austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

As we danced in the night

We had a reserved-time ticket for going into the Titanic exhibit, one of those little projects for controlling crowd flow that probably is more essential in the first days rather than the waning of a big show. bunny_hugger and her father had been to a similar, possibly the same, show in Chicago and it apparently had a greater range of exhibits and props and whatnot in that form. Well, it was novel and generally interesting to me.

Parts of the exhibit were recreations of pieces of the ship. The most prominent and the one that had a photographer ready for was of the grand stairwell. Here they were letting people go up to the fourth step --- no more, according to the photographer --- to get their pictures taken, and then purchased as one left. The three of us got a photo taken. I went up one less step than bunny_hugger did, bringing our heads much more nearly even, and probably making for a better composition. But there were for example corridors from one room to another that were recreations of first- or second-class cabin walkways.

The bulk of the showing, and attractions, were things recovered: luggage and coins and dinner plate and navigational equipment and all the miscellaneous things that you get digging up pieces of ship. They had a segment of corner bar, too, under opened glass so that people could satisfy the most human need to touch something here. Another part of the exhibit had a gigantic block of ice, apparently, with the encouragement to feel what an iceberg felt like. I think it was plastic, but I'm not precisely sure what it was demonstrating past the concept of a lot of ice.

Anyone who's looked into it knows that humans are about the worst witnesses to events, particularly shocking and unusual events, that could be designed. That was shown without comment in a wall of quotes that just listed what survivors said about the actual collision. It was sudden. It was silent. It was impossible to miss. It was barely noticeable. How can we understand what a giant ship hitting a giant iceberg is like, if the people who were there don't even agree what it was?

Trivia: The four Edsel designs unveiled on 8 September 1957 were the Corsair, Citation, Pacer, and Ranger. Source: Car Wars: The Untold Story, Robert Sobel.

Currently Reading: The Air Show At Brescia, 1909, Peter Demetz.

PS: Everything I Learned In Eighth-Grade Math, which takes a depressingly few 1500 words or so to explain. You'll learn a method of factoring quadratic polynomial expressions I have never seen anyone else explain!

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