Monday, August 2, 2010

Moby Dick v. Moby Dick

Moby Dick vs. Moby Dick. One is a conceptual masterpiece that transcends all definitions of modern art. The other is a remarkable book written by Herman Melville. Head to head, how do these two behemoths of the western canon stack up? J.P. Jones is, well, any other character everyone, too, forgets about, like Stubb. Jimmy Page could wine and dine the pants of Captain Ahab (plus Page has two fully functioning legs). 'Gonzo' Bonham IS the Whale for crying out loud. And Robert Plant vs. Ishmael is a push.

This would all imply that Robert Plant was deathly afraid of being swallowed up by either Bonham himself, Bonham's drum kit, or Bonham's drumming. Possible, but quite unlikely. No clear-cut winner here.

Moby Dick the book gets a few points for its harsh depictions of good & evil through various macro- and micro-battles (Man vs Nature, Ahab vs Handicap Accessibility, etc) But "Moby Dick" the song comes back hard with a drum solo, especially in live versions, that brutally, yet majestically, beats the battle of life or death down to a meager 23 chromosomes. Bonham's kick drum and toms are like the very wombs that bring forth life. Yet the man ended up drinking himself silly. Like the mighty whale, his own exuberance was his downfall. If only the two could've learned to chill out once in a while, or channeled their rage. Then again, no whale, no story. No rum for the drummer, no drum solo of life. Still have to call this even.

That being said, Moby Dick the book boasts quite a wildcard in the character of Queequeg. He is the savage royal descendant who's more christian than the christians. I'm not quite sure who Queequeg would represent to Led Zeppelin. Maybe The Who or later on, Jethro Tull. Both of whom appeared to be quite unique in their approach yet in the end could bring the thunder with the best of 'em. The Who & Tull, like Queequeg had a dark, serious core sandwiched with two slices of raucous humor. Neither displayed any inhibitions. Still a toss-up.

Reading Moby Dick is equally as enjoyable as listening to, or even viewing (as is the case when watching the live footage from the concert film "The Song Remains The Same" complete with the 'Bonham Dream-Sequence') "Moby Dick".

In terms of size, Moby Dick the book clocks in at 864 pages (Modern Library Ed.). "Moby Dick" the song, if you were to transcribe it on paper, and have Rockwell Kent, too, display its beauty through block prints, would end up being (roughly) seven volumes with each volume totaling just a shade under 960 pages each (according to an MIT logarithm).

Bingo! We have a winner. "Moby Dick" the song (live, or otherwise) is better, though not by much, than Moby Dick the book.

So there you have it. Though not in the most well laid out manner (i'm typing this while sitting awkwardly in a chair in the one corner of my house that gets Wi-Fi), hopefully I have laid the groundwork for quite the discussion.

1 comment:

Katie said...