The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
I'm re-reading Melville's Moby-Dick (the hyphen in the title is consistently forgotten) on a long weekend, and it's even better than I remember. Every sentence is a toe-curling delight. Every chapter brings some new sense of recognition. Although the novel was written 150 years ago, it still communicates easily with me. Some recognitions of similarity are particularly sad, though like the last line in this passage.
150 years. Nothing much has changed.But wherefore it was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea as a merchant sailor, I should now take it into my head to go on a whaling voyage; this the invisible police officer of the Fates, who has the constant surveillance of me, and secretly dogs me, and influences me in some unaccountable way - he can better answer than any one else. And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:
Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States
"WHALING VOYAGE BY ONE ISHMAEL"
"BLOODY BATTLE IN AFFGHANISTAN"