Discontinue the term "Titanorak", please


RHeld

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Mar 27, 2012
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I've seen the phrase "Titanorak" used here at this forum. I do not wish to be labeled as such because such a term is shallow and superficial, as if the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic was merely a phenomenon of pop culture, not a historical event involving real-life pople that took over a thousand lives and tore apart so many households in Southampton alone relief funds had to be set up because so many sailors who lived there were now dead.

I believe the term "Titanorak" must be discontinued and retired to the breaker's yard of slang; again, this is a historical event we are dealing with, folks, something real, tangible, profound, moving, not some cheap, shallow circus that for some reason has caught hundreds of people's fancy.

Thos who lost their lives a hundred years ago today would appreciate it, IMO.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Language has a life of its own. We might object to its evolutions but we can't stop or change them, and the words and phrases by which others define us must remain their choice, not ours.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I do not wish to be labeled as such because such a term is shallow and superficial, as if the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic was merely a phenomenon of pop culture, not a historical event involving real-life pople that took over a thousand lives and tore apart so many households in Southampton alone relief funds had to be set up because so many sailors who lived there were now dead.<<

Unfortunately Richard, that's exactly how the event and those of us who take an interest in it are seen and there's not one blessed thing we can do about it. Like Bob said, language has a life as it's own, and as Canute went to some pains to point out, you can't sweep back the tide.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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I think I might have been the one who gave this offense in my "comeback" post about the A La Carte restaurant. I did not mean - and I don't think anyone means - anything derogatory or disrespectful by it - as Michael and Bob have pointed out, it's more or less modern shorthand for "People with a greater-than-average interest in RMS Titanic."

I think the fact that most everyone knows what is meant by the term is one of the best memorials the ship and her lost passengers could possibly have. What happened that night in 1912 is engraved on most peoples' consciousness as surely as their own names or birthdates. If the people who died that night were to come back and see these boards, I think they would be very touched that their names are not lost to history and that their deaths contributed to greater safety at sea. Thomas Andrews would be astounded that people here debate if a particular door was actually to be found on B Deck of Titanic, as opposed to Olympic. And he would be stunned at the idea that a film-maker would spend nearly ten times the building cost of all three Olympic-class liners combined to make a movie about Titanic.

And if nothing else, I would a thousand times rather be known as a "Titanorak" than as the Twitter follower who was recently revealed to be absolutely ignorant of the fact that the Cameron movie was based on an actual occurrence. :)

So please - no offense, okay?
 

VillageJen

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Apr 18, 2012
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If the people who died that night were to come back and see these boards, I think they would be very touched that their names are not lost to history and that their deaths contributed to greater safety at sea.
That was beautiful, Sandy. I still pray for the repose of their souls.

I've never heard the term "Titanorak". I think I prefer Titaniac. :rolleyes:
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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Forgive my stupidity but would somebody mind explaining the exact definition of a "Titanorak"? First i've heard of it.

Adam.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Forgive my stupidity but would somebody mind explaining the exact definition of a "Titanorak"? First i've heard of it.<<

It appears to be the new "pop" definition of a Titanic fanatic and is applied to anybody who has an active interest in the ship without bothering to check out whether the person is a "groupie" or a bona fide researcher.

I refuse to get my knickers in a wad over it but I can see why some would be offended by it.
 

Paul Rogers

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Hi Adam.

I think it is based on train-spotters in the UK; a hobby that probably had its peak in the '70s. Such individuals were generally laughed at by, ahem, "normal" members of society. Because train-spotters spent a lot of time outdoors, they wore anoraks: hooded, fur-lined coats designed for the British weather. They were therefore known as "anoraks". The term is, obviously, one of deprecation.**

"Titanorak" is, I think, an amusing variation on the theme. I have always been aware that my interest in the ship is seen by most of my friends and colleagues as a bit weird, and I'm happy to use, and embrace, the term in relation to me. Let's be honest: we're not really completely normal, are we?

**I await Mr Godfrey's full explanation of the term and I would not be surprised to discover that I am completely wrong!
 
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Bob Godfrey

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Always ready to oblige, Paul. The Oxford Dictionary defines anorak as a skin or cloth hooded jacket worn by Eskimos. Clearly then a titanorak is an Eskimo who spends far too time on websites like this one. With a view to political correctness, I should point out that the vast majority of Eskimos have a perfectly normal range of interests (family, work, football etc) and know very little about the Titanic, though most could teach us all a thing or two about icebergs.

Or you might prefer the explanation offered in this thread: https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/forums/general-titanica/8182-titanorak.html
 

Adam Went

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Thank you all very much for the explanation of exactly what a "Titanorak" is. Personally I can't understand how it is offensive, purely based on the fact that many groups have nicknames like that. I am a "Ripperologist" as well, and we freely use that term within the field as well as outsiders using it. Would much rather "Titanorak" to "maritime enthusiast".
 

Bob Godfrey

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Doesn't bother me, either. Sticks and stones, and all that. But, Adam, Ripperologist sounds very respectable. Maybe too respectable - 'one who studies, or takes an academic interest in the Ripper'. Would you not more accurately be termed a Ripperaniac (ie a maniac obsessed with the Ripper) or Ripperanorak (no definition required). :D
 

Adam Went

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Bob:

It is rather a respectable name for a not so respectable topic, isn't it? "Ripperologist"....sounds like something you could get a university degree in....
 

Bob Godfrey

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I'm thinking there might be need here for subdivisions. Historians who take a purely academic interest in the ship can be called Titanicologists. People who develop an obsessive level of emotional involvement are the Titaniacs. The 'rivet counters' who develop a consuming interest in technical minutiae are the Titanoraks. Clinical psychologists who study Titanic enthusiasts are of course Titaniacologists or Titanorakologists depending on their chosen field of specialism.
 

Bob Godfrey

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And of course partners, parents, offspring, school friends, work colleagues, pub customers and other unfortunates drawn into close but unwilling association with any of the above will invariably develop Titaniphobia.
 

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