The Chris Hedges Report: Moby Dick and the soul of American capitalism

“Moby Dick”, by Herman Melville, is among America’s greatest novels. It is a prescient portrait of the American character and our ultimate fate as a nation and perhaps a species. Melville makes our murderous obsessions, our hubris, violent impulses, moral weakness, and inevitable self-destruction visible in his chronicle of a whaling voyage. Melville’s description of the ship’s captain, Ahab, is a description of the bankers, corporate boards, politicians, television personalities, and generals who, through the power of propaganda, fill our heads with seductive images of glory and lust for wealth and power. We are consumed with self-induced obsessions that spur us toward self-annihilation. Melville is our foremost oracle. He is to us what William Shakespeare was to Elizabethan England, or Fyodor Dostoyevsky to czarist Russia.

Joining Chris to discuss Melville’s novel is Nathaniel Philbrick, author of “Why Read Moby Dick?”, as well as books such as “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleboat Essex”, “Mayflower: Voyage, Community, War”, “Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy”, and “The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and The Battle of the Little Bighorn”.

Chris Hedges interviews writers, intellectuals, and dissidents, many banished from the mainstream, in his half-hour show, The Chris Hedges Report. He gives voice to those, from Cornel West and Noam Chomsky to the leaders of groups such as Extinction Rebellion, who are on the front lines of the struggle against militarism, corporate capitalism, white supremacy, the looming ecocide, as well as the battle to wrest back our democracy from the clutches of the ruling global oligarchy.

Studio: Adam Coley, Cameron Granadino
Post-Production: Cameron Granadino, Rebecca Myles

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Author: phillyfinest369


47 thoughts on “The Chris Hedges Report: Moby Dick and the soul of American capitalism

  1. This interpretation is very interesting ,. However , it ignores the class identity of society. That fact is precisely the bottom line ofvthe present incapacity of the working class to find not only a leadership but also the necessary allies we need to solve the urgency of uniting as a people. The class identity of the conflicting forces represented in the book are a dissolved force in a confusion of agents seen in the conflict. There is no common enemy but a fogged image of participants. Precisely the condition of both the right and the left in the political wilderness of the USA. The only relevant clear force finding a closed ranks condition is the established state of capitalism. The legal system is the executing political force with all its ominous discouraging power. Very American in its confusing condition. All ready to take sides in a war. Any war as long as it is led by the USA corporate class.

  2. As a writer I am conscious that it is the story picked to tell that makes all the difference. Of Melville's books it is the one of the man without a country that I could read, was open to reading. I've been happier since touching my vision with my idea of a nation of airports. The vision is not of any one thing but I had one vision. I touched the vision. It said it was good. Well I am working on it. I wrote a passport and the passport or just the idea of the passport is what will live beyond my life.

  3. Chris, suprised you didn't touch upon Ahab's ultimate hubris: calling God per se 'unbegun'! Amazing chapter, 'The Candles' wherein he boasts that his geneaology is the better of the Deity's for it is 'unbegotten' in the sense of bastardy, or worse, fantasy.

  4. Moby Dick is a Description of the American State, that want's all the Riches the Whale or the World has to offer but the World has to be portrayed as an Enemy and Threat.

  5. This made me see a parallel between Ahab to the whale, and Biden/neocons to Putin/Russia. It's an obsessive quest for dominance, a losing quest, one that can bring catastrophe to all of us.

  6. You’ve missed the whole point. Today, we have psychopathic Jews running our State Department and government. Blinken, Nuland, etc, have their hands on the steering wheel of this country, and are going to drive us over the cliff because of their madd, Semitic vengeance against Russia.

  7. I rooted for the whale! We need more whales and fewer humans! I am disgusted by your comparison of a noble whale with Osama Bin Laden. 🤨

  8. Philbrick da por sentado que existe algo llamado "human nature" y que, entre otras cosas, consiste en que desde que existimos como especie vamos destruyendo el planeta. Esto es un error, una creencia común muy alejada de la realidad. Es lo que se pensaba hasta hace algunas décadas cuando la antropología, y la paleoarqueología se manejaban con paradigmas hoy obsoletos.
    Lo que sí cabría, en lugar de esa explicación, es la psiquis humana ("human psyche"). Esta no está libre de sentimientos de amor, odio, venganza, etc. que alimentan los plots de los monomitos clásicos de la ficción.

