Melville Mixes with Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump

, Spencer Irvine, 3 Comments

A panel of college professors claimed that Herman Melville’s books can be applied to today’s issues of Black Lives Matter, America’s capitalist society and the presidency of Donald Trump. The panel discussion was held at the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) annual convention in Philadelphia earlier this year.

Gary Vaughn Rasberry, an assistant professor of English at Stanford University, claimed that Melville’s books could be seen in the prism of “anti-colonialism Cold War politics.” He cited the likes of W.E.B. DuBois and others for their noted third-world perspectives and how it applied to today. For example, they would agree with him in that “Starbucks represents liberalism.” Melville’s character in “Moby Dick,” Captain Ahab, “personifies the fascist” future of the world. He continued, “The paralysis of liberalism [i.e. Starbucks]” faces off the face of fascism [i.e. Ahab]. He claimed, “These maritime proletarians [the captain’s crewmen] didn’t revolt” because “their stillborn revolt would have little meaning beyond their own self preservation” in the book. Yet, Rasberry claimed, “It doesn’t undermine the [meaning] of the novel” because it highlighted “latent totalitarianism” and other similar totalitarian impulses.

Christine Ann Wooley, an associate English professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, praised Black Lives Matter in her remarks. She said, “In the days of the election of Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter issued a statement… we fight for our collective liberation…until black people are free, no one is free.” She continued to quote their statement, where the group said, “We do not and will not negotiate with fascists and racists” because “these words still fortify us, those reeling from the election.”

Furthermore, the group claimed, “Far too many white folks feel free” and how “economic justice [should be] fully legible to an audience.” To her, this “dramatizes the uncertainty of identification” and yet, “Melville’s works teem with examples” that Black Lives Matter highlighted. Referring to the group’s symbol of wearing safety pins, Wooley wondered, “We may debate whether to wear safety pins after the election.”


3 Responses

  1. DJ Purdy

    February 15, 2017 2:49 pm

    Obviously, BLM is not into really studying history as the facts to them “are inconvenient things!’ Capt Ahab symbolized the real devotion and struggles faced by a real capt. of a wooden, sailing ship of his era who knew that statistically close to 50% of captains and their crews would not live to the end of their natural careers but die at sea early! The British who were a sea-faring people called this situation going to “Davey Jones’ Locker” which was where careless seamen were especially apt to end their lives in “if they failed to pay attention” as there wasn’t the radar technologies that exist today!
    Good luck to Sheriff Clark in the radicalized, post-Obama, Democratic Party that doesn’t believe they make mistakes but are always done in because they have opposition that exposes them! As the late William F. Buckley pointed out, “Liberals claim to listening to other points of view but are shocked there are other points of view” and that is the problem!
    I can have empathy for Sheriff Clark because when younger while a moderate traditionalist tried to drink the Dem coffee which I found to be full of dim ingredients and half-truths later on after 1992-2008 period! Hey, I can remember then Sen Hillary Clinton in 2008 Dem Primary stating she believed in the 2nd Amendment and acting more conservative than Prez Barack Hussein. O!
    As a then supporter of Gov Bill Richardson who is a better man and was not all in favor of the nasty coffee espoused by extreme leftists as a westerner not so opposed to free people having firearms whom I originally supported until switching to her then over Prez Barack Hussein O whose extremism was not too difficult to come to know! Gov Richardson who showed I believe, honest compassion as a Hispanic-American has been subjected to a nasty marginalization even though he had a very accomplished track record as an Ambassador and Governor who could talk the Dem talk but also compromise with Republicans while Prez Barack Hussein O wasn’t interested in that! In 2012, I believe, he ran against him and was able to carry W. VA even with Prez Barack Hussein O’s machine that Sen Hillary Clinton attempted to recreate with more hatred directed out publicly in 2016!
    Interestingly, my first, US, Pres election vote was for George H. W. Bush who turned me off from Republicans as I knew a lot of folks affected by his bad , trade deals after 1988. Now, I wasn’t as aware then as a young man of 20 y/o of the growing Divide between the US Parties which wasn’t as apparent but became so! Also, though, it must be said that the first Dem President whom I came to know in my lifetime, was the “cool” Pres Bill Clinton. Pres Clinton also seemed to take as his Administration credo from the Kenny Rogers’ song “The Gambler”! ” You need to know when to hold it, know when to fold it, know when to walk away and know when to run. You don’t count your money while you’re sitting at the table” etc! He showed flexibility when given the choice to show too much extremism and alienate people which Sen Hillary in 2016 didn’t seem to want to show!
    What difference did it make, Sen Hillary Clinton, that you didn’t show us the same demeanor or flexibility as your husband? Well, as an American, who believes in our full US Constitutional process to change and existing Bill of Rights, we all didn’t just walk but ran away from you! Fact is, I now know, I will never trust a Democratic, Presidential candidate again in my lifetime! Another fact of history is that if the late, accomplished, TX, Dem politician by the name of Pres Lyndon B. Johnson whose father, Sam Johnson had a history of supporting the TX branch of Sen Tom Watson’s Populists were to come back today, I have no doubt that he would be a moderate-conservative Republican! There were decent elements to the Great Society namely Medicare and Medicaid that are Pres LBJ’s monuments while the socially harmful and destructive ,welfare aspect mentioned by Clark, Pres LBJ accepted from the advice of Kennedy Administration “experts” he inherited that were unproven at that time!
    Fact is I truly believe we Americans need to thank our lucky stars that an almost magickal force caused the full exposure of all the Dem’s dirty, election-fraud that probably involved generating more votes via manipulation of the software in computerized, voting machines to attempt to create a Dem-sought outcome to deny the Presidency to “The Apprentice” and Pres Donald J. Trump! The fact that Sen Hillary Clinton just ran away tells us that she knew that if she pushed our great, American leader, Pres Trump, she would likely be so exposed that she would end up an unhappy guest of the federal, penal system!
    I truly believe that the election of Pres Trump stalled the nasty agenda of the now “Obamacized” Dem radicals and their dim vision for American, constitutional rights which they wanted to replace by giving us lots of Lefts from their agenda of wants/views that as the late Pres Ronald Reagan said are from where the Dems- “They know so much that isn’t so!” I truly believe this pres election stopped a real effort to short-circuit the constitutional rights for groups that the Prez Obama Left doesn’t like as well as Dem efforts to subvert our economy so Americans wouldn’t so strongly resist the Dem’s effort to take out the non-compliant, business elements that would guarantee them political control of Am business and the inability of their GOP opponents, the Party that originally freed the black slaves to get the power to unseat them! I believe Pres Trump also stopped a social upheaval the Dems wanted to create especially once the firearms owning opposition are disarmed and know of one now, Am citizen who originated in Mexico who is still bitter that when he wanted to physically assault an American-native, the older man pointed a gun at him, forcing him to flee and disabled him from playing the role of a physically superior, shake-down thug! Suffice to say, he is a devout, Democrat now, too still whining about this, boo hoo!

  2. Thomas Melville

    February 16, 2017 11:36 pm

    Wow it is amazing, another attempt at college level scholar antics attempting to use America’s First Author for BLM story and compare President Donald Trump. This is total BS. You have no idea what Melville would had thought. Thomas Melville was Herman’s grandfather who took part in the Original Boston Tea Party.

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published