Political Animal


April 15, 2012 7:25 AM Good Morning Boys and Girls!

By Sara Mead

And welcome back to Miss Sara’s Sunday School for unrepentant politics watchers. I hope everyone had a lovely Saturday. Here’s hoping the two false fire alarms that evacuated my building yesterday afternoon don’t repeat themselves this morning.

Since today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, a round-up of Titanic-oriented news and commentary:

*Timothy Noah cites contemporary observer Henry Adams, who barely missed sailing on the ship himself and drew parallels between the disaster and terrible GOP performance in the 1912 election:

At the very least, it’s interesting to ponder that 100 years ago a great mind contemplated the prospect of GOP self-destruction, just as we lesser minds do today. A significant difference is that some of us don’t feel particularly sad to see that great reactionary ship go down.

*ThinkProgress: James Cameron makes a connection between the hubris of the Titanic’s and our current unwillingness to serious grapple with climate change.

*The Titanic’s sinking spurred the creation of the International Ice Patrol, which monitors and warns vessels against icebergs in the same waterways (while there aren’t a lot of people traveling from Europe to the U.S. this way these days, it is an important shipping route). Fascination with the Titanic’s remains also spurred advances in underwater imagining.

In non-Titanic news, more details about the allegations of misconduct by Secret Service agents in Columbia.

Thoughts and prayers for Iowa and Oklahoma tornado victims.


  • Hedda Peraz on April 15, 2012 8:07 AM:

    Hey, Early Girly, I thought I could sneak into the classroom, and write some snark on the blackboard, before you got here!

    The whole Titanic (what a hubristic name!) phenomenon is fascinating from a sociological POV. Long before vulture capitalism, the rich got lifeboats and steerage got to watch.

  • Danp on April 15, 2012 8:45 AM:

    Jeepers, Miss Sara. I've been sitting here in the corner with a dunce cap on my head since yesterday morning, and nobody said I could go home. Could you please tell the other kids to stop whistling. They're giving me a headache.

    And prostitution is legal in Columbia? I hate South Carolina. From now on, I'm going to call the Titanic the "gem of the ocean".

  • berttheclock on April 15, 2012 8:50 AM:

    Yes, Hedda, the rich did have the lifeboats placed upon a vessel which had been produced with a lack of quality control and cost cutting measures prevailed. But, as St Ronny used to say about product liability laws, customers could just say no for the next sailing. Let me see. Sloppy production methods and a great deal of hype to sell the product. Perhaps, times have really never changed. Ah, Pinto drivers driving around playing "Nearer My God To Thee" on their car radios.

  • zandr on April 15, 2012 7:35 PM:

    "underwater imagining"? You mean, beyond even Jules Verne? I thought the Nautilus was pretty good...

    That ought to read "imaging". As in taking pictures.

  • Doug on April 15, 2012 7:42 PM:

    Still think Walter Lord's "A Night to Remember" and the British film of the same name are the best evocations of what occurred that night.

    As for "Titanic"/GOP allegories/imagery/whatever: How about Romney as Capt. Smith? Hell-bent on achieving their goals, regardless of the possible consequences?

  • Marnie on April 15, 2012 8:13 PM:

    The Titanic was also one of if not the first instances of telegraph (which was for commercial use not the ship's use)was used to call for help for a ship.

    Third class passengers were considered cargo and there had never been enough life boats to include them. Titanic was one of only a few modern ships to include life boats for second class.

    The water tight compartments of the Titanic were not really water tight. They were all open at the top, and that is what doomed the ship. It was designed to stay afloat with two compartments flooded. When water spilled over the wall from the second compartment into the first the ship was doomed, as both the second and third compartments were breached.