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  • From A Squeeze of the Hand

The Daily Dick: Musings from the Greatest Novel Ever

"Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say,-Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness. Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever!"


Musing: Yeah. So. I usually try to avoid Melville and the study of the homoerotic under/overtones in Moby-Dick, but in reading this chapter this time, it really stuck out to me. If squeezing the sperm is a euphemism, then I have never heard it before. But no one repeats the word sperm this much and dwells on the action of squeezing unless they want you to notice it. This is very Whitman-esque too. I can't help seeing the influence of Melville here: “I am, the poet of the woman the same as the man…/I am he that walks with the tender and growing night,/I call to the earth and sea half-held by the night./Press close bare-bosom’d night—press close magnetic nourishing night!/Night of south winds—night of the large few stars!/Still nodding night—mad naked summer night.” I am not sure what to make of all the sperm, but I suppose I will give it some thought.

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