What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Titanic? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
Directed by: James Cameron
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane
Production Co: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Paramount Pictures, Lightstorm Entertainment
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Titanic’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling
Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Titanic, the money-printing global phenomenon written and directed by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The film tells the story of an intrepid treasure hunter on a very important search for a lost doodad. Instead, all he finds is an artist’s rendering of said doodad, with a human female added for scale. Our hero tracks down the female and bothers her until she tells him the story of her scariest vacation ever.
The story goes like this: a teenager named Rose gets on a big boat with her fiance, Cal, because somehow, after billions of years of existence, this is Earth’s fastest mode of transportation. Rose isn’t sure about the whole marriage thing, so on a lark she decides to kill herself instead. This attracts the attention of Jack, the lifeguard, who tells her no running on the deck.
Jack sketches Rose wearing her little trinket, which is not considered an act of war on Earth, and Rose repays the favor by inviting him to the sauna. Suddenly, just when you think the boat isn’t going to hit an iceberg, it totally does.
As the boat is sinking, Rose runs to find Jack and ask if he has any more lifeguarding tips. Cal gives chase with a gun and shoots at them, since this was before women were legally allowed to swim. But that gets old after a while, so he gives up and kidnaps a child.
The boat breaks in half, and everyone jumps in the water.
Cannonball! Jack helps Rose onto a piece of wood — fellas, you know what I’m talkin’ about — then tells her never to leggo her Eggo. I forget what happens to him after that. Once on shore, Rose gives the authorities a fake name and abandons her family. The treasure hunter calls off the search because the story took too long, and Rose takes out the thingamajig and throws it away.
Titanic can be seen as a referendum on humanity’s hubris, which history has proven to be apocalyptic. With this great ship, mankind believes it has achieved mastery over nature. But when the ship sinks, it serves as a microcosm of a doomed, and ultimately pointless society. Ironically, the name “Titanic” refers to the Titans of Greek mythology, a race of superbeings who fought the Gods and got their superbutts handed to them.
Humanity was also arrogant about money, a transactional placeholder with no inherent value. Money is the thing that allows Caledon to “always win.” He goes so far as to attempt a deal with one of the lifeboat captains, but the captain throws the money in his face, also known as “making it rain.” In the end, Old Rose says Caledon eventually copied her idea and killed himself after he lost everything in America’s first of 33 Great Depressions. If the Titanic represents the rigid, seemingly unbreakable social caste of American living, then its destruction signals the end of days.
And indeed, class does play an important part in the film.
The first-class passengers consider themselves superior to the unwashed
masses on the lower decks, thanks to their plentiful supply of Axion Body Spray. Conversely, Jack is the human equivalent of pond scum. In other words, human. He is not deemed fit to occupy Rose’s part of the boat, nor is he deemed fit to occupy Rose’s parts.
These differences are made apparent in the two party scenes. The poor passengers get buck wild and dance to sweaty Top 40 club traxx, whereas the rich smoke cigars and sip brandy while listening to NPR. The film presents a stark juxtaposition between the life-affirming vitality of working class life and the soulless, pompous fartknockery of the rich.
Slavoj Zizek, a Marxist philosopher, culture critic, and intergalactic playboy, offers a different take. He says Titanic is not about the nobility of the poor vs. the cruelty of the rich – it’s actually pure exploitation of the downtrodden. Rose is a spoiled rich girl in the midst of a high-Bourne identity crisis. Jack serves as a “vanishing mediator,” who restores her purpose in life and is then free to disappear like so many rabbits in so many hats.
His last words are not those of a
lover, but rather sage advice from some sort of guidance counselor. Rose discards him after the ordeal is over, returning to her aristocratic life as a stock photo model.
Zizek offers another, bolder take that casts the iceberg as the hero of the story. Kate says she will leave with Jack when they reach New York, casting aside her wealth in favor of love and decent slice of ‘za. But as they grow to heart NY, will they continue to heart each other? The iceberg, it seems, arrives in order to prevent the true catastrophe, wherein the hardships of everyday life would surely erode their union. So in a sense, it preserves the illusion of their “happily ever after.” And if “happily ever after” isn’t what it’s all about, what is? Respect? Fame? Power? Ok, sure.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Goodbye.