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deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #26 of 33: searchlight casting (jstrahl) Sat 24 Dec 05 20:59
First ship sink and drown from the "rocking of the boat", ie the
increasing paralysis of the US gov't by the late '60s in the face of
massive rebellions within the African American community, on campuses,
even within the armed forces,...Similarities to the "rock the boat"
line in US Blues. The protagonist is out to sink the new ship of fools.
deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #27 of 33: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Fri 17 Feb 06 12:28
Or the first Nixon administration?
deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #28 of 33: searchlight casting (jstrahl) Mon 20 Feb 06 12:25
You mean '69-'73? One can only *wish* it had sunk from the rocking of
the boat, i sure tried, along with lots of others:-). Or do you mean
the protagonist is out to sink the first Nixon administration? Given
the timing, he would be late ( i think the tune was written in late
deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #29 of 33: from BAMFINNEY (tnf) Wed 22 Feb 06 08:58

bamfinney writes:

In comparing the two songs, Ship of Fools and The Golden Vanity (if they can
and should be compared so deeply), the cabin boy in GV offered to sink the
"first ship," the "Turkish enemy." In SOF the narrator goes to see the
strangest captain he can find and offers to sink the ship without even
receiving any payment (so worthless is a ship of fools).

The cabin boy swims out to sink the ship, but by the time he gets back to his
own ship, it's too late. This strange captain has turned on him and leaves
him for the sea to swallow ("it was later than I thought").

Jerry, not like that other captain, will not abandon anyone to the sea. He
won't simply let you drift down through the cold, murky depths. His hand is
extended to you. After all, its not just a cabin boy. It's us.
deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #30 of 33: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Mon 27 Feb 06 09:19
I was referring to the first administration's place in history. The
boat, as I envisage it, being rocked by those inside it. This not
meaning to disparage jstrahl's efforts, nor those of anyone else, to
improve the functioning of the body politic.

On #29, I feel that "sink your ship of fools" refers to the captain's
own ship, rather than being an offer to the captain to sink some other
deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #31 of 33: searchlight casting (jstrahl) Sun 2 Apr 06 14:14
Agree, definitely the captain's ship.
deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #32 of 33: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Tue 4 Apr 06 10:33
I have started singing this one, so I may gain some insights from
deadsongs.vue.180 : Ship Of Fools
permalink #33 of 33: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Wed 9 Mar 11 19:22
From WH Auden's 'The Enchafed Flood or The Romantic Iconography of the
Sea' Random House NY 1950:

"In consequence, though the metaphor of the ship of state or society
appears early, it is only employed when society is in peril...When
society is normal the image is the City or the Garden... The state ship
that deliberately chooses the high seas is the state in disorder, the
Ship of Fools, as in Barclay's adaptation of Brant's Narrenschiff:

'Lyke as a myrrour doth represent agayne
The forme and fygure of mannes countenaunce
So in our ship shall he se wrytyn playne
The fourme and fygure of hys mysgovernaunce'" pp 8-9

The Romantics developed a new perspective:

"Thus Byron writes of the ocean:

'Man marks the earth with ruin - his control
Stops with the shore.' (Childe Harold)

And Captain Nemo, the commander of the submarine Nautilus in 'Twenty
Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', cries:

The sea does not belong to despots. Upon its surface men can still
exercise unjust laws, fight, tear one another to pieces, and be carried
away with terrestrial horors. But at thirty feet below its level,
their reign disappears. Ah, sir; live, live in the bosom of the waters.
There only is independence. There I recognize no master's voice. There
I am free." pp 16-17

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