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Last week was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. At her launch, she represented a new, golden age of science and technology, luxury and opportunity. She was an unprecedented monument to man’s greatness… but only for five days. James Cameron’s 1997 film, technically groundbreaking though it was, emphasized the pride of enlightened humanism while ignoring the true lessons of history, and turned a true story of heroism into groundless class warfare.
According to Paula Parisi’s gushing book Titanic and the Making of James Cameron, the director would actually go out of his way to enforce the brutish behavior of his cast. “Stop helping people,” she quotes Cameron barking on the water-logged sinking set. “I hate that. it’s every man for himself.” Despite being overbearingly demanding in his pursuit of the physical accuracy of costumes, props, and sets, James Cameron would chastise extras for modeling the very sacrificial character that made the actual sinking of the ship iconic.
The legacy left by the Titanic and her passengers is much bigger than mere records broken by a gigantic ocean liner or a gargantuan Hollywood blockbuster. The cultural impact and character lessons of this event should not be forgotten or ignored. Last week The Vision Forum put on a centennial celebration of the lives and examples of those who lived and died, underscoring the Christian principles that we should remember.