Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Whinbad and Pinbad

So, my latest pastime is reading nonsense verse that I myself wrote and analyzing it for hidden meanings.

So far, we know that Ninbad the Nailer is Trent Reznor, Hinbad the Hailer is Elijah, and Rinbad the Railer is both Arthur Rimbaud and J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien was born just 54 days after Rimbaud died, leaving open the weird but interesting possibility of a literal reincarnation. Speaking of Tolkien's possible past lives, William Wright believes one of them was Elijah, so perhaps Hinbad and Rinbad are the same dude.

Whinbad and Pinbad, I have just decided, are also the same dude.

Whinbad the Whaler was delish
And not unlike Filet-O-Fish.

This is pretty obviously just a throwaway joke. While everyone else in the poem is a person, Whinbad turns out to be a fish sandwich formerly sold by Burger King. Can't be much hidden meaning in that, right?

O ye of little faith!

Leaving fish sandwiches to one side, who's the most famous whaler of all time? I think we can all agree that Captain Ahab has no rivals in that department, right? Captain Ahab was named after a king, and a king who was delicious -- or at least his blood was, to dogs -- as is explicitly pointed out in Moby-Dick.

". . . Oh! he ain’t Captain Bildad; no, and he ain’t Captain Peleg; he’s Ahab, boy; and Ahab of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king!"

"And a very vile one. When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they not lick his blood?"

Not just a king but a crowned king. Burger King, of course, emphasizes crowns in their branding and gives customers paper crowns to wear.

And what's Filet-O-Fish, besides a sandwich? Well, if delish is short for delicious, o-fish can be short for official. One of the meanings of fillet is a headband or circlet. A circlet as a mark of office is what is commonly known as a crown -- which brings us to Whinbad's alter ego, Pinbad:

Pinbad the Pailer was the bloke
Who had a crown, but then it broke.

This was intended as an allusion to a well-known nursery rhyme:

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Pinbad is Jack. In Australia, Burger King is known as Hungry Jack's, so Pinbad is the same as Whinbad the Whaler with his fillet of office -- i.e., King Ahab. Jill, then is pretty clearly a contraction of Jezebel, Ahab's queen. Shortly after the death of Ahab, "Jill came tumbling after," being thrown to her death from a window by her servants. The pail of water on the hilltop is a pretty clear reference to the best known event from the reign of Ahab and Jezebel: the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal at the top of Mt. Carmel, with Elijah famously dousing his sacrifice with barrels of water before calling down fire from heaven to ignite it. Jack and Jill going up the hill to fetch a pail of water -- as if to duplicate Elijah's miracle -- means they did not accept Elijah's victory, and the failure of the prophets of Baal, as final but still thought they could best him.

This is such an obvious "esoteric" reading of this nursery rhyme that I can hardly believe Aleister Crowley didn't beat me to it. Of course he didn't have Whinbad the Whaler to jump-start the train of associations.

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