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Moby Dick Energy: A Moby Dick Podcast
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Moby Dick Energy: A Moby Dick Podcast

Author: Talia Lavin

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A chapter by chapter breakdown of the greatest, weirdest American novel, "Moby-Dick: Or, the Whale." Theme song by Noam Hassenfeld.
35 Episodes
After a long hiatus, we're back! Talia talks with Byrd Pinkerton, amazing podcast producer and multimedia artist, about three chapters in which Melville rambles about how people depict whales. We dissect monstrous pictures rendered in florid language. A link to the slideshow Byrd made so lovingly is here, posted to Medium! by Ty Wood (@bobo_the_second on Twitter). Theme song by Noam Hassenfeld.
Talia talks with Beth Skwarecki, senior health editor at Lifehacker, about three fascinating chapters. That's right -- we're BACK! After 33 episodes last year, we're off on the second year of Moby Dick Energy, and with hellish strength we are taking another stab at this great book. This week, we examine Melville's glowing and romantic depictions of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes; gam a lot; and go with Ishmael to Peru. ALSO: A BIG AUDIENCE REQUEST --We would *LOVE* to see some sea sh...
Talia talks to author and producer Jay Bushman, author the new book "Novel Advice," about two marvellous chapters of this book. We're back, babey!!!! With an Agony Aunt letter from Ishmael, an exploration of Melville's orientalism, and the haunting beauty of the spirit-spout.
Prefacing this episode is Talia's prank call to the Trump Voter Fraud hotline.This episode Talia talks to the lovely, gentle-voiced and brilliant Lili Loofbourow, a staff writer at Slate, about THE FIRST TIME WE ENCOUNTER SOME REAL LIFE WHALES in the book and the racially fraught introduction of Ahab's mysterious, hitherto hidden companions, Fedallah and his crew. The word "swart" recurs, as does our habit of reading monologues aloud.Theme song by Noam Hassenfeld.Production by Ilana Wei...
Talia talks with Sarah Marshall, of the "You're Wrong About" and "Why Are Dads" podcasts, about 2 odd marooned mid-40s chapters of the book. It's Sarah's first experience with the book and we debunk some myths about Ahab -- as well as conveying that he's the ultimate Bad Dad of the Sea. "Man and whale must go down together, like Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty." -Sarah Marshallmerch:
Talia talks with New York Times bestselling author Morgan Jerkins about the bizarre and wonderful chapter "The Affidavit." With clips from "Matilda," asides about dairy, and as always, contemplation of the majesty and terror of The Sea.
Talia talks to Justin Scheck (@ScheckWSJ) about a short chapter and a longer chapter, which are also a comical chapter and a profound chapter. In "Hark!" we see a bit more of daily life on the Pequod, while "The Chart" attempts to map Ahab's madness. Justin Scheck is a Wall Street Journal reporter and author of the recent book "Blood and Oil," which is about Mohammad bin Salman, not whaling.Moby Dick Energy merch is available at http://mobydickenergy.threadless.comYou can support the sho...
Talia talks to vaunted Melville scholar Christopher Freeburg about an infamous, complex and fascinating episode, "The Whiteness of the Whale." We discuss the meaning of whiteness, filled with both sinister and holy connotations. Has the author/protagonist line completely blurred? Is Ishmael going slightly insane? What does whiteness mean? Also, check out Professor Freeburg's new book, "Counterlife: Slavery after Resistance and Social Death," from Duke University Press!Production by Ilana Wein...
Talia talks to James Beard Award nominated writer Rax King about Chapter 41, "Moby Dick." It's an encapsulation of the book in miniature: we talk about the feared whale himself, introduced to our antagonist at last; about the madness of Ahab; about the whaling industry; about sperm whales as the great terrors of the sea. With many thanks to producer Ilana Weinstein for rescuing some truly dreadful audio, and adding their signature creative touches.
A RADIO PLAY.First, Talia talks to Akela Lacy, reporter at the Intercept, about the strange, drunken dream of this chapter; its racialized elements; and the feelings of Pip, the Black cabin-boy, about being alone on a ship of white madmen, threatening to knife each other.In the second half, produced painstakingly by Ilana Weinstein, we have the fruits of much labor!! Fans of the show have sent in lines from the Belfast Sailor to the St. Jago's Sailor, and together they form a radio play of Mi...
Talia talks with grand dame of stage and screen Natalie Walker (@nwalks) about these three Very Dramatic chapters. Reading aloud and Singing ensue. Soundscape, editing and production by Ilana Weinstein.
I talk with Donni Saphire (@donni on Twitter) about the beginning of a stellar run of theatrical chapters. In "The Quarter-Deck," Ahab emerges and presents his quest for vengeance to the crew of the Pequod. Donni says Ahab reminds him of a boss he had at Radio Shack. We explore!
Talia talks to the smart and charming Maris Kreizman of the literary podcast the Maris Review about a curious and wonderful chapter, "The Mast-Head," about standing watch on a whaleship; the dangers of reverie; and scurrilous young Platonists. We also meditate about what Melville would write about a Disney cruise, obelisks and erections, and the purposes of pyramids.
Talia talks to Kristian Fischer about a wonderful & strange chapter about dinner on the Pequod; the sailor's Kristian's dated; Jungian analysis of Moby-Dick; and the power of literature in times of social upheaval.Production by Ilana Weinstein. Theme song by Noam Hassenfeld.
Talia talks to Isaac, an Aussie comrade, about a curious chapter that feature's a capsule theory of the corrupting nature of power. Is Melville an anarchist? Is Australia upside down? We explore these and other questions. NO GODS NO CAPTAINS NO MASTERS
Chapter 32: "Cetology"

Chapter 32: "Cetology"


Talia talks to Lisa Munger, a marine biologist specializing in marine biological acoustics, about the legendary Chapter 32, "Cetology," featuring Ishmael's frankly bizarre, wonderful and inaccurate taxonomy of whales. We go into detail about whales from the Sulphur-Bottom to the Huzza Porpoise, discuss why common names are useless, talk about Lisa's adventures tracking whales on the Bering Sea, and listen to the song of the humpback.
Talia talks with Manu Saadia, author of "Trekonomics," about 2020's protests, the rot at the heart of America, the moral core of the country being on the streets, racism from America to Paris, and the role of literature in times of revolution. We also discuss three short and remarkable chapters focusing on Ahab, his pipe, and dreams.Sound art and production by Ilana Weinstein.Theme song by Noam Hassenfeld.
Chapter 28: "Ahab"

Chapter 28: "Ahab"


WE FINALLY MEET CAPTAIN AHAB. Talia's guest is Mary Davenport, a seminary student at Yale Divinity School, and we talk about the Biblical burdens of kingship, Ahab's livid birthmark, Mary's brother who sails on antique tall-ships, AND MORE!
In Moby Dick Energy's longest--and most leftist--episode to date, Talia talks with the writer and teacher Nandini Balial about the crew of the Pequod. We meet Starbuck, Stubb, Flask, Tashtego, and Daggoo; discuss the inalienable dignity of man; Buddhism; the carceral state; homoeroticism (as always); caring for dogs and toddlers; and the nature of courage. Apologies for the delay, but we're off again on the Pequod!
Talia talks with our Bildad and Peleg correspondent Alexandra Petri in this emergency episode, which is an emergency episode because Talia is a bit of an idiot and skipped Chapter 22 by accident (that is why I am the skipper of this podcast boat!). We discuss the Godfather of English Hymnody, Isaac Watts; parsimony; whale teeth; hubris; the meaning of Christmas; AND MORE!!!! Like your host, this episode is short and goofy.
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