Admit it, this Titanic lark is just disaster porn

What? The TITANIC SANK 100 YEARS AGO? Bloody hell, I mean there hasn’t been any reports of it in any kind on the television, or other forms of news media has there?

THAT’S RIGHT I WAS BEING SARCASTIC. The Titanic disaster has been practically unavoidable. There have been souvenir copies of newspapers full of stories about how many had died, there have been documentaries like Nazi Titanic and The Final Word with James Cameron that dwell on how it all sank, there have been debates and articles about it’s legacy and what it all means. And that’s before we even get to the Titanic drama on ITV, with production values so low it feels as if the boat isn’t out at sea, it is actually positioned in an overflow car park.

But of course reporting, reviewing and ‘drama-ing’ the tragedy isn’t unsuitable is it? We all aren’t gawping at the history of the tragedy in the same way that we gawp at a traffic incident on the motorway that involves a beaten up Ford Fiesta… Are we?

Well… let’s have a look at what’s on this week.

Titanic Real-Time

One popular way to follow the tragedy is via. @TitanicRealTime, a Twitter account with 66,000 followers, that allows us to “experience Titanic’s epic journey by minute-by-minute tweets”. You would think from a first glance that this would be an educational resource that would tell you how the disaster developed, but no, as it started at the start of the mission you get tweets from passengers such as “Barely slept last night. The beds were comfortable but the excitement is just too much!” and “Received a wireless message from La Touraine warning us of a thick ice-field, shouldn’t be a problem according to the captain!” What response do you immediately think of when you see it pop on your news-feed? Only four words – YOU. GUYS. ARE. FUCKED. 

It’s a bit disturbing when you think about it – the fact that when you are in a nightclub or at home late on Saturday night, in between of banter of The Voice and The X Factor or any random bollocks, you’ll see ‘pretend’ tweets of fictional people going “ARGH ARGH WE’RE DYING WE’RE DYING WE’RE DYING” in real-time, 100 years ago. But of course we want to learn, not be entertained. Not be entertained or gawping like during certain films in the Saw franchise. OH NO.

Titanic on Radio 2

If that doesn’t fit your bill, why won’t you have a listen to Titanic: Minute by Minute on Radio 2. That’s right, starting at 11.30 this Saturday night you’ll be able to listen to the whole disaster minute-by-minute on the nation’s favourite music radio station!

Now as it is live no preview discs are available, and I have to admit this does sound a whole lot more inventive than the normal Radio 2 late-night output of bagpipes on loop for several hours. However I am concerned by the fact that this disaster radio will be presented by Dermot O’Leary, who is best known for presenting The X Factor and not necessarily the sinking of large nautical vessels… with Penny Smith, from the heyday GMTV alongside Jeremy Vine.

Titanic… THE MEMORIAL CRUISE

Then there is the Titanic Memorial Cruise… a boat that is following the very same journey that the Titanic did 100 years ago (but of course going the whole way).

People paying thousands of pounds and travelling the same route and stopping at the same spot is a major tragedy, with many dressing up and frolicking around in the very same clothing on that era (like dodgy extras from Downton). This is a suitable way to cover the tragedy, apparently.

The media is lapping it up. The Guardian has been reporting it set sail, the BBC has a film crew on board highlighting the outfits that people are wearing on the cruise Daily Mail too… with little criticism about whether it is right to do it at all.

I mean in 100 years, will dressing up in the clothes as we wore in this time and recreating a suitable way for us to pay respect? Is it the fact that as the last Titanic survivor has died as of 2009, the rawness of the tragedy has been removed slightly? Possibly it’s the fact that as of course there is no live camera footage we aren’t connected to it as we are with modern day tragedies. I don’t know.

What I find however, is that a great deal of the news coverage, social media and programmes this week aren’t really an opportunity for us to fully evaluate the tragedy where 1,514 people died.
No. This is just disaster porn. Isn’t it?
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