Publication Date: June 16, 2014
Billy Budd, WTF? is a parody of Herman Melville’s classic Billy Budd, Sailor, specifically the play adaptation by Louis O. Coxe and Robert Chapman, which strips Melville’s story to the bone in search of the mighty themes of Law, Order, Justice, Authority, Conscience, Good and Evil. Morneau dispenses with these themes and pursues more useful themes such as:
- What if you were fighting against the French and instead of them shooting cannonballs from their guns they shot fine French cuisine? What would you fire back?
- What if your crew mates were Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Dracula, Zorro, James Joyce and a guy named Ranch Dressing? Would you fit in?
- What if the force of evil on this war time cruise was a man who made lesser men laugh themselves to death? Can anything be that funny?
- What if you were captain of this ship but were more interested in puppet making and pantaloons? Do these obsessions give him moral authority?
- What if the bilge rats on your ship sang at certain intervals and functioned as a Greek chorus? Would you sing along?
Somehow all of this comes together to entertain, to indict war and bad chowder, and bring about some of Melville’s themes in ways that perplex this writer. It’s also a musical! This is the second parody of great literature Morneau has authored. His first, “Willy Loman, Nosferatu,” speaks for itself and yet doesn’t speak at all, as it is not yet a book on tape.
A Review: All reviews have been censored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in order to allow war to proceed undisturbed throughout history as planned.