Tag Archives: In Praise of Vice

Marginalia, no.93

What made Stubb such an easy-going, unfearing man, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a world full of grave-peddlers, all bowed to the ground with their packs; what helped to bring about that almost impious good-humor of his; that thing must have been his pipe.

~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick

It was Ahab’s discarding of his pipe – his inability to take pleasure in it – that prefigured his doom.  Never trust a man with no observable vices.  The smoker, the drinker, the gambler are all seasoned to an easy, fraternal sympathy.  The abstinent, the strict, the grimly ascetic man is a monomaniac in embryo and no lover of mankind.

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