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Titanic: Is Cashing in on Tragedy a Bad Thing?

Posted on the 11 April 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Titanic: Is cashing in on tragedy a bad thing? Er, probably

Poster for the brand spanking new 3D version of Titanic

The anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is almost upon us. The ship that so famously smashed into an iceberg on 15th April 1912 has now spawned a whole industry around it. James Cameron is re-releasing his film, called, er, Titanic – in glorious 3D. (Check out a spoof trailer for the film here on Mashable, featuring sea monsters.) Even Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes is at it, with his mini-series, called, er, imaginatively enough, Titanic. Also, one of the Bee Gees (Robin Gibb, if you must know) has apparently released a concept album about the sinking. So there you go.  You can also get a Titanic hamper.

A ship has set sail in order to commemorate the sinking of the Titanic – the MS Balmoral  – but The Daily Telegraph  reported that it had to turn back, after a BBC cameraman suffered a heart attack – though it’s apparently on course again. The liner is carrying 1,309 passengers – exactly the same number as were on the original ship – although those original passengers probably didn’t have to shell out £8,000 for their passage, as those on MS Balmoral did. It also features descendants of survivors of the tragedy. The ship met with bad weather as it reached Ireland. The Daily Mail was pretty blasé: “Perhaps they should have expected bad luck when they decided to cruise the same route as the Titanic to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its sinking.”

This just got real. Meanwhile, in Richmond, Vancouver, in Canada, you can buy memorabilia from the wreck – it’s the “biggest sale ever” of relics, said the Edmonton Journal. 5,000 objects are up for grabs, including a deck chair and a bit of the vessel’s hull.  You’d better get in there quickly – Scientists say that the wreck is being eaten away by iron-munching microbes. Still, at least the people at the auction there (and the microbes) have a basic grasp of history – unlike some poor saps, as reported by The Washington Post, who tweeted that they didn’t know that Titanic hadn’t been made up by James Cameron. Check out their surprise here.

Bad taste, anyone? Hadley Freedman on The Guardian was shocked by the whole thing – having descendants of the survivors on board MS Balmoral doesn’t make it “any less tacky.” She suggested that instead of going on a cruise, you might want to invest in a Titanic hamper – “which includes plenty of Titanic-branded booze and a Titanic tea towel. Extra absorbent, no doubt.” More seriously, she said that it was the Titanic’s luxury that made its end so shocking – and so for “overpriced wares to be hawked in its name … is even more clunkingly ironic than any of the heavy-handed lines from various Titanic movies.”

Just don’t try to reenact THAT scene. Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton was a little more cheerful about MS Balmoral: “Trying to reach the site of Titanic’s sinking by 2:20am on April 15 may be a bit tricky now… but we have our fingers crossed! We just hope there won’t be any late-night lovebirds making a scene on deck and keeping the lookout preoccupied! ;)”

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