' ' Cinema Romantico: James Cameron Is Done With Your Titanic Conspiracy Theories, and so am I

Thursday, February 02, 2017

James Cameron Is Done With Your Titanic Conspiracy Theories, and so am I

In writing about “The X Files” and its affection for conspiracy theories, Alyssa Rosenberg considered “conspiratorial thinking as a way to rationalize the world, to make connections between seemingly disparate events and to suggest that something ties the chaos of the world together.” She continued: “And more than that, they often suggest that our problems are fixable.” That’s true, I suspect, attempting to rationalize by way of outlandishness. But I often also suspect that conspiracy theories are born of something not, well, more sinister but more haughty; I think conspiracists peddle their theories as a means to elevate their status within their own minds. If conspiracists know something that the general populace does not know or will not admit to or laughs off then conspiracists can fancy themselves so much smarter than so many sheeple.

I tend to look at plot hole picker outers at movies in the same light. You know, like Cinema Romantico’s pre-eminent nemesis, that scourge of (barf) plausibility Neil deGrasse Tyson*, who from the hoity toity perches of his Twitter throne likes to throw shade at any movie that has scientific inaccuracies, as if the entire point of crafting a piece of cinematic escapism is to get the particulars of reality right. Tyson took James Cameron to task for not getting the star field in “Titanic” right a few years ago, though the star field is a minor entry into the “Titanic” conspiracy theory canon. No, the most persistent “Titanic” conspiracy theory through the years has related to the piece of flotsam that Rose lays on after the ship has sunk and upon which Jack is unable to find room, leaving him to bob in the water where, alas, he sadly freezes to death. Flotsam Truthers, however, have long contended that there was enough room on the board for both Rose and Jack. This was given some credence by an episode of Mythbusters that contended both could have fit on the board so long as they had aided its buoyancy by tying a life jacket underneath it.

Of course, while some were watching the movie and bitching about the board, we here at Cinema Romantico were busy noting how Camero had reversed the positions of Jack and Rose from when they first met – he, holding out onto her as she slipped off the bow of the S.S. Titanic itself, and now her, holding onto him as he bobbed in the north Atlantic. That narrative symmetry is what mattered more than any nonsense about space on the board. But plot hole picker outers are not interested in narrative symmetry; they are interested in trying to pick out things to demonstrate that they are smarter than the movie.

In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Cameron was posited this question about the board yet again by Marlow Stern, seemingly another Flotsam Truther. Cameron responded:

“We’re gonna go there? Look, it’s very, very simple: you read page 147 of the script and it says, ‘Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive.’ It’s that simple. You can do all the post-analysis you want. So you’re talking about the Mythbusters episode, right? Where they sort of pop the myth? OK, so let’s really play that out: you’re Jack, you’re in water that’s 28 degrees, your brain is starting to get hypothermia. Mythbusters asks you to now go take off your life vest, take hers off, swim underneath this thing, attach it in some way that it won’t just wash out two minutes later—which means you’re underwater tying this thing on in 28-degree water, and that’s going to take you five to ten minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead. So that wouldn’t work. His best choice was to keep his upper body out of the water and hope to get pulled out by a boat or something before he died. They’re fun guys and I loved doing that show with them, but they’re full of shit.”

Full of shit indeed. You go, Jim. What Mr. Cameron is referring to here is what I like to call Plane Is About To Crash Into The Mountain Syndrome. Like, you’re watching a movie at home and a plane is about to crash into the goddam mountain and you’re sitting at home, probably eating queso, nitpicking every decision the character and/or characters make in the 27 seconds of unbelievable stress they are experiencing as their plane is about to crash into the goddam mountain. Now, don’t you think that if your plane was about to crash into the goddam mountain you might not be thinking completely straight?

Perhaps there should be a Mythbusters episode where they get on a plane that is about to crash into the goddam mountain and see if they can actually survive by jumping out in an inflatable raft a la “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”?

*We here at Cinema Romantico have long enjoyed the recurring bit about Neil deGrasse Tyson being our nemesis, of course, and we have no intention of dropping that bit. However, considering the state of pretty much everything, we here at Cinema Romantico would like to state for the record that, in all seriousness, we greatly admire Mr. deGrasse Tyson’s committment to holding climate change deniers and anti-science troglodytes feet to the fire. His noble actions are not lost on us. He is a good man. Still, the next time he opines about plot holes, we will call him an ass clown.

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