Dear old Titanic

Good old Vision Forum and Doug Phillips and the bedbug-crazy idea that the Titanic is a Christian morality tale about men protecting women and children.

They’re having an Event. The whole thing was so much fun, you see, that they need to throw a party to celebrate it.

This April, the attention of the world will focus on the 100-year anniversary of the second-most famous ship in world history—the R.M.S Titanic. Next to Noah’s Ark, no other seagoing vessel has captured the imagination of so many. Certainly no event in history has done more to remind Western culture of the Christian doctrine of “women and children first.”

Christian? Doctrine? Who says? Where?

And what does he mean “first”? First to go to school? First at university? First hired? First promoted? First to inherit? First mentioned? First rewarded? First encouraged to be ambitious?

No, actually, he means “last” for all of those, when he doesn’t mean “never.”

But only one international event will be dedicated to presenting a distinctively Christian message with a historical interpretation designed to inspire the next generation to embrace and advance the ideal that men should sacrifice for women and children.

Today, Vision Forum Ministries and the Christian Boys’ and Men’s Titanic Society are pleased to invite you to join us for the Titanic 100: An International Centennial Event—the family event of the year. The Titanic 100 is a living history, home education, commemorative experience, replete with dramatic performances, music of the 1912 era, stirring messages, costume events, stories your children will remember, an interactive journey through the greatest Titanic museum in the world, and a fabulous anniversary banquet cruise on a steamer (that we hope will not sink), as we remember the 100-year anniversary of the R.M.S. Titanic.

Every element of the Titanic 100 is designed to leave your family with stories they will retain for the rest of their lives, inspiring them to remember the heroism of the past and to embrace a fundamental principle of Christian civilization—that women and children are to be honored and protected.

And excluded. Don’t forget excluded. The price of being “honored and protected” is being excluded.

Vision Forum is all about turning women and girls into pseudo-Victorian angels in the house who do nothing beyond the domestic. Vision Forum attempts to train women to be limited and dependent, so that they need protection instead of being able to take care of themselves.

The Duggars enacted this on their “Look At All These Children!” show this season. “The men” all went off for a camping trip while the feeble females all stayed home. It was never discussed, it was just announced – Jim Bob and the boys go camping, Michelle and the girls don’t. I kept wondering. Did any of the girls want to go? Did any of the boys want not to go? Did anybody have any option? It seemed so rude, excluding each other that way. It reminded me of a time my sister’s husband decided to take one of his kids to work and leave the other behind. He took the boy, who was younger, and left the girl. She wanted to go too; she cried. He explained, “this is just for the men, sweety.” I felt murderous. (He’s a lawyer, by the way, not a lumberjack or a coal miner. It wasn’t obviously “just for the men” in any sense. He just meant he didn’t want any stinkin’ girls messing up his fun.)

Once Jim Bob and the boys had finished camping, Jim Bob had a Good Idea: they would all take Michelle and the girls flowers, to show them how special they are. So off they went to the flower store, and each boy chose a flower for a particular sister, and they went home and handed them out. It was gross. The males all went off and had an adventure and the females all had to stay behind, and then the males came back and passed out a patronizing little prezzy for each captive.

And then there’s the matter of class, as Julie Ingersoll points out.

As is often the case with “providential history,” the actual history is distorted to tell make specific theological points. This time what is missing is real history that an equally important criteria for access to lifeboats, and thereby survival, was the price of one’s ticket. Phillips says:

If numbers prove anything, it’s that 71% of the survivors were passengers and 29% were crew, and that in raw numbers, almost as many Third Class (174) passengers survived as did a First Class (202) and crew (212)… Other than “Women and Children first,” there wasn’t any attempt to save one class of passengers over another.

Raw numbers? Really? By percentage, twice as many women in third class died as did women in first class; children in first class had nearly three times the survival rate of those in third. One would only use “raw numbers” if one was trying to make a point not supported by the numbers.

Shut up and have a daisy.



  1. MosesZD says

    Poor Jill is has an I. D. 10 T. problem and should read up on what happened. She’d come to a far different conclusion.

