Musings about the Titanic story
Friday, April 13, 2012
I have been so enjoying the many Titanic documentaries that have been shown this week. I think I'm at least somewhat addicted...
What is it about this story that so fascinates us, I wonder? There have been countless shipwrecks and tragedies over the centuries... Why our fascination with this one?
I guess maybe we can relate more to the Titanic account because there is an amazing amount of information and detail that survived ... photos and even movie-camera footage from passengers who had disembarked prior to the ship going down ... recorded accounts of so many survivors ... records that had been made of the building of the vessel, maybe more than would normally have been made because of the fact that this was the world's biggest ship at the time and the claim that she was 'unsinkable'. Maybe it's partly because of the awful irony that the ship that was said to be unsinkable went down on her maiden voyage.
Perhaps it is also the stark awareness of the inequity of how differently the rich and the poor were treated --- not only during the voyage, but, with the complete abandon of any sense of morality or human compassion, even in death. The image of the poor being deliberately confined to the steerage level, preventing them from reaching any available lifeboats and sealing their fate, must be an example of one of the lowest points in human history.
On a more positive note... I think there is also a fascination with just the whole sheer size and scope of this vessel and its operation. I learned from one documentary that there were TWO ROOMS just for peeling potatoes! Not to mention the electric potato-peeling machines that were used -- amazing! Electric-powered gym equipment, the phenomenal amounts of coal needed to feed the generators and the engines, the number of staff it took to run such an operation, the opulence of the main dining room... I think these are some of the things that still fascinate and amaze us today, one hundred years later.