Titanic Envy

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Much has been made of the analogy between the Titanic and y2k. Common points abound: arrogance leading to disaster, human suffering, financial loss, total system failure from relatively small (%) structural (infrastructural) damage, etc.

But in fact we would have been much better off to have found ourselves aboard that ill-fated liner than where we find ourselves today.

First, the passengers were primarily the affluent. Sure there were a number of 'common workers'. But chances are if you found yourself among those on Titanic's maiden voyage, you were rich. In other words, the rich were disproportionately affected. Y2k will affect all, but will probably hit the average person harder than the very affluent.

Then there is the fact that no one on the Titanic had much time to suffer anxiety over the disaster. The travelers (like most Americans now, but unlike us "G.I.'s") were happy and confident until the ship shuddered almost imperceptibly, at which time a few revelers paused momentarily, "What was that?"

I became a "G.I." about 14 months ago. I could almost pity those whose epiphany came much before then (except that they have had more time to prep.) The Titanic hit the burg and within hours was submerged. We've been watching the y2k iceberg scrape the hull of our infrastructure for, in some cases, years. Now we're watching individual rivets pop out on a daily basis and will do so for weeks and months. Soon we will witness the individual compartments filling with icy water and may do so for weeks, months and (10?) years. Our boat will list and sink with excruciating slowness (if we're 'lucky').

On the Titanic, being an early G.I. meant that your survival, unharmed, was virtually guaranteed! The vast majority of folks here would have been those folks who boarded the lifeboats early, pushed off and were well out of harm's way when the ship went down (the pollies and trolls, obviously, die horrible deaths.) Those early lifeboats were nearly vacant. Plenty of room to stretch out. Grab a blanket, do a little rowing and wait to be rescued. The GI's were quickly out of earshot from the polly taunts. It was so easy! The rescue came within hours. Within a day, life was more or less back to normal.

The icy water of the North Atlantic served as great protection from all the DGI's and DWGI's left on board. They could not swim out and push you off the boat (steal your preps, etc.) There might be some psychological harm brought about to us survivors, say for example recurring nightmares wherein we would re-live that final scene wherein, as we looked from the safety of our lifeboat we saw LadyLogic clinging to the top of a funnel, screaming about her Uncle, the retired sailboat engineer and how this can't be happening - but we'ld get over it.

There is no way to get off this y2k ship.

And what was the risk of boarding the lifeboats early? Almost nothing! The other passengers surely thought those leaving were quite foolish. But the "Titanic G.I.'s" must have figured that, at worst, they would miss a little fun, spend some time bobbing in their little boat, and then return to the ship after the problem was sorted out. The lifeboats were there. They were free!

There is no way to entirely get off this y2k ship, but we have tried. No life boats have been provided - each person has had to build their own. So that is what we have done.

We have sacrificed our time, our money and oftimes our reputations to build our little, feeble boats. The risk is well worth it for us. But if our preps prove to have been in vain, the cost will not have been small. So much greater risk have we taken than those early GI's on the Titanic. We have paid a price.

Those content to remain aboard have heckled and often even hindered our boatbuilding efforts. The torment has, in many cases, gone on for years, interupted only by the occasional "I know where to go if the boat really does sink - ha ha ha" comment. And, yes, they really mean it. This is the DGI paradigm. No Risk. No sacrifice. No labor. And from such character will surely spring that sense of entitlement so common among those claiming 'victimization' in our society. Namely, "You have it. I want it. I deserve it. I'll take it." There will be no icy Atlantic waters to protect us. Boatbuilders must use stealth and prayer.

Nonetheless, we have prevailed as best we could in our boatbuilding and as best we knew how. Some more familiar with the design of the y2k-Titanic have whispered (or shouted) "Remember what I told you about the lifeboats." They have encouraged us in our building and have offered assistance where they could. Their reward has been to be singled out by the pollies for even harsher treatment. Their reputations, as specialists being more substantial at the outset, have been more thoroughly savaged. "They only warn of the need for lifeboats as a way to make money!" cry the pollies. And so it goes.

Even now the pollies despise the comraderie which has sprung up among the boatbuilders. The ship is beginning to list, the icy water splashes about the ankles and still they try to disrupt our giving of mutual assistance and encouragement among ourselves. We have tried to warn all those on the ship. But now it is too late. Now we encourage each other, "Don't forget this", "here is the best way to do that", "check out the cooperative preps", and so it goes. The heckling pollies protest, "It's so unfair. They pay no attention to our heckling." They hold up copies of the Constitution. But we need to be able to hear each other right now. Shouting from those in the party room (they're probably drunk) cannot be allowed to drown out the information relevant to boatbuilding.

