An unsinkable memory

A century later, Titanic disaster resonates deeply in public consciousness

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The Titanic has become such a cliché over the past 100 years that satirical news site TheOnion.com wrote a headline that reads “World’s Largest Metaphor Hits Ice-Berg.”

Indeed, the famous ill-fated cruise ship, which hit an iceberg 100 years ago today and sank early the next day, has become synonymous with any large enterprise that sinks abruptly.

It’s also the name of one of the most famous movies ever made. In fact, some young folks have been caught admitting in social media that they were surprised this week to learn that the Titanic was real, and not just a movie.

However linguistically or poorly we’ve remembered, though, the important thing is that we’ve remembered. The people on that ship became immortal that night, whether they perished or not. We remember.

We remember because it was a truly horrific fate. We remember because it’s so personal and seemingly arbitrary; we can all relate to such a nightmarish scenario, and it truly could’ve happened to anyone. We remember because it was the biggest ship of its kind at that time, and reputed to be nearly unsinkable.

And we remember because it’s such a landmark cautionary tale: It’s so symbolic of mankind’s tendency toward hubris.

The victims are also remembered, obviously, by their families. More than 650 descendants of the victims gathered at Southampton, England, April 10, on the 100th anniversary of its launching there. Nearer My God To Thee, the song reportedly played by a band as the ship sunk, was played at the memorial.

“It was a worry during the anniversary that the families would be forgotten in all the razzmatazz,” one relative said.

Not to worry. We remember.

Others are remembered largely for their heroism. Augusta native Maj. Archibald Butt, an aide to two U.S. presidents, was said to have helped keep the ship’s evacuation calmer than it might otherwise have been. One news article said he was “tireless in helping women” escape. He went down with the ship, and today is memorialized with a bridge over the Augusta Canal.

The disaster also inspired the world to improve and better coordinate maritime safety rules – likely saving other lives.

While the ship’s name has, indeed, become a metaphor, and while it’s unnerving that some folks never knew it was a real event, James Cameron’s epic 1997 fictionalized movie Titanic, recently reissued in 3D, accomplished this much: It reminded us that the 1,514 dead and 710 survivors were real people who suffered greatly to give us a cliché.

We remember.

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Bizkit
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Bizkit 04/14/12 - 08:31 am
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Good story. Remember the USS

Good story. Remember the USS Indianapolis too. Of about 1200 only 300 survived. Both horrific losses.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 09:06 am
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"Well, yes, ma'am, I do... I

"Well, yes, ma'am, I do... I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what's gonna happen or, who I'm gonna meet, where I'm gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. You don't know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you... to make each day count."

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 09:16 am
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Of course, as with the title

Of course, as with the title of the editorial, the real love story of the Titanic was about the heroine, the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She made a choice in life to marry a poor man for love instead of a wealthy man. The ironic thing was the poor man struck it rich and she ended up wealthy. She had to be forced into Lifeboat 6 and made it go back and search for survivors.

allhans
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allhans 04/14/12 - 09:46 am
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The Titanic was a great

The Titanic was a great tragedy, but can we give it a rest? I saw the original movie as a child and the memory still lingersssss..................

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 10:10 am
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Great movies and books are

Great movies and books are never rested.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 04/14/12 - 10:42 am
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True River. Growing up a Baby

True River. Growing up a Baby Boomer we had lots of heroes and movies about our heroes. Unfortunately some people just had to ruin the illusion. I love the Doris Day and Rock Hudson movies, then you find Rock is gay. The Great Bambino, Pete Rose, etc. all tarnished. People just have to find the bad. That's easy you have to weigh we all are the same and all hope people will weigh our good and remember and recall those characteristics. I could have gone my whole life knowing Rock wasn't gay-not that I care about his personal choice just it ruined my illusion. Still I'll always love Rock in movies like Giant and then TV in McMillan and Wives, Dynasty, etc. I think humans need a little illusion and imagination-reality often stinks.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 10:41 am
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That's right riverman.

That's right riverman. Especially when someone has the chance to produce a sappy movie to sell tickets.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 10:44 am
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Biz, we are kindred souls,

Biz, we are kindred souls, except, I never went through that liberal hippy thingy, despite attending 2 ivy league schools for a time. Never let them have me long enough to get a hold on me.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 04/14/12 - 10:45 am
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Mornin' KSL. Sorry if you

Mornin' KSL. Sorry if you found any comments offensive Loudermilk. Whether I agree or disagree with comments, I love some of the humor, irony, metaphors, and rhetoric. Tech was just crackin me up. The demagoguery gets a little tiresome but I've been equally as guilty. Dang with this chilly spell. I was opening my windows and enjoying the night air till recently.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 10:47 am
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Bizkit, yeah, that Rock

Bizkit, yeah, that Rock Hudson thing just hit you in the gut. I still refuse to believe it. I mean he looked just like a man's man...dang..guess he was after all.

KSL, come on now, that's a great movie and not one bit sappy. Nothing wrong with finding romance in a tragedy.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 10:47 am
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As for the great bambino, you

As for the great bambino, you do know there is a former baseball park (Helping Hands has a home for children there now) that the Babe played at and hit a home run out of. I forget why he was playing in Aiken.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 10:48 am
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Biz, sorry you misunderstood.

Biz, sorry you misunderstood. I, in no way, found your comments offensive. Just the opposite. I saw the humor and was commenting to that.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 10:49 am
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River, it was sappy.

River, it was sappy.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 10:52 am
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Yeah, well when those tears

Yeah, well when those tears were running down my face over my beard stubble, I realized I was a little sappy, too.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 10:53 am
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Lance Rentzel.

Lance Rentzel.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 04/14/12 - 10:56 am
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"I mean he looked just like a

"I mean he looked just like a man's man...dang..guess he was after all." Yep. LOL.
Good KSL! I'm just tryin to get my spark back. I ran out of flint so my lighter wasn't workin. But I'm lightnin' up now. The written word and these venues of communication are just fascinatin to me. A few years back I thought about what an interesting book you could write just from readers comments. It would be a hoot and likely best seller.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 10:59 am
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No such thing as a gay Dallas

No such thing as a gay Dallas Cowboy...maybe a Pittsburg Steeler.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 11:01 am
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Wait a minute, Rentzel wasn't

Wait a minute, Rentzel wasn't gay. He was married to Joey Heartherton for awhile. He was a flasher.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 11:02 am
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I would be happy to

I would be happy to collaborate with you. I have met a lot of the characters, including many who either no longer post because they choose not to or because unfortunately, they are no longer with us.

You have your spark!

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 11:03 am
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River, but I saw the movie!

River, but I saw the movie!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 11:06 am
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There are movies from made

There are movies from made for TV to Titanic. It's like there are novels from self-published little things to Gone With the Wind. Not all the same. Titanic is up there with the best movies. But maybe SOME people don't like movies? No problem, I don't like opera.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 11:06 am
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Raymond Burr, my lawyer hero.

Raymond Burr, my lawyer hero.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/12 - 11:09 am
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Warren Burger, my kind of

Warren Burger, my kind of DA...everyone got off.

KSL
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KSL 04/14/12 - 11:09 am
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Maybe I just don't like the

Maybe I just don't like the actors who were in that movie. Sappy, sappy.

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