I need Help with TITANIC Dummies

Jul 9, 2002
Well all, its happened again! From my reading on the board, I know that this has happened to some of you before. So I am at work the other day, reading my copy of ANTR, smoking a cigarette when two young soldiers walk up and ask what I am reading. "A book about Titanic." I replied. "The movie?" one young guy asked. "No the real ship." I said.

Then it happened.

I heard the words, yet could not believe them.

Bile rose in my throat as I asked him to ask me again what he had just asked.

"That was a real ship?"

Thats right! He had no idea. Thought the movie was entirely made up. And so did his buddy. Two, young, 18 or 19 year old guys, new to the Army, with no idea about one of the defining events of the 20th Century.

And its not the first time either. I think it was Mr. Standart who said on here one time that he had to explain to a co-worker that his copy of the British BOT inquiry was not the novelization of Cameron's movie. Been there, done that! I have actually been looking at wreck photos and had someone ask me where I got pictures of the movie set. I about fainted. People just dont get it. So what I am asking is this. When this happens to you, what do you tell people? Have any funny stories about the Titanic inept? Share them here. Anything else you want to talk about that has to do with this, let us here it. Cheers!
May 8, 2001
Hang in there, Ryan. You did a good deed by spelling it out, and though it can become tiresome, you are knowledgeable, and were there with the correct answers if they asked. You are quite fortunate. Only a few years prior they were in school believing and swooning over Jack, Rose, and Hockley.
(Though I had to laugh at your subject line.)

Tom Pappas

"We're all ignorant, just about different things." - Will Rogers (also attributed to Mark Twain and Yogi Berra)

I daresay there are historical events of vastly greater importance than the loss of R.M.S. Titanic that 99.9% of people are unaware of. For instance: influenza killed 600,000 Americans in the fall of 1918.

Kyrila Scully

Apr 15, 2001
South Florida
My usual retort is to sigh and say one of two phrases: 1) What DID they teach you in school, or 2) I blame the public school system. Either way, public education gets the blame; present company of teachers excepted.


Tom Pappas

Oh, we're supposed to BLAME something!

Okay, I accuse the popular culture which, through the media, and for profit, fill kids' heads with so much cotton candy that there's no room left for good nutrition. It is the responsibility of parents to protect their offspring from the dangerous and destructive forces in the world including (without limitation): child molesters, confidence tricksters, and (most of all by far) commercial television, the animated comic book.

Philo T. Farnsworth, you've got a lot to answer for!

Smith Mize

Dec 20, 2002
Lots of times!

1. One day I'm watching a documentary on the discovery channel. *Door chimes ring*

Me: "Who is it?"
Jennifer: "Jennifer"
Me: "Oh okay come in, the door is open."
Jennifer: (walking in to the den) "Well what was so important that you couldn't come to the door?"
Me: "I'm watching something on the Titanic."
Jennifer: "Oh that looked really good. Is it like the whole movie or is it like how they made it?"
Me: "Neither- it's the real one."
Jennifer: "The real what?"
Me: "The real Titanic."
Jennifer: "That was a real ship?!

She sits down and watches the show. An hour later after it's over she was asking all of these questions that were on the documentary. I said "Didn't you watch the show?" A slow reply: "I thought that was the movie..."

2. I don't go swimming in the summer except on days that swim practice or meets aren't on. So I went to the pool with my family and brought my headphones, a Titanic book and some other things. I sit down and start reading. Nervously I look over to see what my MOTHER'S friend was looking at in my book. Then it happened.

"What's that you're reading, honey"
"Oh, it's a book on the Titanic."
"Well! Those pictures in there look like the screen shots from the movie. They did quite a good job finding a ship that large that sunk! Or did they do that on the computer or something?"
"No, ma'am, these are real photos from the Titanic."
"Was there a ship called the Titanic also?"
"Yes... There was..."
"Was it anything like the one in the movie?"
"Almost accurate."
"I'm impressed, Smiffers (that's the name she's called since forever)! I never there was a real ship!"

Can you believe that?! A woman in her mid-fifties who didn't know that the Titanic was real. Had she forgotten the lessons that someone must've taught her about the Titanic? I certainly hope so. Better she forget than be ignorant for forever...

The slightly irritated,

Smith [email protected]

Lee Gilliland

Feb 14, 2003
My incident about the "real" Titanic was when we were standing in line at the theater to get tickets, and I was saying that I hoped that they did the sinking scene accurately. Little teeny-bopper in front of me turned around and said,"Fine, go ahead and ruin the ending FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET" Emphasis mine. my jaw dropped.

Tom Pappas

I can't tell from here whether the teeny-bopper was serious or not, but I have to admit I've done things like that just for the effect.

Alex McLean

I was watching the movie with a friend of mine, and I was explaining little things along the way, and I stated that Frederick Fleet hung himself from a post in his garden in the 50's, and she told me it was great to have someone who could look at people and decide endings for their lives 'even though they weren't real'. At school the next day, everyone was asking me to make up endings for people that did exist, and eventually, my creative writing teacher put into my report card 'has a great knack for inventing people's lives and including the Titanic in some way'.

