May 27, 2014

20,000 Views Later....

In honor of a pretty nifty milestone - 20,000 blog views - I opened myself up to a random topic, and my old friend Yann SoitiƱo challenged me to do an appropriate tribute to Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Fact is, that old book really had a profound effect on me, and it warrants a tribute.

I was first introduced to the novel by Walt Disney. I can't remember if I was on the ride at Disneyland first or
if I was watching the movie on Sunday night's Disney show, but I remember they were both well before Star Wars. Though the idea of being fascinated by the stars and the universe and dinosaurs were all part of my childhood realms of imagination, this movie was the first step. It was just like going to the moon, I thought, by dropping below the depths of the seas and exploring terrain no man had seen, facing unimaginable terrors and the subtle political and social themes present in the book - though they were lost on me in my initial exposures - as well as the overall epic scope.... come on, giant squids!

So here are a few things that maybe you weren't aware of - things I always found to be pretty interesting.

First, did you know how far a league is? Well, in this book they use the metric league, which is about 4 kilometers. 20,000 leagues is several times the diameter of the earth. I say this just to clarify that the title of the book is not referring to how far down the Nautilus went, but how far it went. Captain Nemo, in his desperation to remain undiscovered by the evil political constructs of mankind, was resolved to remain underwater, far below the reach of the nations of the world. Thus, 20,000 Leagues refers to the resolve of Captain Nemo, and the journey he took his crew and captives on, until his mad quest for vengeance eventually led to what we are left to believe might have been his death.

Second - his book contains many allegories against the plight of the common man ("No Man" = "Nemo") against the abusive might and crush of commercial industrialism. The Nautilus was described as a personal construct and design, with the octopus being a commonly used symbol for industry and revolution. Considering the way industry runs the world even now.... it still strikes a punch.

See, this is why it's a good book - - hundred+ years later, it's still interesting; still relevant.

Thank you again, Jules. Among the other books you penned, this still remains my favorite. In fact, I think I'll go give it another read. Been a while since I visited Atlantis. ;)

1 comment:

Yann Soitino said...

4,678 km to be precise :)