  9. I disagree that humans in general are All of the same category of destruction. For the most part many people look for better solutions the native americans did it for Generations Even though through most perspectives they seemed to be very destructive. It's only those who benefit and profit from the destruction that don't want to change it, But I remember a generation always looking to do better and unfortunately they're gone. They didn't have it perfect, And they didn't have the same knowledge we have today. But they did the best with what they had in their time. Our circumstances we way too much and abuse everything without thought, But that's only by education. I don't know if the rest of you have noticed, But society is regressing Intellectually at an astronomical rate even with all of our new found knowledge.

  10. a humane and democratic USA would have chris hedges as their secretary of state. he has all the brains factual knowledge , humanity and diplomatic skill to create harmony instead of wars deaths and destruction. we will never hear satanic comments like " we came , we saw , he is dead" {sec of state hillary clinton's ecstatic comments during the senseless destruction of libya and the horribly murdered visionary leader, muammar khadaffi}

  11. Hum. Human nature. Perhaps the feminine nature is not the same as what us called " human nature". But we have never had the chance to see full "human nature", have we?

  12. Moby never wanted to hurt anybody if the entrepreneurs would have jut minded their own business, yes? The invisible hand wielded the harpoon before it turned on such other innocent victims as the U.S. Postal Service.

  13. But why must we have President Ahab sending our sustenance to Europe for losing battles? It is very true that Moby Dick was about the crassness of leaders and the consequences.

  14. This is exactly why the Hamptons will be a smoking hole in the first 15 minutes. Probably Vail Colorado and most of Wyoming too. Those Satan 2/Sarmat missiles have a purpose. And that purpose is not taking out known military bases. Sarmats are for killing large amounts of people even the ones hiding underground out in the country or mountains somewhere. After it's a radioactive waste land and if they survive the Sarmat, they're likely to encounter a drone army like none other.

  15. "We are under the gross misconception that we are a good species going somewhere important and that at the last minute we'll correct our errors and God will smile on us. It is delusion." Farley Mowat

  16. While America has it’s own White Whales – the Bush Family v. Saddam Hussein; Bin Laden; the Soviet Union… many of our opponents are the very reflection of Ahab, Bin Laden v the World Trade Center, Putin v the West and wanting to reimagine a great Russian Empire, and Gaddafi v the Imperialists and seeking to lead a pan-African alliance through any means including violence. Authors like Melville are a great gift because they give us the capacity for self-reflection upon our own obsessions, faults, and madness. What if we didn’t have that capacity for self reflection gained through literary exposition of the American Character. By the grace of God we have Melville and a First Amendment, hopefully to temper our own excesses. If we did not have any capacity to see our own moral failings, woe to the world if an unrestrained and ideologically blind America is released upon it.

  17. America has been destroyed by the corporatized governments…the wealthy make rules FOR US as they go along. But don't have to follow themselves…america is no more

  18. So Moby Dick was about climate change? Your religion has turned. you into a fool, a laughing stock of American culture gone awry. At least I know I needn't watch any more of your videos and for that, I thank you.

  19. I don’t understand the focus on the evil US and his desire to wreck everything he touches. In particular the white American. You miss the fundamental issue of what makes America unique. Most ‘whites’ coming to America were CHASED out of Europe. They were poor, serfs, people run afoul of the Kings and Queens. My family came from Ireland.. they were being hunted down by the English, they landed in Mexico… and years later walked their way to California. They had no idea about capitalism, they had no slaves, in fact they could have been considered slaves. This was a country of poor people, thrown in a wilderness and trying to survive. There was no government..they had to take care of themselves. That is the soul of America! Independents, NO SOCIAL SAFETY NETS!! That does not constitute evil. There was no strategy of imperialism like Alexander the Great, or Genghis Khan (who was not white!). Freedom is the soul of America, it is made up of humans, good and bad… but the underlying feature is the independent individual…standing on his own two feet. That has nothing to do with color!! All humans are sinners…all colors!!

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