hiring those 10,000 Muslim “refugees” to show Donald Trump what for.

https://leeduigon.com/2017/02/25/starbucks-does-it-again/

No–rather, I’ve been thinking of the name, “Starbuck’s.”

Everybody likes Starbuck, the first mate on the Pequod in Moby Dick, because he’s humane and sane and understands that Captain Ahab is in the throes of a completely mad obsession and carrying the whole crew along with him–

And does absolutely nothing about it, and winds up perishing with everybody else.

Mr. Starback is the quintessential moderate: knows what he believes, but won’t stand up for it, totally ineffectual, and in the end, gets dragged down with the fanatics.

Makes you think, eh?

 

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

9 responses to “‘Starbuck’s Does It Again’ (2017)

  • Valerie Protopapas

    Perhaps the most salient and important question asked in this story is asked of Starbuck by Ahab when he speaks of the white whale whom he believes is a power above and beyond nature. When something that powerful is wicked (as Ahab sees it), he asks in true human angst a question that has no answer at least in our limited understanding; that is, WHERE DOES ONE GO when the Judge Himself is brought before the bar? What does man do when it seems that the very power he believes is powerful and all good is not? How does a man deal with a situation in which which is all-powerful that SHOULD be truly good is found to be truly evil? Starbuck (fine British actor Leo Genn) has no answer because in his world, that situation does not arise. It is THIS frame of mind that leads to his death and the destruction of all but Ishmael.

    Remember, when Ahab arises from the water and though dead, “beckons,” the leader of one of the boats, sickened by events says, “Enough!” and wants to leave while it is possible to do so but Starbuck, not willing to believe that there is more to the world than his comfortable viewpoint and more to Ahab’s death than a simple whaling “accident” tells the men that Moby Dick is just another whale and so they return to the hunt to the destruction of all but Ishmael (the great American actor Richard Basehart).

    It is not that Starbuck is “ineffectual” but that his world doesn’t admit to a reality that Ahab, twisted as he was, DID understand. That is the case of so many today. They don’t see the ultimate end of what we are doing to ourselves and to our civilization. We are more worried about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere though we cannot affect them sufficiently to make a difference than we are about abusing our children and our species, things that we CAN affect. Ahab is STILL beckoning and people like Starbuck, who have no real understanding of what IS real, continue to lead with their faulty human reasoning despite all evidence to the contrary.

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      • Valerie Protopapas

        Ahab was always rather strange, but the damage done to him by the white whale was far more than physical. The whale became to Ahab, a particular demon that could not be simply destroyed ~ though Ahab acted as if he personally could do so. It is true that Ahab became fixated on the white whale and his comment to Starbuck complains that God does not destroy the creature or help him to do so but rather, He seems to be on the whale’s side.

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        • leeduigon

          And maybe He was. We do know that physical injuries can be accompanied by deep psychological trauma. But surely Ahab would have know of other whales who had suffered as he’d suffered. He always acted like he was the only one.

          Which, come to think of it, was what was wrong with Herman Melville himself.

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          • Valerie Protopapas

            You must remember that the tale was based on a true story. I believe the ship was The Essex and they made a movie entitled The Heart of the Sea (or the Ocean). Melville wrote a book based upon something that actually happened.

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          • leeduigon

            Yes, the Essex was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale. And Melville, having been a whaler himself, knew all about it.

            If you’re ever in New Bedford, don’t fail to visit the whaling museum. You can see the ship’s register that Melville signed–and note that, at 5’11”, he was the tallest man on board.

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    • unknowable2

      “It is not that Starbuck is “ineffectual” but that his world doesn’t admit to a reality that Ahab, twisted as he was, DID understand. That is the case of so many today. They don’t see the ultimate end of what we are doing to ourselves and to our civilization. We are more worried about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere though we cannot affect them sufficiently to make a difference than we are about abusing our children and our species, things that we CAN affect. Ahab is STILL beckoning and people like Starbuck, who have no real understanding of what IS real, continue to lead with their faulty human reasoning despite all evidence to the contrary.”

      Great analysis. I think that much of the modern world is every bit as obsessed as Ahab was, but the obsession is with maintaining the appearance of reasonableness and compassion, even even though they aren’t all that good at practicing either reasonableness or compassion. The result is self-righteousness which is at least as profound as the self-righteousness of any religious body.

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      • leeduigon

        It might have been well to point out to Ahab (not that he would listen) that the White Whale is a mortal creature subject to God’s sovereign government of His Creation; it has done nothing that other whales have not done; Ahab’s sufferings were not unique in the history of whaling, the same injuries have been incurred by others; to ramp this up into some kind of metaphysical thing is altogether too grand for any moral man; and what Ahab needs more than anything else is humility before God–who alone can heal his madness.

        Not that he’d listen. He has an altogether too-exalted view of himself.

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  • Erlene Talbott

    Great commentaries all. What more could be said, except that we who follow the true and living God of all creation, do not have to fight such battles on our own. Trust in Him who does control all things in Heaven and on earth gives us our guidance.

    Like

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