Opinion: The glory of man is not something worth celebrating
“So… will it have more lifeboats?”
That is the most common question I have heard from my friends about the Titanic II, which is currently under construction. Although reports indicate the working replica of the doomed ship will indeed have more and better lifeboats, there are other reasons why it would be best for it to never sail.
Although replicas often honor history by giving guests a picture of their predecessors, the currently marketed Titanic II borders on irreverent.
According to an ABC article, the ship will launch in 2022, following the intended route of the original vessel from Southampton, England, to New York for its maiden voyage.
Titanic II was the brainchild of Clive Palmer, chairman of the launching company Blue Star Line. The Australian company initially announced the ship in 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the launching of the original RMS Titanic. However, according to a BBC article, Blue Star Line suspended work on Titanic II from 2015 until recently because of a legal dispute with a Chinese company
According to a New York Times article, Titanic II will fit 2,435 passengers in three classes of cabins, like the original ship. The layout and interior will also be basically the same, although the ship will also include plenty of motorized lifeboats and, according to a Fox News article, modern technology for safety, navigation and comfort.
As far as replicas go, the Titanic II looks flawless. However, rather than use the ship to commemorate the original Titanic’s tragic history, Palmer and Blue Star Line seem more focused on selling a unique cruise vacation.
“Millions have dreamt of sailing on her, seeing her in port and experiencing her unique majesty. Titanic II will be the ship where those dreams come true,” Palmer said in a Blue Star Line press release.
In other places, the press release talked about the Titanic II’s “luxurious comfort” and referred to the original Titanic as the “ship of dreams.”
Palmer even compared an experience on the Titanic II to the Titanic movie while defending the project’s dubious European director in a statement quoted by BBC.
“He shares Blue Star Line’s passion for recreating the ship of dreams as a symbol of love and peace in the world, playing to the Jack and Rose in all of us,” Palmer said.
Granted, the Blue Star Line press release quoted Palmer about how the Titanic II would inspire global interest, but even then, Palmer and the Blue Star Line seemed particularly determined to focus on the romanticized, movie-like version of the Titanic and gloss over the tragedy that befell the infamous ship.
That tragedy should not be glossed over.
The RMS Titanic wrecked April 15, 1912, costing the lives of more than 1,500 people. There were far too few lifeboats for the passengers, prompting many men to sacrifice their lives for women and children.
If Blue Star Line and Palmer treated the Titanic II as a way to honor the dead and to learn from the mistakes of those who built and believed in an indestructible ship, all would be well. Unfortunately, the Titanic II seems to be constructed in exactly the same vein with exactly the same purpose as the original: the glory of man.