It would just be wrong to let the 100th anniversary pass without at least a quick post. The Titanic has been omnipresent this week, month, and I have always been fascinated by it. We have been inundated with news analyses, recreations, critiques, interviews, postulations, movies, miniseries, second guessings, theories, facts, final words.
And I tried to think why I was so unmoved by so much of this, why a learned lecture on substandard iron rivets as the reason for the wreck failed to move me, why interviews with great-great-grandchildren bored me.
And I think the reason is quite simple.
With the Titanic, as with so much else in our twittered lives, we have lost all sense of perspective.
Why is the tragedy of the Titanic so endlessly fascinating? What makes it moving and sad and heroic? It’s because it’s a timeless theme: Man Against Nature. And nature wins big time, and hubris plays a big part, and it is for that that we keen to the tale of the Titanic.
But in all the minutia, in all the claustrophobic, microscopic focusings on rivets and articles of sunken treasure and recently unearthed or freshly rehashed scandals, we have lost sight of that grand and majestic theme, burying it—like so much else—in trivial nattering.