Recipe from Biel

Quotations from Steven Biel’s A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster

The disaster was neither catalyst nor cause, but it did expose and come to represent anxieties about modernity. … If not a transformative event, it was nonetheless a highly dramatic moment – a kind of “social drama” in which conflicts were played out and American culture in effect thought out loud about itself. 8
What emerged in the days after the disaster was a myth – not because it was false necessarily but because it located a disturbing event within routine structures of understanding. “ Myth … is invoked as a means of deriving usable values from history, and of putting those values beyond the reach of critical demystification. Its primary appeal is to ritualized emotions, established beliefs, habitual associations, memory, nostalgia.” In the case of the Titanic the myth of first-cabin male heroism appealed to conventional understanding and sentimental notions of gender roles that involved a series of oppositions: strength versus weakness; independence versus dependence; intellect versus emotion; public versus private. 24

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~ by cjc128 on January 28, 2009.

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