Everyone and everything seems to be about the Titanic lately, since it is the 100th anniversary of the sinking. I will admit that I am not immune. The past few nights you could find me in front of the television watching the James Cameron and Bob Ballard shows on the National Geographic Channel, and tonight's programming on PBS.
The loss of life was absolutely terrible. The check to mankind's hubris left an indelible mark on the world.
I think the reason that it resonates so deeply with people, after all of this time, is that society really hasn't changed all that much. It might not be as rigidly defined and stratified as it was back then, but there is still an incredible gap between the rich and poor. If I had been on Titanic I would have been in steerage, and I would have been screwed. Most people would have been.
I think it was James Cameron in his program who said that the Titanic heading toward the iceberg is like our world dealing with climate change. To paraphrase what he said from memory: we know the problem is coming, but we are still heading straight toward it without changing course. The rich will have no problem getting potable water, arid land, food. It will be the rest of us, the poor being hit particularly hard, who will suffer the most. I think that is a very good comparison.
We might not like it, and we might not dwell on it every day, but we all know it is the way the world works. That's why Titanic still resonates so much, I think. We can all place ourselves in that ship and know what our fate would most likely have been.