The anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic has got people discussing what makes that event endlessly fascinating. One angle I haven’t seen discussed much is the sense that the Titanic fulfills our satisfaction (schadenfreude, really) in seeing a wildly ambitious project fail. Because the Titanic was the biggest and fastest yet built, and because of its luxurious appointments and especially because so many filthy rich people were aboard (representing the ruling class that made it possible), the disaster makes us happy.
In fact, there’s a popular trope for that in science fiction (see Pride and Gone Horribly Wrong over at TV Tropes), especially associated with mad scientists. I think of the Titanic as playing out like it was a near-future SF novel written about 20 years before it actually happened. Probably a Jules Verne novel.
This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Fredosphere.