Friday, December 05, 2008

No one has read "Moby Dick" in years, Association admits

 The American Library Association (ALA), the country’s oldest and largest Librarian group issued a press release today admitting that   “No living American has ever finished Herman Melville’s (presumably) classic novel Moby Dick” . Contacted by several media outlets, ALA President, Miriam Houser stated, “ The lie has gone on long enough, millions and millions of copies of the book have been sold for American Survey Literature classes and it is time to stop the madness.” According to Houser, the ALA has known for decades that no one could get through the novel, but had kept it under wraps, hoping that someone, somewhere would have the fortitude to finish the book. Asked why the Association was now coming forward with this information, Houser stated that the impetus had come from California. “The budget crisis hitting the states has been particularly acute in California. Each of the hundred of libraries out there replaces it’s hard back copy of the book every three years. It seemed preposterous to continue to spend thousands of dollars each year on a book that no one checks out when the money can be better spent on things people really read out there, bodice rippers and graphic novels.”

 

The announcement sent shock waves throughout the nation’s college campuses, but brought relief to many students currently studying for finals . John Alpine, a student at the University of Texas spoke for many when he said, “They told us to read the book but we never discussed in  class. A lot of us were worried that it was going to show up on the final and we would be totally unprepared.” Younger professors in the nation’s Literature Departments were giddy with the news. The pony tailed Professor Drew Wesley who teaches the popular “Classic American Novels ” class at Temple University in Philadelphia said, “This is great, it finally puts the lie to all of those gas bag tenured Profs who said that they loved the novel and would not ever vote tenure for me unless I started using it again in my classes. Who’s laughing now ? “

 

The ALA news release states that the last known person to actually finish the novel was the late Helen Avery who had finished the novel “on a dare” in 1933 at Andover  College.Suviving classmates said that it had taken Ms. Avery the entire four years at Andover to complete the novel. Following her completion of the book, Avery became a resource for literary persons everywhere who would consult her about the book. Ms Avery is best known for the mysterious “Consultant” credit she received at the end of John Huston’s classic film “Moby Dick”.Huston’s daughter, Angelica admitted that for the movie, starring Gregory Peck as Ahab,  her father had written no screen play, but just sat next to Ms. Avery during the filming asking her, “Now what happens ?” every time a scene was finished. Virtually every student  book report since 1956 has been based on this movie which, according to Avery’s notes, is filled with inaccuracies conceived by her in order to “spice up the story” for the big screen.

 

Notes left by Ms. Avery indicate that a great deal was left out of the Huston film because the Melville book just “got so silly toward the middle”. According to the notes, the protagonist Ishmael has his name legally changed , causing Chapter 38 to begin , “Call me Charlie”. Further, it turns out that Ahab is really the evil twin another sea captain named Ezekiel. In the novel, Ezekiel works for a 19th century version of Green Peace and spends his time battling whaling ships (mostly Japanese). Ezekiel is actually the captain who dies in the last chapter (the one chapter many people have read). In the novel, stows away on the Pequot and throws Ahab overboard. Far from trying to kill Moby Dick, he is actually trying to ride the Whale to safer waters as the book ends.

 

While the ALA refused to comment, sources close to the Association say that Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter” may also be on the chopping block. While that book is still read in numerous high schools, certain members of the Association feel that the book is “too tedious to continue to circulate”, As one source said, “There is a big difference in banning books and culling books, we don’t take something off the shelf for political or religious reasons, but millions of people look to us as the last defense against being bored to death, have you ever read Hawthorne ?”

2 Comments:

Blogger Paul D. Frazier said...

You're killing me.

My nomination for the most over-rated book is "The Great Gatsby."

And in the future no one is going to read these books all the way through:

Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut)
The Cantos of Ezra Pound
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Something Happened (Joseph Heller)The Garden of Eden (Ernest Hemingway)
Princess Bride (Goldman)
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard)
The Moviegoer (Walker Percy)
The March (E. L. Doctorow)
The Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan)
The Golden Bowl (Henry James)
Just As I Am (Billy Graham)
The Satanic Verses (Salman Rushdie)
Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller)
Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
and The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Paul D. Frazier said...

I also forgot to add that your article was very funny. Good work.

In addition, I personally couldn't stand The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck and I really loathed David Copperfield by Dickens. But popular opinion seems to be against me.

9:52 AM  

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