    Anyway, one one my interests since childhood has been maritime disasters. The Titanic, the Indianapolis, Edmund Fitzgerald to name some of the more famous ones. But far more than that.

    First of all, exodus for the third class was extremely difficult. Maritime laws were such that there was only one, long and labyrinthhian exit from 3rd class to the upper decks where the lifeboats were. This was to keep the emmigrants in 3rd class from avoiding quarantine when the came to the US. It was SOP that the passengers would not be informed to this route to the lifeboat deck.

    That meant the crew had to go down and lead parties back to the surface. Which they did! The crew, by-and-large, was pretty damn heroic. However, one of the biggest problems the crew faced was the largely Catholic 3rd class was advised by the Catholic preachers to pray for a miricle and trust in God. So they laid down, did what they were told by the preachers, and they died. Auguste Wennerstrom, a third-class passenger who survived the sinking recounted it:

    “Hundreds were in a circle with a preacher in the middle praying, crying, asking God and Mary to help them. They lay there, still crying, till the water was over their heads. They just prayed and yelled, never lifting a hand to help themselves. They had lost their own willpower and expected God to do all their work for them.”

    American Inquiry 1210-45, New York Sun 22 April 1912 is one of many sources to report that quote. There are others.

    In short, and with proofs not otherwise presented, the BS class-warfare bullshit of the movies never happened. The passengers weren’t locked in. The crew did their best to rescue them. Sometimes threatening them with guns or beating them to try to get them up on deck. After some point in time, no further 3rd class would come up, so they stopped trying.

    So, in reality, the point is bullshit. People are stupid to rely on movies, like the Titanic which just made crap up, to understand the disaster of the Titanic.

    Those passengers died, not because of the price of their ticket, but because they laid down and they died. They ‘trusted in God.’

    They may have died anyway. But you can’t blame the ticket. You can’t blame the crew. You can point fingers at their religious leaders.

  2. Darkling says

    I always thought the moral to the Titanic was that it went to sea with an insufficient number of life boats.

  3. F says

    You’re looking at it the wrong way. Of course you and your property get out of a potential property-damaging situation before other men. Or away from other men, whichever is relevant.

  4. carpenterman says

    It should be no surprise that a religion that is quite literally built on veneration for a man’s death should be so fascinated with the Titanic tragedy. I suppose death worship is like any addiction… over time, you need a bigger and bigger fix to get the same rush.

  5. smrnda says

    Here’s the problem with ‘protection.’ I don’t want to need to be protected. I mean, if a guy offers to ‘walk me home’ rather than me walk by myself, the message I’m getting is ‘three women walk alone and they will be harassed or attacked. If a guy walks with one woman she’ll be left alone since guys don’t want to mess with some other man’s possible property. At least decent guys I know admit this – one said ‘a guy won’t say, sexually harass a woman in public if she’s accompanied by a man since the man since the man you’re walking with has a chance of coming away looking ‘better’ than the guys who are going to yell something at you, and the creeps and pervs don’t want to have a moment where some other man might be talking to a woman about ‘those creeps and losers’ who are harassing you.

    The other deal is sometimes ‘protection’ is just ‘let’s persuade you you can’t do anything and that we need to do it for you, and then you will be grateful to us!’ I can touch a doorknob and pick up a box, but the ‘chivalrous’ man will do those things since it comes with this expected payback. Your take on the Duggar’s camping trip seems to prove that. The girls get excluded and somehow are shown that their value lies in their willingness to be excluded. “Wow, we got flowers!” I mean, what sort of limited, sheltered existence does a girl have to lead not to feel ripped off by that?

  6. Jeff Sherry says

    Can’t wait for the Vision Forum to throw an anniversary party for the Donner Pass party and the Christian vitues that can be teased out for remembrance.

  7. Al says

    I suspect that a lot more disasters involved “Every man for himself and Deil tak the hindmost” than “Women and Children first”, but the latter should probably be more associated with HMS Birkenhead than RMS Titanic.

    Although the men on the Birkenhead were under orders, and permitted to swim for it once the boats were loaded…

  8. sailor1031 says

    “Certainly no event in history has done more to remind Western culture of the Christian doctrine of “women and children first.”