It's nearly time to push away from the y2k-Titanic. But we can't push very far. Our boats are tethered to the ship. Maybe, maybe the rope we have constructed is long enough. We can buy some time with our boats. We may escape some misery. We may provide the margin of time needed for the resue to arrive. But what if no rescue arrives?

Some of us have one month ropes. Some have six month ropes. And some have one or even two year ropes. But no rope can be long enough if the ship goes down. The digital Atlantic is deep. If she goes to the bottom, she'll eventually pull us all down.

Many have questioned the sanity of the boatbuilders. We have questioned it ourselves. No sane person hopes the ship goes down. We do not hope for the ship to go down; neither do the pollies. Every sane person fears it may. We alone fear that.

-- Me (me@me.me), December 19, 1999


me - that is an exceptional piece of writing .... kudos!

You find me in total agreement with your conclusions.

-- hiding in plain (sight@edge. of no-where), December 19, 1999.

A more honest comparison of Y2K and the Titanic would have the survivors forced to row their lifeboats to an uninhabited island, and live with nature indefinitely!

I believe a slow unwinding of society would tend to favor the rich-- tills things reach 10 on the disaster scale. If things get to total anarchy the rich will be overthrown by men with guns.

A fast collapse to a 10 probably wouldn't favor rich or poor. After TEOWAWKI, the guy flipping burgers a Micky D's and Bill Gates pretty much would stand same chances for survival.

-- Ocotillo (peeling@out.===), December 19, 1999.


Don't forget the coast guard tell you to stay off the life boats, OR YOU'LL MAKE THE Titanic SINK!!!!

GI's paddling eventually are apprehended by pirates, who proceed to throw them overboard to use their vessel to haul loot from the ship and victims.

-- Hokie (va@va.com), December 19, 1999.

Excellent post.

A fast collapse to a 10 probably wouldn't favor rich or poor. After TEOWAWKI, the guy flipping burgers a Micky D's and Bill Gates pretty much would stand same chances for survival.

I don't agree at all. I suspect that:
1. Gates is going to be somewhere that no one can find him for rollover (e.g., his "vacation island"); and
2. You would need the Seventh Fleet to stand much of a chance of taking his preps away.

Of course, the burger flipper doesn't have this option.

-- Steve Heller (stheller@koyote.com), December 19, 1999.

Actually, the Titanic disaster was caused largely in part to one man. The Skipper who decided to push on at full speed when there were dangers of icebergs ahead.

Well get this little factoid through your heads, little Doomlits, the WORLD is not one big ship headed for an iceberg. Whether or not Y2K is going to be bad is NOT up to one man. So get off this silly "arrogance of humanity" kick. The fact is the Titanic design was sound. It just so happned that it took the worst possible kind of damage at the worst possible time. And the reason it did was because again, one man was negligent.

This anaglogy sucks, and it's worn out threadabre anyway. Why don't you guys just put it to reat already?

Why not use the analogy of the RMS Anrdea Doria? Why not say that there was an accident caused SOLEHY by the stupidity of several men. Just leave out the part about the other ships getting to their rescue in record time, and how everyone was preparde for the disaster, and how not one person lost their life that day.

Ahh forget it, you Doomlits are a lost cause.

-- (The RMS@TB2000. sinks on January 1, 2000), December 19, 1999.

(And while you're at it leave out the fact that I need a spell checker).

-- (maybe@another.day), December 19, 1999.

As I recall the Andrea Doria was the same ship on which my school buddies Mother and Father lost their lives.

Check out http://www.andreadoria.org/Recollections/Rea/Default.htm

-- Mark Hillyard (foster@inreach.com), December 19, 1999.

Great post! The icy waters may freeze the unboated survivors of the wreck faster than anybody thinks.

The ICC thinks it will be watching, but it may sink too.
ICC = Icy Sea, another blatant transparency for those who still have eyes.

-- could be quick (fast@freeze.end), December 19, 1999.

I have been over this before. This analogy works ONLY if used correctly. The people in the lifeboats were NOT "GI"s. They didn't WANT to get on those rickety little boats and get lowered into the freezing water in the middle of the night. they wanted to go back to bed.

There were many wealthy people on the Titanic, but they were a minority of the total people (crew and passengers) aboard. A higher percentage of 1st class passengers survived than any other group of people because they were closest to the lifeboats (third class passengers had to be led through a virtual maze to get from their quarters to the lifeboat deck).

And finally, most of the Titanic "GI"s went down with the ship because they were busy helping the "DGI"s get into lifeboats.

Study some history and learn a lesson.


-- PLEASE!!! (maxcel@swlink.net), December 20, 1999.

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