" I am apalled by the people, including Ballard, who believe the artifacts should go back down to the ocean floor. That's destructive, and eliminates future generations from seeing these pieces as they were recovered. I don't buy the bull story that "we don't need to recover more artifacts, it just happened recently... It's not as if Titanic sank hundreds of years ago". Well friends, my great-great, etc., grandchildren WILL say that the Titanic sank hundreds of years ago. Then they'll ask why more things weren't brought up. Are we so busy stating what WE want here that we fail to think "long term" or "future generations"? "
That's a very interesting point. I'll raise one along different lines. How come no one bothered to find out what the generation that lived with this would have wanted when Titanic Ventures/RMSTI starting raising items in 1987?
It was not in the name of future generations, it was about making money for people who declared themselves the guardian of this ship who had no more right to it than anyone on this message board.
It was very nice that some of the survivors had items returned to them. I wonder if they wanted them taken from the grave site of their relatives or what the families of these people today would prefer for the ships future?
No one stopped to ask.
The questions will continue about what RMSTI will be allowed to do with it's collection.
James Cameron's movie proved Titanic can be basically recreated for future generations without anything brought up.
Somewhere maybe what WE want is not as important.
I'm just not sure if it's time to look back before looking ahead.
"How come no one bothered to find out what the generation that lived with this would have wanted when Titanic Ventures/RMSTI starting raising items in 1987?"
Sentiment was split, though it was the anti-salvor side that shamefully attempted to paint a false picture of survivor sentiment being unanimous on their side and this led to some shabby disregard for those who praised the recovery of artifacts. The division of opinion on this matter only demonstrated to me that using survivor sentiment could not serve as the be-all, end-all justification for or against salvage.
"It was not in the name of future generations, it was about making money."
If the motive was about "making money" then the artifacts would have been put up on the auction block the day after they were recovered. I think that is a bogus argument.
"James Cameron's movie proved Titanic can be basically recreated for future generations without anything brought up."
And I say baloney to that. The idea that fake recreations from what I felt was a bad movie (but that's another thread) will never compare to the awe I felt when after 20 years of Titanic study I saw things from the actual ship for the first time with my own eyes. I think the idea that bad Hollywood movies should be our legacy to future generations about history is laughable.
Profit for motive? I believe that Mr.Tulloch specifically stated that these Titanic artifacts were never going to be put up for sale or auction.
Considering the high cost of the recovery and restoration, the price of admission to see these artifacts must barely pay anything.
Artifacts belong in museums, not on the ocean floor where only the rich can afford to go see them, or by people like Ballard to video tape and show us 4 minutes of it during an hour show.
Besides, I have seen the National Geographic Magazine with articles and photos of personal artifacts recovered from General Custers last stand! How is that different? Is a skull plate with a hole from an arrow considered less personal than a piece of Spode China from the Titanic?
The comments over the last few days have prompted me to add a few words of my own. I have an enormous respect for all of the thoughts that have been shared to this point.
We tend to look at the Titanic and the controversies surrounding the expeditions from a context of "what so-and-so didn't do" or "what this group is doing wrong". I try to be as objective as possible when I study the Titanic, as I have no affiliation with any particular group.
Eric, we like to use the term "laughable" when we don't agree with somebody's comment. (It's not just you). I'd like to use this term as an example. I'm known as a Titanic "geek" to my friends. I've only been studying the facts of the Titanic for the last year, but my friends think I'm obsessed with the wreck. This is "laughable" for them.
Ken Marschall has referred to himself as a rivet counter. This is laughable for many people who consider the Titanic as nothing more than an obsession...but who has the last laugh when one of Ken's paintings are sold?
The idea that James Cameron's movie as the Titanic Legacy may indeed by laughable but it's success as a money maker can not be argued. It's success propelled the design of two ROV's that could travel inside the wreck and film areas of the ship that had never before been seen.
I do not have the facts in front of me, but what of the sales of RMSTI before and after the movie was released? My guess would be that the real money maker for RMS Titanic Inc. would be the gift shop, where you can find many fine replicas of dishes, posters, games....and you guessed it..."the heart of the ocean".
