Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Beth's excuse for body snatching; "I'm not sick, I'm a HISTORIAN"

Just so you know, after the last post, I’m not sitting in the dark, chewing on a hangnail and thinking morbid thoughts about myself while planning how I’m going to play “The Unforgiven” at my funeral. That’s not the type o Goth I am. Not when I can go to the Titanic exhibit like I did on Monday and think morbid thoughts about OTHER people dying. The roving Titanic exhibit complete with the genuine artifacts recovered from the ocean bottom are at the local museum. Personally I find the whole thing in dubious taste, particularly the recovery and display of the “stewards jacket” which has the name of the guy with the note beside it; “did not survive the disaster” a.k.a. – look at this jacket with the White Star logo which we took once the guy inside had been eaten by organisms at the bottom of the ocean! There are even pop-up cards you can buy in the gift shop (attached to the exhibit!) showing divers looting (sorry, I must mean, historically examining) the wreck. It simply makes me want to wheel on over to our own Victorian Cemetery with a few shovels and do some historical examination of the period myself. I wonder how locals would take it if I set up a special exhibit of things I “found?” (And who says “body snatching” is a lost art?)

As for the exhibit, it was okay, a little missing on info, and high on drama (“once in the water people had 15 minutes to call for help before dying of hypothermia. The air would have been filled with the cries of the dying”). Luckily one volunteer was Mr. Obsessive who knew just about EVERY person who lived or died and how that happened and gave the example of a White Star worker, a baker, who while completely drunk, literally stepped off the stern just as it was going under, swam around for over two hours and was picked up....still drunk. He bragged that he “never got his hair wet.” Anyway, enough about that, if you want to know about Titanic, you can buy one of the several million books which seem to have been published on the subject. By the by, the Titanic, in terms of civilian naval casualties on an ocean liner is about 9th or so; the M/V WILHELM GUSTLOFF lost estimated 9,400 people (including almost 9000 civilians and another 162 wounded soldiers) in 1945 compared to Titanic’s 1,508. True, they were german civilians killed during WWII, which would bring up other certain issues (like the deliberate firebombing of civilians towns) while the Titanic is a much more politically free disaster (and full of rich people and cool pictures of staircases). In case you would like to make your own morbid exhibit, German deep sea divers found the wreck of the Gustloff three years ago.

Yesterday I was busy with doctors and test, seeing an Internist specialist who seemed to know the right questions to ask and getting me even more tests which included my getting 16 blood tests later that day. Knowing my EXTREME needle phobia, you can imagine how fun that was (I was heavily doped; I suggested since they needed so many samples they just siphon it into a jug and take the samples from that. The tech said, “Oh, we have a comedian.” While I peered in a puzzled doped haze at her wondering why everyone though a sensible suggestion was comedy?). So after the blood tests I slept...a lot.

But I will be back, hopefully tomorrow with to blog about. I just thought it better that people didn’t think that I was moping about, hiding under black sheets and getting maudlin. My gothic retreat into cobwebbed delusion and madness should be firmly placed under “coming attractions.”


Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

In the finest tradition of American Zenophobia, it takes waaay more than 10,000 German civilian deaths to equal 1,500 American deaths. Even though a lot of the Titanic stiffs were English and Irish, and so only mostly count as much as Americans.
Look at Iraq-They're way past 100,000 civilian deaths there, and it hasn't yet equalled 2,500 White, oops, I mean American deaths on 9/11. If you're little and brown, talk funny and wear a rag on your head, it takes at least a million of them to equal a couple thousand of ours.

KateJ said...

It is weird how so many people are obsessed with Titanic. I remember seeing the movie - bizarrely it was the in-flight movie when were on our way to Canada a few years ago. (We were flying over a load of icebergs at the time, which didn't exactly inspire confidence.)
So I saw it on this tiny screen. Geoff didn't bother to watch: "I know how it ends" he said "the boat sinks". And you know, he was right.

kathz said...

It's curious how the Titanic has gained in popularity as the battles of the First World War followed. See and look at the casualties on the first day of the Somme. And nobody has glamorised deaths from poverty in Edwardian England or the dreaful flu epidemic of 1919. Wealth and fancy dress are evidently much more fun.

I once read a book which suggested that 1st class adult men on the Titanic had a higher rate of survival than 3rd class women and children. It still appals me that no great effort was taken to help the children travelling 3rd class on the Titanic.

vague thoughts because I'm exhausted from marking. (must have a beer)

GayProf said...

As a pre-teen, I became obsessed with the Titanic. I could have been your tour guide -- but I still would have been creeped out by the jacket.

Actually, I never really understood why they brought all that stuff up in the first place. Why don't we just run down to the local cemetery and see what jewelry the corpses are modeling for us today?

Wiccachicky said...

Sounds promising that you found a doctor who is asking the right questions at least!

kathz said...

Two more shipwreck stories have struck be but these aren't about to be filmed with Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet. There were 53 refugees left to drown off Malta. They had mobile phones and called for help - nothing so primitive as morse code and a wireless. They were photographed too - by a Maltese reconnaissance plane. It was nine hours before a search was started and by then the boat had sunk.

Later some bodies were found - but no-one knew whether they came from this shipwreck or another. That's because in the same week 27 shipwrecked Africans clung to tuna nets for three days while European countries argued about whose job it was to pick them up.

But the shipwrecked people weren't rich white Europeans in fancy clothes and it wasn't 100 years ago. This was in the Mediterranean Sea the week before last.

I don't suppose they'll merit an exhibition.

belledame222 said...

anyway, after Titanic, the musical, anything else could only really be an anticlimax

belledame222 said...

Geoff didn't bother to watch: "I know how it ends" he said "the boat sinks". And you know, he was right.

*snort* exactly.

overheard conversation between two acquaintances sometimes after the movie had hit the video stores:

"What do you mean it was awful? We LOVED it. -I- loved it."

"You were tripping on acid."

"What does that have to do with anything? It was MARVELOUS..."

belledame222 said...

btw, does anyone else remember the Young Adult book, "Ghosts I Have Been?" (deals with a psychic who sees what happened in one stateroom on the Titanic)

belledame222 said...

16 blood tests later that day.


"Shall we go and give blood?"

"Naow! I don't want a great bat flapping 'round my neck..."