Daniel Ehlers

Just a few months ago, in December, I had to choose a nonfiction book to give a presentation on... And I chose "A Night to Remember." At any rate, my Honors English class last semester was very small, with only 14 kids. Anyway, so 13 out of these 14 kids, plus my teacher, had seen the Cameron movie... So after I explained the whole story of Titanic, and the themes that it represented, it was time for questions. And one girl asked me if Rose and Jack were featured in that book. Now this is an Honors English class, so these are, for the most part, pretty intelligent kids. Anyway, I responded by saying "No, they didn't exist." Then, I started talking about Molly Brown and her doings on Lifeboat 6, and then ANOTHER girl asks why I said that she was featured in the book, but not Rose and Jack. After all, they were all movie characters... So, yeah...

Luckily, to save the reputation of my class, there was one girl that asked about the brittle steel theory, and that stuff; at least SOMEONE had a clue about the real Titanic...

Oh, and similar to Lee's story, after my sister saw Titanic for the first time, she told me that her and her best friend were talking about the movie, and how it was so sad that Titanic sinks at the end. And this one guy who KNEW there was a ship called Titanic, said that she "ruined the movie" because he didn't know it sank...
Jul 9, 2002
I have a new one to add! Usually I am doing my reasearching and surfing around the site in the comfort of my own home. Well, due to current world events and the fact that I am still in the Army, I have been spending ALOT of time at work. 12 hour shifts, 5 days a week. Anywho..
So I am reading the boards here and a guy I work with asks what I am looking at. I tell him all about the site and boards. His response to me.....?
"I can't believe this many people are so obsessed with a movie that came out like 5 years ago."
As before, I politely informed him that Titanic was indeed a real ship that real people had died on. He didn't believe me until I showed him some pics of the wreck. It truely is a sad sad day.
Also, I have to agree with Mr. Pappas on the item of there being tons more in History that people are clueless about. As well as Titanic I study quite a bit about World War 2 ETO Operation Overlord Specifically. Remember I am in the Army. I recently had a SOLDIER say to me about the movie "Saving PVT Ryan" ...."Man it would SUCK if you had to take a beach like that in real life!" I replied "I'm sure it sucked for the guys who were really there." ..."It wouldnt suck that bad making a movie."...."I mean the real guys who were at the real Omaha Beach."....."What are you talking about?" I then took around two hours explaining to him that in 1944 the US invaded France and a little while later, ended WW2 and the reign of the Nazi's. A Soldier mind you. Cheers!
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Unfortunately, as poor as history instruction has become in the USA, the movies are often people's first real contact with same. That can make for some interesting and often frustrating conversations for people who actually take the trouble to learn about the past as it really was.
Feb 13, 2002
Kids of today don't even know what albums are. (a kid about 11 or 12 came up to us in a Goodwill once and asked what they were "Are they just posters or what??")

It does kind of suprise me that so many adults have no clue about Titanic.

Was it something you learned about in school? Was it because you picked up a book? (I know some of you read ANTR as young as 9) Did someone tell you about it? I truly don't recall when or how I first heard the story. I don't have any idea if I was told about it or read about it. The one thing I am sure of...it was a couple of decades before "The Movie"

LoL Anybody name a kid after a passenger? I have thought about it.

Anybody up to pen the book "Titanic for Dummies"?
Daniel, that takes the cake! He KNEW there was a Titanic, but didn't know it sunk?

As for adults not knowing...maybe it could have something to do with what part of the world they are from and how important it may have been to those around them. I just happen to have a sad kind of passion for shipwrecks, if I didn't....I might not know either! However I also have a passion for Bogart & Bacall, but it wouldn't suprise me if my 30 year old neighbor had no clue who they were. LoL


Tracy Smith

Nov 5, 2000
South Carolina USA
There is a book out, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Titanic", Stephanie.

I have a "History Dummies" moment that has always boggled my mind. I remember going to a Christmas party in 1980, shortly after the murder of John Lennon. People at the party were talking about this and also about the Beatles in general. I made a comment, saying that I remembered when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. A fifteen year old girl asked me, "Oh! Did they have TV back then?" As an "old lady" of 22 at the time, I sneered at her and said, "Yeah, we had them in our caves; they were made out of granite in those days!"
Feb 13, 2002
Ah...Thanks Tracy!
I stake a claim on my end of the clueless couch!

You might have added...that was when we lived next door to Fred & Wilma. That would have steamed me too!

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
In the US the Titanic became very famous for a while back in 1912 and was then forgotten throughout the BC (Before Cameron) period of history. Not so in the UK, where the basic awareness of Titanic as a huge and luxurious 'unsinkable' ship which hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage became a widespread element of general knowledge and even of folk culture.

I think over the last 4 decades this awareness has been largely due to the success of the film version of ANTR, initially in the cinema and later from repeat showings on TV. In the US the film made little impact on initial release and I would guess that few people (present company excepted) have seen it even on TV. If nothing else, Cameron has finally done for American audiences what ANTR did for the Brits - even if some didn't quite get the point!

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