Archive for February 9th, 2010

The Titanic

History has nothing to do with the past. History is information that is produce and sold like any other information. If you want to know what is true, you have to analyze “history” like any other information that is produced.

People HATE that idea, because distorted history can have so many more exciting causes. You can produce and sell a World Conspiracy tome using just a few of the endless truly egregious distortions in any history text. Why waste all that on a simple explanation?

People HATE simple explanations. My discussions of the obvious reasons that history has nothing to do with the past does not involve Big Names and Secret Deals. It has none of the pizazz and popularity of an issue of People Magazine.

Which is why People Magazine is PRODUCED.

In the case of the Titanic, for example, all discussion for a century focused on the design and the designer. He deserted the ship and was a Big Man. Big and interesting people designed and built the thing, and it is THEM that people want to read about.

It turns out that the biggest reason Titanic went down was that some of the pieces put in at the shipyard were shoddy, iron instead of steel, and Best grade instead of Best-Best. Try to make a really thrilling exposure of THAT!

The Titanic was an accident waiting to happen. It went down THEN because the officer in charge swung the ship, so that its hull plates were unzipped when it hit an iceberg. If they had hit the iceberg head on, the Titanic was built for that and would have survived.

These are INTERESTING causes. You can groan about the lack of a simple pair of binoculars; the lookouts had none. You can thrill at that moment what the man at the helm made a split-second decisions. During World War II the Germans even made a movie showing it was all the fault of the Britons because they didn’t listen to the one German officer aboard.

But a RIVET? Hull plates attached by the wrong sort of material, bad iron instead of good steel?

Put in by a bunch of common laborers or subcontractors no one in Hollywood could possibly relate to?

Try to make THAT thrilling, and lots of luck!