Maybe you saw this news item today: Plans to launch Titanic II, a near-exact replica of the famously ill-fated ocean liner RMS Titanic, have been delayed from this year to 2018. This prompted a discussion among Deadspin staff: Would you travel aboard Titanic II, if you could do so for free? Some said of course they would not. Others disagreed and are out of their goddamn minds.
Some things to know: Titanic II will be wider than the original Titanic. Its hull will not be riveted, as the original’s problematically was, but rather welded. It will have more lifeboats. It will have modern navigational systems. It will make its maiden voyage not across the ice-clogged north Atlantic, but from China to Dubai. Also, hey, by the way, its name is Titanic II, which is to say that its own name has been specifically chosen to indicate that this boat is the sequel to the most famous maritime disaster of all time.
Titanic II is the project of Australian rich person Clive Palmer, an owner of natural resource reserves and founder of a political party named after himself. Here are some things Clive Palmer is not: A shipbuilder. An engineer. He is not even a boatswain or whatever. What is a boatswain anyway? Somebody who knows more about boats than Clive Palmer, that is for damn sure. Clive Palmer is just some tubby Aussie who owns some stuff, and now has decided that he would like to have an ocean liner for himself.
So. Would you travel aboard the Titanic II on its maiden voyage? I say no. Actually I say “Hell motherfuckin’ no, of course not, for I am not suicidal.”
Listen. Boats are boats. Titanic II’s resemblance to the original Titanic is meaningless. It is a boat. They could name it anything. And so you might say, “Being afraid to ride on it is just superstition, you big dummy. Titanic II is not more likely to sink than any other boat. The ocean doesn’t give a frig what its name is.” But actually, nah.
The original Titanic killed so many people—more than 1,500 of them!—because it was hubris incarnate, a giant floating middle finger to nature. It was made by dick-swinging rich assholes who believed technology had solved the dangers of transoceanic travel; the very reason to make it was to demonstrate this. To gloat. To do a touchdown dance across the wild Atlantic Ocean. We have made a boat that Earth itself cannot defeat.
The reason for a dick-swinging rich asshole to make a modernized sequel to that doomed dumbass failure, and name it Titanic II, is to demonstrate how to do it right. To say no, this is how you build an unsinkable ship. That is, to express a no-less-hubristic belief that it can be done right. To suggest, again, that the wild ocean can be conquered, and to claim to have done it. It’ll be just like the glamorous and grand Titanic, is the idea, only this time it won’t sink!
This is insane. It is like naming your airship Hindenburg II, or your spaceship Challenger II, or your movie Gigli II. People insane enough to build a replica Titanic and name it Titanic II are too insane to build a good boat and get it across the ocean. Thankfully you can get from China to Dubai without having to ride on a giant ocean liner designed to be just like a catastrophic failure of engineering and planning that killed more than two thirds of its passengers the only time it ever left port. You can ride in a train or a car or an airplane, or in a boat not designed and named after the goddamn Titanic. You can walk! It will take a long time, but there’s almost no chance that your trip will end at the bottom of the ocean.
With all those choices at your disposal, if you choose Titanic II, you are thumbing your nose at the universe. That would be the only reason to do it! Does that sound like a good idea? No it does not. Disagree wrongly below.
Screencap and .gif via YouTube