(I thought it might be best to get this out of the way of the aft boiler room discussion.)
>>But why has this particular one, "Catatonic," or "Zombie" Smith, become so entrenched? I've heard it endorsed from novices all the way up to the sound bites of a few historians who surely should know better.<<
>>A good question, and I'm not sure I can answer that. Perhaps there's a bit of romanticism involved. All I know for sure is that once these things become entrenched, they're very difficult to root out.<<
Like the "mild" 1912 winter, perhaps? I think we can blame "Lights" for that one.
>>I thought that the "catatonic Smith" legend was started by eyewitnesses, that several people saw him in that state that night. Guess I was wrong!<<
Tammy, my feeling is it was started by some historian who noticed that Smith was absent from the boat deck at certain times. Also, that Lightoller went to him for support when he felt Wilde was becoming a bottleneck. Why wasn't Smith barking out orders?? Well, he *must* have been in "shock." ...That sort of thing. And that's the way he was pictured in Cameron's film, by an actor (Hill) who is marvelous at playing world-weary characters.
But when you start compiling survivors' memories, you find Smith was here, there, everywhere, and anything but an inactive participant. Whatever pangs he may have been feeling inside, he didn't let them get to him while there was still work to be done.
[Moderator's Note: This message, originally posted to a new thread, has been moved to this pre-existing one addressing the same subject. MAB]