storyteller, broadcaster

This week in the month of April is notable for two very grim anniversaries. We had the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. 3600 Canadians died in an event which historians point to as one of the events that forged this country into a nation.

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I will always have difficulty with that concept somehow.

Five years before the horror of Vimy Ridge, many Canadians were among the 1500 people who perished when the Titanic sank to the ocean floor off the coast of Newfoundland.

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More than  a hundred of the victims are buried on Canadian soil, in a cemetery in Halifax.

This week, the saga of the unsinkable ship is reaching a climax as a century has passed since that fateful night. We should have known that in the digital age, this landmark anniversary would become a major hilight of the reality TV world.

We have commemorative cruises sailing from either side of the Atlantic. There are Titanic parties with guests decked out in expensive period costumes. Chefs are preparing the same food that passengers ate at what turned out to be the last meal for so many of them. It’s a huge merchandising opportunity.

Excuse me but does anyone else besides me find it all rather disrespectful and inappropriate? I mean, do we have 9/11 parties in September? More than a thousand people died a century ago because of the reckless negligence of the White Star Line, an arrogant shipping company which refused to pay enough attention to safeguarding the lives of its customers.

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Robert Ballard must shoulder some of the blame. He’s the American oceanographer who found the wreck of the ship on the floor of the Atlantic in 1985. Since then, the wreckage has been plundered rather shamelessly. Ballard has wanted no part of it. He knew that what he discovered was basically a burial site which should have been left alone.

I guess we must also hang some of this on that most untypical Canadian named James Cameron. It was his blockbuster movie, released in 1997 that fueled the tragic story for a whole new generation.

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Now he’s milking it for millions more as a 3D adaptation is up on the giant screens. A much more respectful telling of the story was the 1958 British movie “A Night to Remember”.

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All in all it makes one wish that we could wave the attention away and move on.

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Roger Currie is a Regina writer, broadcaster and blogger.

 

He currently hosts Talk of the Town every weekday at Noon, 4pm and 10pm on Access channel 7.

He will be relocating to Winnipeg at the end of April.

He can be reached at rogerc@mymts.net

 

Comments on: "‘Move along folks .. nothing to see here’" (7)

  1. Steve McLellan said:

    For such a smart man I can forgive you once in a while for being wrong. People ‘celebrate’ lifes moments in many different ways. Birthdays with pointed hats and cakes, highway deaths with roadside crosses and flowers and I would bet my bottom dollar that on 9/11 there are MANY faimilies who gather at fire halls and at ground zero to shed a tear and hug a friend- new or old. While the Titanic is I agree a grave site and should therfore be resprected where it lies i do think the above surface celebrations are indeed a proper manner to recognize and celebrate the great things and good people whose choice to take that ship on that trip will forever be part of history. The issue should not be that we spent time , money or broad band on the Titanic but why we don’t also celelbrate those others whose loss made us stronger. Clearly there are many of those in history.

  2. Frank Flegel said:

    There are also some who will celebrate the 30th anniversary this year of one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated on the Canadian people; the patriation of the Canadian Constitution, signed by Queen Elizabeth II. I remember watching in the CKCK TV newsroom as she signed and a few raindrops managed to get through the umbrella covering her and Trudeau and land on the document. I told the staff that it was God crying for the Canadian people.

    A true democracy is the rule of the majority, laws passed by those we elect to govern us, of course with compassion, tolerance and recognition of the prevailing culture. What we have now is the rule of the minority, the rights of the individual as decided by the courts not the elected government, over the rights of the majority. Parliament has become little more than a debating society with all of its laws subject to the interpretation of the courts and our politicians are too timid to make use the of the not with standing clause to maintain authority where it belongs, with our elected representatives. We can always get rid of the suckers if we don’t like what they’re doing.

    Cheers
    FJF

  3. llocken@creditaid.ca said:

    Roger, I agree with your comments.This anniversary should be about respect for the families that had to live through the sinking of the Titanic. Unfortunately everything seems to flow towards consumerism and being able to make a buck by hosting parties,selling merchandise and this now over shadows respect and dignity. Can’t we get away from trying to make money off of every situation and event.

  4. L.M. Piragoff (Regina) said:

    BRAVO to Frank Flegel.
    I don’t quite follow the rationale of Steve McLellan. The message I got from Roger’s essay …..is that human tragedies should not be ” celebrated ” in the manner in which events are being planned re the Titanic’s 100 year anniversary. Rather, tragic events should be “recognized” in a respectful manner. Yes, the Titalnic hype is starting again with the 3D re-issue of Cameron’s movie. Yes, it is all about commercialism. Yes, a new generation will put more money in his pockets. It is sensationalizing a tragedy that need not have happened. Enough already. R I P

  5. John Coutanche said:

    I’m with those who say enough with dinner parties already. Hmm… unless they are in a pool in a lifeboat and drowning is a possibility. Now there’s a real 3d theme.

  6. Joe Thauberger said:

    I’m so sick of people glorifying Canada’s participation in one of the most useless waste of lives in history. Everyone of them died for absolutely nothing…. unless you regard the Bolshevic revolution as a worthwhile consequence. The idea that they died for our freedom is utterly nonsensical. Why can’t we all just admit that those who died were duped, decieved, degraded and destroyed by a small number of short sighted, idiotic war mongers, who we were stupid enough to believe.
    “The big boys do the lyin’, while the little guys do the dyin’.!!!!!!!!
    The glorification of one useless war just leads us to participate in the next useless war.
    And then came the war that really sealed out fate as a civilization. We fought and died for Joe Stalin, the only real winner in that European war. We gave him all of eastern and most of central Europe. We elevated the USSR from a fourth rate power in 1939 to a first rater in 1945. Without that “big win” for the communists in ’45, China and Korea and Vietnam and Cambodia etc could never have happened. They all adopted Bolshevism while we all adopted the slower version but equally destructive “democratic” wing of Marxist social philosophy—Social Democracy.
    The fratricidal WW2 spelled the beginning of the end of Western Civilization.
    At present birth rates, whites the world over have a half life of roughly 50 years. We will be virtually extinct in 200 years….and with it the death of Western Civilization. It appears that only fundamentalist Islam has the will and energy to perpetuate themselves and therefore will certainly be the likely inheritors of the future.
    Every civilization in history, including our own, was based on a fairly rigid social class structure, self aggrandizement, and a touch of xenophobia. With the classless society of Marx will come the inevitable destruction of any society that adopts its fundamental social and biological precepts. Any society can and will recover from Marxist economics, but no society can ever recover from the destruction of the genetic capital that created the civilization in the first place. As the pigment darkens so will our civilization. Such is the legacy of Marx. The only other ethnic groups that can compete with the creativity and general intelligence of the northwest European are the Jews and the Japs. The supposition that there are no significant differences in racial intelligence is Marxism’s most destructive and most pernicious failure.

  7. L. Wright said:

    I agree with you on the Titanic hype, Roger. It was a terrible, preventable tragedy &
    altered many lives. What is happening now is blatant commercialism & total disrespect.
    I am quite weary of it all.

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