I approve of salvage because, like many of you, I am fascinated by the actual ship and it's contents. However, we must respect the wishes of those survivors who wished the wreck to be left alone. I don't believe Eva Hart criticized salvaging the wreck of "the Titanic" but the wreck of her father's grave. We must be sensitive to those wishes when choosing which items to salvage. Is there a book or transcript that tells us what each survivor's feelings were toward salvaging artifacts? If we can't use survivor sentiment as an "end-all justification" then what measurement shall we use?
Finally, RMSTI is listed as a FOR PROFIT organization...and they DID try to sell artifacts a few years ago and the judge stopped the sale from happening. The reasons for the attempted sale are up for debate...but let's not say that "it's not about making money". Whether you're Ballard, Cameron, or those involved in RMSTI, it's about making money.
I've been working on this message in between work so I'm sorry if my thoughts are incomplete or scattered. Again, I appreciate your commentary. I'd like to hear more from those of you who have studied the wreck for so many years.
>>James Cameron's movie proved Titanic can be basically recreated for future generations without anything brought up.<<
I suspect that Rose DeWitless Bucolic just might say "Horsehockley!" to that one.
Seriously, I have to agree with Eric's points on this even if we don't quite see eye to eye on the quality of the film itself. Good, bad, or indifferent, it was and remains entertainment aimed at a 1990's era audience and spoke to 1990's attitudes. While the sets were well done even if not always accurate, there was hardly anything about it which can be called a faithful re-creation of 1912. It certainly isn't history.
In fairness to James Cameron, I don't think he had a lot of wiggle room on this as he had an obligation to the backers of the production to offer a product that would turn a profit for the investors, and he did so at quite a risk to his career. If this very expensive production had bombed, he would have been laughed right out of Tinseltown never to work again. He certainly would never have been able to make Ghosts of the Abyss which stands head and shoulders above the rest as the most thorough internal survey of the wreck done by anyone.
With regard to the gift shop making revenue for RMSTI, if the Science Museum shop was any indication, then it hardly ever reached its sale prediction of several thousand pounds per day, and this was despite its large range of good quality products (books, DVDs, prints) and tat (yes, "The Heart of the Ocean"!)
" If the motive was about "making money" then the artifacts would have been put up on the auction block the day after they were recovered. I think that is a bogus argument."
Mr Paddon, from day one this was described as an
" exciting business venture. "
The history from Joslyn's sad show to coal/boxer shorts/diving for diamonds ect has been well documented over the years. It also paid for some positive things that were done, all of them which had nothing to do with salvage.
" The idea that fake recreations from what I felt was a bad movie (but that's another thread) will never compare to the awe I felt when after 20 years of Titanic study I saw things from the actual ship for the first time with my own eyes."
It all depends on your perspective, I guess.
Titanic to me will never be about I or ME, but them as in the folks who lived with this and their relatives today and beyond who will always live with this. I'm nobody in this so for me recreations (some even from the same companies that built Titanic) are good enough.
And all of us can always see these things on the ocean floor.
"Mr Paddon, from day one this was described as an
" exciting business venture.""
And from day one the pledge was not to sell artifacts recovered, but to make them available to the people to see, for which they came through and delivered.
"It also paid for some positive things that were done, all of them which had nothing to do with salvage."
Bull. The positive thing that came out was that it gave people like me a chance to see the Titanic in a way I'd never seen before, and to above all connect with the ship in a way I'd never done before. And thousands, if not millions of others who had a chance to see these artifacts and be touched by them in a restored setting that can be enjoyed by future generations, came away feeling the same. The emotional reaction I felt upon seeing these artifacts with my own eyes is nonexistent whenever I see murky underwater photos and video of the kind that Ballard believes should be our sole legacy.
"And all of us can always see these things on the ocean floor."
Yeah, if I have a million dollars to put my life at risk in a cramped submersible, I might be able to catch a fleeting glimpse of something that will soon rot and no longer be there. No thank you.