    I scanned my NT but couldn’t find a reference to the Titanic anywhere. Nor could I find a reference to women and children being first. Nor can I find it anywhere else in xtian scripture – not even in Leviticus and Deuteronomy where just about every conceivable, and inconceivable, rule is spelled out. I’m with Al – refer to the story of HMS Birkenhead. It’s just the same old lies where the xtians take credit for anything deemed to be good, no matter what its basis. while anything bad is the fault of those atheists.

    In general the Titanic episode seems to have been one big clusterfuck from the beginning decision not to have enough lifeboats. I guess Titanic passengers were also free to swim for it though in April in North Atlantic waters life expectancy wasn’t but a few minutes……I understand the swimmers from the Birkenhead were off the coast of Africa so life expectancy was much longer and some got to shore – though there were sharks!

  9. Dianne says

    I always thought the moral to the Titanic was that it went to sea with an insufficient number of life boats.

    I kind of think the moral of the Titanic is “don’t go out to see with a bunch of rich people: they’ll screw you at the first opportunity.” None of the lifeboats were full. Only one turned back to pick up survivors. And that one was one of those launched from second class.

  10. Didaktylos says

    Another factor in the Titanic disaster was the lack of lifeboat drills for the passengers and crew. Theoretically specific Titanic crew members were assigned to specific boats as lead oarsmen – but half of them didn’t know this because they had never practised. More boats could actually have been launched if more crewmen had known to report to their assigned stations. There was at least one male passenger who was allowed on to a lifeboat by Second Officer Lightoller that was short of oarsmen because he was an experienced yacht sailor.

  11. Scote says

    Women and children first in the Bible? I don’t recall that, but I do recall god commanding his Chosen People to murder of all the boy children and all the non virginal women of their conquered foes…Hmm… Perhaps that is what the Christians meant by women and children first?

  12. yoav says

    Scote #12 beat me to it, the closest the buybull get to women and children first is that female children get the awesome opportunity to become sex slaves instead of get murdered on the spot.

  13. lordshipmayhem says

    Modern-day mariners ignore the “women and children first” crap because they’ve learnt that it’s easier on everyone if you try to keep family groups together. The grief and fear is lowered, the cooperation is heightened and the post-disaster confusion is lessened by mothers, fathers and kids all being together. Witness the lifeboat loading on the Coasta Concordia.
    Even so, let’s see what George Bernard Shaw has to say about the romantic wheeze of “women and children first”. He isn’t very complementary.

    Why is it that the effect of a sensational catastrophe on a modern nation is to cast it into transports, not of weeping, not of prayer, not of sympathy with the bereaved nor congratulation of the rescued, not of poetic expression of the soul purified by pity and terror, but of a wild defiance of inexorable Fate and undeniable Fact by an explosion of outrageous romantic lying?
    What is the first demand of romance in a shipwreck? It is the cry of Women and Children First. No male creature is to step into a boat as long as there is a woman or child on the doomed ship. How the boat is to be navigated and rowed by babies and women occupied in holding the babies is not mentioned. The likelihood that no sensible woman would trust either herself or her child in a boat unless there was a considerable percentage of men on board is not considered. Women and Children First: that is the romantic formula. And never did the chorus of solemn delight at the strict observance of this formula by the British heroes on board the Titanic rise to more sublime strains than in the papers containing the first account of the wreck by a surviving eye-witness, Lady Duff Gordon. She described how she escaped in the captain’s boat. There was one other woman in it, and ten men: twelve all told. One woman for every five men. Chorus: “Not once or twice in our rough island history,” etc. etc.

  14. says

    in raw numbers, almost as many Third Class (174) passengers survived as did a First Class (202) and crew (212)…

    Which is a compelling argument, until you remember that there were about three times as many third class passengers than first class passengers.

  15. Pierce R. Butler says

    Noah, according to the story, didn’t take a single human child aboard his ark (his 3 sons and their wives – whatever their putative ages – being old enough to marry, were presumably past their culture’s yardstick of maturity).

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