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Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Memoriam: Passengers and Crew of RMS Titanic

Lifeboat #6 from Titanic, as seen from the rescue ship Carpathia
(Library of Congress, via Wikipedia)

A century later, the story still astonishes and horrifies a thinking reader: so many souls, just as much alive as you or I at this moment, going about their lives full of blood and breath, dreams and hopes and fears and wishes as we are - suddenly called to meet their Maker in what was, after all, a needless tragedy.

Of course, most of you will remember the 1997 film about the great ship's destruction, marred by a silly love story and an exaggerated snobbery - but for the real facts of the event, I recommend to my readers who are interested in the human story - which is the only important one - Walter Lord's classic 1955 account, drawn from interviews with 63 survivors, A Night to Remember. Also worth perusing are the many, many personal accounts, with photographs and newspaper articles of the time, gathered together at Encyclopedia Titanica.

Browsing through those accounts, your Head Trucker has come across two possibly gay couples, none of whom survived: look up the names of Thomson Beattie and Thomas McCaffry, as well as those of Major Archibald Butt and Francis Millet, and see what you think.

Many lessons there are from this tragic episode that happened a hundred years ago tonight, many observations there are that one could make on all the little stories of friends, families, lovers, and strangers suddenly thrown together or torn apart - but here I will let some of the survivors speak for themselves, and let my truckbuddies draw their own conclusions.

Update: Via JMG, somebody has already written a book about those possible gay guys your Head Trucker noticed all on his own.  Check out a short YouTube interview here.


Greg said...

I agree. A Night to Remember is a much better movie account of those events. It seemed much more dignified.

Russ Manley said...

The problem is, most modern movies now want to project 21st century attitudes back into every era - making everything an epic of sex and sleaze and slaughter, instead of portraying people as they really acted and thought at the time. Which is really, really lousy, and a juvenile conception of life.

You should check out a documentary on Netflix, "Tales from the Script" (2009). It has interviews with a couple dozen successful screenwriters in Hollywood - nearly all of them youngish straight white men, and nearly all of them with a frat=boy mentality. It's that vision of the world Hollywood most often presents.

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