So there comes a time in life when you find yourself turning it over in your brain… approaching it at different angles… coming up with pithy comebacks several hours after the fact… because what did he mean you’re “too analytical” and “over-analyze”?!?! It’s not like you couldn’t get through a simple late night meal you didn’t need at an IHOP without going on your “Titanic Rant”! It’s not even a rant! It’s a simple, perfectly healthy, rational review of historical fiction that was completely ridiculous!!!!!!!
Seriously. That internal monologue totally happened when Jay interrupted someone to say “DO NOT get her started on Titanic“, because…
I’ll open with a disclaimer. On the surface, Titanic is an enjoyable watch. It’s a cute love story with a strong female lead. It’s too damned long, but I have no attention span for movies and television anyway, as I only watched half the last episode of Vampire Diaries, before I turned off the T.V. to read. My appreciation for this movie, however, is with zero analysis and I have it on good authority that I’m incapable of such a feat. End Disclaimer.
Rose would not have spoken to Jack. She wouldn’t have had the chance to do so. She was betrothed to a very powerful man and likely would not have been left alone long enough for her pretend suicide attempt, let alone the many touching moments that followed. Had the former even occurred, Jack would’ve been arrested and immediately hauled away from her when it appeared she’d been attacked. They wouldn’t have waited around to hear the explanation of a hysterical female. He touched a very wealthy man’s fiance and would pay for it. The movie ends and it’s bloody.
Let’s go ahead and allow them to meet, though. Maybe 17-year-old (they discussed University) Rose really is left alone long enough to threaten to fling herself from the boat and gets the attention she is clearly seeking. This was 1912, ya’ll. Women didn’t talk to strange men and no one married for love anyway, especially not the rich. They hardly do that today. They married for social and economic standing. The end. There were two classes back then: upper and lower. The modern day middle class did not rise until the mid-forties.* Rose would’ve been choosing between extreme wealth and extreme poverty and she wasn’t exactly a low-maintenance gal. Furthermore, by choosing the latter, she was dooming her mother to it, too. The woman wasn’t exaggerating when she asked Rose if she’d like to see her reduced to working as a seamstress. This was backbreaking, 16-hours a day, may or may not get paid and still won’t be able to eat, work. It was some of the only work available to women and they still couldn’t survive on it.* All because Rose wanted a little more excitement? Rose was a strong and feisty woman by 1997’s standard, but by 1912’s, she was a selfish brat with no loyalty to her mother, who did all she could to raise her, send her to the best schools, and hide the fact that the money was gone, so she could procure a nice man to take care of her, because women couldn’t provide for themselves.
This brings us to the men: Jack and Cal. Jack was a homeless man. You can put whatever spin on it you like, but the man was a vagrant and a moocher.
“Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people.” – Jack Dawson*
Had she ended up with him, she’d have eventually been the wife of a factory worker, dreaming of the days when life wasn’t so grueling.
Cal, however, was quite the catch for the time period. He was classically handsome, wealthy, and frankly, he put up with a lot of shit from Rose, because he actually loved her. So, he ordered for her at dinner. It was 1912! That was commonplace and no one would’ve thought anything of it, including Rose. He bought her the paintings he hated, paid a man the equivalent of $476.19* today for saving her life, and gave her a diamond that explorers still coveted 85 years later. That’s more than pretty much all women of the day could ask.
“There’s nothing I couldn’t give you. There’s nothing I’d deny you if you would not deny me. Open your heart to me, Rose.” – Cal Hawkley*
I mean, the man only hit her once and it was for cheating on him. That’s really quite the show of self-control by today’s standards. Statistically speaking, Jack would’ve hit her far more, due to economic standing and because she was impossible.* I mean, the woman told penis jokes at a formal dinner. That’s disgusting in 2013, let alone 101 years ago.
“Do you know of Dr. Freud, Mr. Ismay? His ideas about the male preoccupation with size might be of particular interest to you.” – Rose DeWitt Bukater*
So, Rose ends up with the millionaire. The movie ends and it’s bloody.
“He married, of course. And inherited his millions. But the crash of ’29 hit his interests hard, and he put a pistol in his mouth that year. Or so I read.” Rose Calvert, 1997*
Rose never would’ve spoken to Jack and she never would’ve chosen Jack, but let’s just say she did. The events progress exactly as they did in the movie and the ship is sinking and she chooses to risk death with a drifter, all for the sake of luuuuuuv. They’re in ice cold water and the lifeboats aren’t willing to rescue them, for good damned reason, because they’ll be tipped and everyone will freeze to death. We’re supposed to think the guys who make that call are douches, but in reality, they’re the heroes who saved everyone on those lifeboats. Meanwhile Jack and Rose find a floating door that won’t hold the weight of both of them. An entire fucking ship just sank and she doesn’t encourage him to seek out more debris, because then she won’t have a chat buddy? They couldn’t have held hands on His and Hers doors? She’s a selfish bitch and he’s a moron, so he dies. Rose goes on to live a beautiful and fulfilling life full of people she loves, as the result of making Jack her sacrificial lamb. She marries and has children and grandchildren.
“Then she marries this guy named Calvert, they move to Cedar Rapids and she punches out a couple of kids.” Lewis Bodine*
Then, just before her death, she presents a diamond worth millions that could’ve taken care of her whole family for generations, and tosses it off the side of a boat to be dramatic, even though no one is watching. I know we have this idea in society that we aren’t supposed to use the word “cunt” for the elderly, but in this case, I’m willing to make an exception. Finally, Celine Dion music plays in the background, Rose dies and is transported back to the Titanic to meet Jack and the credits roll.
Wait. What?!?! She lived a rich life full of people she adored and screwed out of millions, and her idea of heaven is a ship that sunk and killed hundreds of people, just because of a one-night stand from 85 years ago?!?!?! Her whole family got owned.
“I saw my whole life as if I’d already lived it. An endless parade of parties and cotillions, yachts and polo matches. Always the same narrow people, the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice, with no one to pull me back, no one who cared… or even noticed.” – Rose Calvert, 1997*
Meanwhile, the early 1900’s American poor lived their own adventures, as in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle:
“… meat would be shoveled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one—there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit. There was no place for the men to wash their hands before they ate their dinner, and so they made a practice of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage. There were the butt-ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of corned beef, and all the odds and ends of the waste of the plants, that would be dumped into old barrels in the cellar and left there. Under the system of rigid economy which the packers enforced, there were some jobs that it only paid to do once in a long time, and among these was the cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every spring they did it; and in the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale water—and cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat, and sent out to the public’s breakfast.”*
Meanwhile in China… those are her toes:
“I know what you must be thinking. ‘Poor little rich girl, what does she know about misery?'” – Rose DeWitt Bukater
I’m fighting the urge to transform these to Chicago Manual format citations.