austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Love was changing the minds of pretenders

Of course, a century ago, give or take, the Titanic sank. This year's brought forth a lot of Titanic reminiscences, more than usual, and at the Henry Ford Museum they've had a Titanic exhibit on display. My father and my (younger) brother went to it in their free time while out for my wedding. I was interested. bunny_hugger's father was very interested. So in the last days before her semester resumed we planned to go to the museum. We had a brief panic when I realized I had an appointment to have my teeth cleaned and I couldn't think what day it was, but I reasoned that they would call me to confirm the appointment in the days before and since they didn't call ... It happens that when my appointment did come up they didn't call to confirm. But by then I'd called to ask and had no doubts of my own.

I hadn't been to the museum since 1987, when I visited with an aunt and uncle that bunny_hugger still hasn't met. I remembered it as a wonderfully eclectic, slightly mad construct centered around one of the two chairs Abraham Lincoln was shot in. There's ambiguity on this point, as in the post-murder chaos nobody was quite sure which of two candidate chairs Lincoln had been in. Ford's Theater, as I remember it, admits the uncertainty about what it has. The Henry Ford Museum does not appear to admit the uncertainty. Anyway, jokes about ``one of the (number) of (things) Lincoln was shot in'' became a nearly oppressive running joke of mine during the day, as I noted the museum had one of the three Rosa Parks buses Lincoln was shot in, or that they were showing off one of the five Titanics that Lincoln was drowned in, or that they were showing one of the eight Weinermobiles that Lincoln was shot in. When we happened across a chair that was in fact owned by Mary Todd Lincoln in the early 1860s I was at a loss for a way to point out the fact and be believed.

My recollection of the museum was that it was overstuffed and packed. Either my memory was too easily impressed back then or they've drastically streamlined things. The museum was airy and spacious, and the displays well-composed. There's a lot of cars, including wonderful demonstrations of absurd vehicles that used to be acceptable, or oh gosh there's that Edsel. Complete with an advertising slogan which was, truly, the Edsel of advertising slogans. (I can't find it online now to verify, but it was along the lines of ``more car than you expect, but not so much more''.) A mid-50s Lincoln Continental also sported the advertising slogan along the lines of ``all the excitement of conservatism'' (I wasn't taking notes and was without my camera, though I used my phone for a few pictures), which makes me think they didn't know how to do advertising in the 50's.

Trivia: In East Texas some 3,067 new oil wells were drilled in 1931, an average of eight a day. Source: The Big Rich: The Rise And Fall Of The Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes, Bryan Burrough.

Currently Reading: When You Were A Tadpole And I Was A Fish: And Other Speculations About This And That, Martin Gardner. So, to explain why he's not an atheist, Gardner points out it's quite comforting to think there'll be an afterlife, and to have some greater power to look up to. But those pointing out these arguments equally well justify believing in Santa Claus are silly because only silly people think Santa is real. Also something something Kant stars above moral law. I can't help feeling dissatisfied with this justification.

PS: Why Someone Should Not Take That Deal, which makes me realize I realize that I got the subject lines for this and the previous essay backwards. Well, that'll happen.


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