Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Lies of James Cameron

In anticipation of the Canadian director's upcoming mockumentary, let us recall how he distorted history in his most popular film. From this First-Class Tribute to Men of Titanic, a reflection on "the sort of manhood Alan Alda wouldn't recognize:"
    There were only 16 lifeboats. Three hundred sixteen women were saved, with 57 children. More than 1,300 men -- passengers and crew -- went down with the ship after a relatively orderly evacuation of "women and children first."
[For a detailed analysis, see Titanic Disaster: Official Casualty Figures and Commentary. Learn, among other things, the wrongness of "Leonardo DiCaprio as one of those heroic third class passengers who were, as we know from the casualty figures, less heroic than the bourgeois passengers in second class."]

"Chivalry, gallantry, bravery and grace" still meant something in 1912. Father Thomas Byles of the Titanic, defamed by Mr. Cameron, was but one of those fine men who went down with the ship, serving his flock in steerage.

Of course had Mr. Cameron told the true story of those fine men, he might have edified a generation of young males the world over, but he would not have garnered this endorsement, quoted from China Paints Titanic Red:
    Suggesting that the movie... evinces Communist values, providing "vivid descriptions of the relationship between money and love, rich and poor," China's president Jiang Zemin has given his unqualified backing to the film...
Turning our attention to the upcoming media event, coinciding neatly as it does with the Lenten season, Mr. Stephen Hand offers this refutation, unfortunately quite needed in these times of historical and cultural illiteracy: Bible Scholars: Ten Reasons Why Jesus Tomb Claim is Bogus.

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Blogger Doni M said...

As a longtime admirer of Fr Thomas Byles, I do agree that there was a lot more to this humble priest than what Titanic film-goers will ever bother to know. That so many survivors remembered him so well, that Fr Byles was there to calm them, lead many of them to the lifeboats. He refused to leave the ship, he heard confessions, helped women and children into the boats while whispering words of comfort... And not forgetting, too, that he himself was frail and slight, and of poor health, as well as a bit of a nervous sort. Yet, he knew his duty to his fellow man, and chose to serve the poorest of the poor in his last hour, in the name of Christ.

9:39 PM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.