What formed your opinions


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Jan 30, 2005
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Warning: Nosy newbie questions ahead.
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When you first encountered the various Titanic-related controversies, how did your own opinions form? Did your beliefs develop gradually, or was there a particular "Aha!" moment when things fell into place for you? Did you ever think the opposite of what you do now? Do you investigate these issues out of a feeling of anger, sadness, affection, or pure curiosity? Did your opinions begin with admiration or dislike for an individual involved in the events, or with interest in a particular group, such as crew members or steerage passengers? Do you just examine the data and choose the position that seems most probable? What pieces of testimony, personal accounts, and research works have influenced you the most, and what did you think while reading them for the first time? How do your personality, life experiences, and general background affect your views? When weighing other people's arguments, what makes you prefer one to the other? Do you pay particular attention to tone, use of sources, logical organization of ideas, or what? In short, where are you coming from? I can find topics here on most major issues, from mystery ships to helm orders to treatment of the third class, but I'd really like to know...how it began for everyone, I guess; what different people's thought processes are like. In some cases, that interests me more than the arguments themselves.

-Kate
 
Jun 11, 2000
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Phew, Kate. Not asking much, are you?
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I am sure others will have much more sensible answers than me, but here goes.

I bought my father ANTR for Christmas about 12 years ago - the illustrated version. I don't think he ever read it. But I did, about 5 years ago whilst staying with him for Christmas, and got really hung up on stupid details - like how many eggs went to the bottom. Not very serious-minded.

Then, about three years ago, some Events Management students in my College where I teach wanted to stage a Titanic charity ball ( a la Cameron's film) and wanted to re-create the Grand Staircase in the College hall ... didn't seem a very good idea to me. I suggest a ceilidh, like the 3rd class party, might be more achievable, and I researched the Net to help them. And I found ET, and discovered more than I ever expected. I still do not consider myself an expert on the Titanic, but have learned huge amounts, and had a very good time on the site as well.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
To most of the above, I would have to answer both yes and no. I've had a few "Ah-Ha's" here and there but most of my own opinions were formed by way of research as well as reading a lot of the discussions here on the board as well as attending some tech gatherings.

Yes, a number of my opinions have changed over the years. I suppose it's unavoidable if you're interested enough to take a hard and critical look at these events. Some of my own views are also coloured by the fact that I'm a retired sailor. That much helps give me an occasional insight or two that others just might miss. Seems a fair trade considering how I've benefited from the insights of others over things that I've missed.
 
Jan 30, 2005
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It is a lot of questions. Don't worry, though; I was trying to give examples of what I meant by "where you're coming from," not to make everyone answer every single question.
As for me...
Since I'm 18, still in high school, and know next to nothing about ships, I have to rely on other people's expertise quite a lot. My interest is more in the people than the technical matters, so
I'm sort of impressionistic when I go through arguments about helm orders, ship positions, and the like. Tone is important to me- I'm turned off by arrogance, over-certainty, emotionalism, and moralizing, since these tend to make me think that the writer has some odd personal agenda. I listen to whoever seems most calm and balanced. It's not an ideal way to form opinions- tone doesn't necessarily determine correctness- but I just don't have enough knowledge in that area to decide based on the facts themselves.
One of my favorite activities is reading through primary sources, trying to separate the truths from the myths, and guessing who the unnamed people are in various accounts. I like to trace people, to theorize about what happened to them. Where was this girl last seen? Why didn't this family get into a lifeboat? Was this guy telling the truth about being saved from the water? Was this shooting incident real? Etc. I feel more equipped to draw my own conclusions about things like that.
Other than problems of "youth and inexperience," I find that a fondness for the crew and a sort of complacent suburban mindset give me trouble in recognizing whitewashing when I see it. (I've been reading the British Inquiries for the first time, and I think I identify with Lord Mersey a bit too often.) I guess I have a soft spot for crewmen because they were expected to be professional, to take care of the passengers, do their duty without complaint...so it's more fascinating when their individuality and personal feelings show. I'm weirdly phobic about moral judgment, so I'm the type to say "He was a nice guy who made some mistakes," "They did their best," "Can't blame him for wanting to survive," and that sort of thing. Sometimes I'm guilty of emotionalism myself- feeling sorry for George Symons, for instance. (He *does* look like a kid in those pictures.) Most of my non-Titanic interests fall into the realm of fiction and fandom rather than history and research, so I have some of that "fangirl" mentality.
I'm an unusually studious fangirl or an unusually fangirlish student- that's about it in a nutshell.

-Kate
 
Jun 12, 2004
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For me, it was a gradual thing, learning bit by bit and assimilating new information and insights which have developed and altered my perspective over time, but there were a few "ahas!" too, both from interacting with people here and from reading. Titanic just has that kind of effect on me. ;)
 
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