In Loomings Ishmael comically downplays the affront of being ordered “to get a broom and sweep down the decks” by “some old hunks of a sea captain” (“What of it…?”), whereas MK comically exaggerates the violence of the hierarchy comprising the society of the whaleship.
“GET” is painted in large, blocked black letters on the bottom left of the canvas (found paper still, a chart of “resistance measurements”), as if rained down from an agape, inhuman mouth with a thin pink lip, by virtue of a field of long slantwise squiggly black lines interspersed pink and blue. The command emanates from a weirdly drawn hooked, bulbous figure occupying the majority of the right side of the canvas. The topmost portion of this figure is painted black, and below that it’s bedaubed mostly gray, except for an arching horizontal row of vertical rectangles colored alternately light blue and pink, with two odd yellow ones breaking up the pattern.
Atop this de-anthropomorphic head, a little black hump serves for a hat; shown in profile, its one beady blue eye affixes to nothing if not the emblematic white anchor, ringed shieldlike in alternating blocks colored yellow and red and projected spoutwise ahead of the faceless face. It’s the very power structure of the whaleship personified, and therefore properly depersonified: a zoomorphic right whale of a captain, a band of baleen flashing in the sun and all.