Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's your white whale?

The white whale from Moby Dick  is one of the great enduring symbols from the world of literature.

For Captain Ahab it represented everything menacing and evil in the world. For others on board the Pequod it illustrated Ahab’s monomaniacal obsession with revenge at the cost of all else. But the white whale has also come to conjure up images of some ultimate dread, of ill-fated unfinished business, and of hopeless, lost causes and predestined disasters.

As readers, we’ve all got a white whale. We’ve all got at least one book that taunts us mercilessly from the shelf- one that has conquered and defeated us, and that hangs ominously over us for years after our failure to read it. As I mentioned in this previous post, the book that became my personal Moby Dick, was none other than Moby Dick  itself. This seems like an appropriate place to leave one of Hollywood’s greatest motivational speeches:

Today, I am proud to say that I have finally defeated my own Moby Dick,  who also happens to be the ‘actual’  Moby Dick.  That’s right, fellow readers, pick your metaphor: I have harpooned the great white whale, exercised the demon, shaken the monkey off my back, and filled El Guapo so full of lead he’ll be using his... well, you get the picture.  


So what about you? What’s your white whale?

Or, if you’d prefer, what’s your favorite Three Amigos quote?


  1. "Sew, very old one. Sew like the wind!"

    1. Very nice, Anon. Here's another:

      Mr. Flugelman: Do you know what "nada" means?
      Dusty Bottoms: Isn't that a light chicken gravy?