Moby Bush: The Latest CNN Poll Results if Herman Melville Had Written of Them

Friday, January 27, 2006 at 06:59 AM

It was an angry sea. The good ship "America" rolled and heaved as the foamy waves broke over the bow. The embattled skipper stood on the bridge, his brow furled in concern.

"What do the charts say," he barked at Starbuck.

"We're clearly going the wrong way, Cap'n," Starbuck responded with a brisk salute.

"Then the charts are wrong," the Captain said with a sneer. "I owe it to the passengers on this mighty ship to steer this vessel on a straight and true course. It would show weakness to the enemy if I were to veer from the course I've set us upon just because the charts say we're not going the way THEY say we should be."

"The enemy," Starbuck asked.

"The WHALE," the Captain snapped. "Moby Dick would LOVE it if I were to change course, admitting I've made a mistake. The passengers would never forgive me. I've sworn to PROTECT the passengers from this foul whale who wants only to kill them."

"But Cap'n," Starbuck said, "the passengers believe the charts are correct! Only 38 percent of them think this cruise has been a success, and 52 percent think you're a failure as a Captain!"

"This whole act's immutably decreed. 'Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates' lieutenant; I act under orders. And THAT'S why we can't veer from this course, you fool!" the Captain barked. "You are only giving aid and comfort to the WHITE WHALE with that kind of talk! Steady and true as she goes!"

"Cap'n, I'm not entirely sure you understand," Starbuck said. "These figures are distressing! Fifty-three percent of the passengers think you lied about the whale in the first place! Fifty-one percent say they favor replacing current crew members with crew members who would openly oppose you! Sixty-two percent of them say they believe this ship is going the wrong way! And a full 64 percent of them believe that conditions on this ship have only gotten worse in the five years you've been skipper!"

"I will not harbor such mutinous blather," the Captain shouted, motioning towards Gonzales, the Master at Arms. "Clap this traitorous scum in irons, Bertie," the Captain said with a malicious grin.

"Aye, Cap'n," Gonzales said, clouting Starbuck with a stout billy club. "Shall I apply the usual hood, poncho and electrodes as well?"

"Belay that torture talk, Bertie," the Skipper responded. "The passengers may hear of it and find it distressing."

"Aye, Cap'n," Gonzales said with a wink. "I'll keep it quiet."

"They think me mad--Starbuck does; but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened! That wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself!"

"You're not so bad, Cap'n," Gonzales said, gathering the unconscious Starbuck into his arms. "We'll be going below now," he said.

"Very well," the Captain said. "But before you go, has the evil white whale been calling the passengers in their private staterooms?"

"We're listening closely, Cap'n," Gonzales said.

"Fine, fine," the Captain said. "Keep a weather ear open. After all, if Moby Dick is calling our passengers, as the captain of this ship, I naturally want to know WHY!"

The Master at Arms hauled Starbuck to the dungeon as the Captain shook his fist at the glowering sky, the churning waters and the alleged whale it concealed.

"To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee"