- Mary K. Bercaw-Edwards (U. of Connecticut)
- Robert Wallace (Northern Kentucky U.)
- Wyn Kelley (M.I.T.)
- Chris Sten (George Washington U.)
- Laurie Robertson-Lorant (U. of Massachusetts Dartmouth)
- Jennifer Baker (NYU)
|Michael Dyer works the crowd|
The questions ranged from gimmes to true head-scratchers. E.g.:
- In what country was Ishmael when he related the story of the Town-Ho? (Answer: Peru)
- What is a sword-mat? (Answer: a fender or bumper for a boat)
- How many words are in Moby-Dick? (I think this was a gag question, but Robert Wallace made an educated guess that came very close to the correct number.)
- A complex question about synchronicities that I didn't follow.
- What once celebrated, later notorious, American military figure was instrumental in the creation of Moby-Dick? (Answer: Benedict Arnold, who [if I heard correctly] saved the life of the future Mrs. Peter Gansevoort, Herman Melville's maternal grandmother. This stumper was the work of Peter Whittemore, who earned a button thereby.)
Shortly before the program started, Gansevoort and I had some excitement when I unintentionally outed us as the authors of this blog. It happened when I asked Michael Dyer if I could take his picture for a blog. When I said the word "blog," a voice behind me cried out, "Ahab Beckons? Are you Ahab Beckons?" I turned around to find Jim Lopes, VP of Education and Programming at the Museum. By reacting, I had already betrayed myself. Jim then introduced himself and asked me if I was Gansevoort. I said no and led him into the theater, where Gansevoort was sitting. Jim explained that (unknown to us) he and others had been speculating on our identities and had even asked the assembly at the end of the buffet dinner whether "Ahab Beckons" was in attendance. (This was apparently after we had moved into the theater to get settled for Dr. Marr's lecture.)
In a whirlwind, Jim then introduced us to an assortment of notables, including Peter Whittemore (Melville's great-great-grandson), Robert Rocha (the Museum's Science Director and the commander-in-chief of this year's Marathon; he also read a chapter in Portuguese), Wyn Kelley, and Brian Witkowski (the Museum's Education Programs Manager). With the help of our sister, we managed to get photos of some of the above, which are posted below. After the "Stump" program, the Museum's Director of Digital Initiatives, Michael Lapides, also introduced himself. Everyone was very gracious, and their kind words of encouragement were most appreciated.
|Alternative photo of Jim Lopes, at the podium Friday evening|