Scott, my use of the term "laughable" in that context applied to something that goes beyond Titanic. I do not think filmed recreations should be our substitute for preservation of actual historic artifacts in any context, especially if the movie doesn't have much else going for it. To me, saying Cameron's movie should be a preferred legacy to actual artifacts would be like saying we should demolish the Texas School Book Depository and just watch "JFK" (a movie that is also great in technical recreations but is filth as history) instead, or if you prefer another analogy, why bother going to the Arizona memorial when you can just watch "Pearl Harbor"?
Eric, as I stated before I agree with you...Titanic as a movie is exactly that...a very silly movie. BUT unlike "Pearl Harbor" or "JFK", this movie propelled the entire world into this "obsession" that has helped increase sales and interest in the very topic that you feel is so important. This website would probably not exist as it is now had the movie not been released. I recently visited the Salt Lake Exhibit and I heard more references to the movie than the actual events that took place. Like it or not, the movie is keeping Titanic interest alive for many people.
Scott, I also want to correct a statement you made earlier, so that you nor other readers have any misconceptions.
"Finally, RMSTI is listed as a FOR PROFIT organization...and they DID try to sell artifacts a few years ago and the judge stopped the sale from happening."
This is not true. As Gavin can attest, along with many of us who have been in these courtrooms, RMST asked the court for the right to sell the artifacts without the approval of the judges in Norfolk. After being denied in Nofolk, the ruling was appealed to Richmond, who did in fact support the ruling of Norfolk. RMST went one step further and appealed to the Supreme Court, but they did not hear the case, thusly confirming the appelate and Norfolk rulings.
The wording of your statement makes it appear as if RMST started a sale, and it was blocked by the court. I have no knowledge that this was even close to happening, both as a Titanic enthusiast and as a shareholder of RMST.
It may be an issue of semantics, but it still is an important perception that should be cleared.
This thread is now changing into the "should we salvage or not?" thread.
Some of you are begrudging investors for trying to get money from their investment. That's strange. I know several people who orginally invested in TVLP, RMSTI's predecessor, who have not received dime one from their investment in over 15 years.
William, please name me one person involved in Titanic since 1985 who hasn't made money off it. Authors, photographers, artists, scientists, exhibition people, merchandise vendors, television companies, IFREMER, the Russians, yes - salvagers, and even Ballard have made money - no, lots of money - off Titanic. Why stop at criticism of the salvagers? Now, before anyone thinks I'm attempting to be critical of any of the groups mentioned above, please understand I'm not being critical. Without each of those groups above, part of this production is incomplete. It's just that some attack the salvagers (basically RMST) and can't see beyond at a larger scope.
Eric, your points are well stated and strongly echoed. When "everyone" can afford to dive to Titanic, then "everyone" can experience and see this wreck as Ballard does. Any rich benefactors want to sponsor me with $35,000 for a dive? LOL!!
Bill, points well taken and I guess I need to rephrase. I understand that RMSTI has not successfully "sold" artifacts and in that respect they have not made a profit. I was speaking from a technical viewpoint. RMSTI profits come from merchandise and ticket sales, which are both taxable and considered profit. Allow me to quote from the Reuters Abridged Business Summary of RMS Titanic Inc:
"RMS Titanic, Inc. has obtained oceanic material and scientific data available in various forms that include still and moving photography and artifacts from the Titanic wreck site and is utilizing this data and artifacts for historical verification, scientific education and public awareness. All these activities are directed toward producing income for the Company resulting from touring exhibitions, television programs and the sale of still photographs. RMS was formed for the purpose of exploring the wreck and surrounding oceanic areas of the Titanic, which sank in 1912, and lies more than 12,500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean." http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=SOST.OB
This has definitely become a "count-counterpoint" thread. I find it interesting indeed how strong your opinions are. Each of you have taken your side and I applaud that. The last thing we need are more fence sitters. From my amateur viewpoint, however, some of the comments from both parties have definitely shown bias. I would personally like to see more actual references in the future when quoting events and statements...(yes yes, including myself...I've been corrected a few times already!)
This site is obviously here for us to form opinions...there is no other "Titanic" forum like this. The best way to communicate the facts is to read them! Many of you have, and I appreciate your commitment to the factual preservation of the Titanic.