An Australian billionaire, Clive Palmer, has decided to try try again, hoping to successfully navigate a floating gin palace from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem, given that many ocean liners have safely made the journey. According to this article, Titanic II is to be a “replica.” Right. So steerage passengers packed like sardines in the bowels of the ship, too few lifeboats and them earmarked for the toffs, and a rigid system of social apartheid? Not quite.
“The most obvious changes from the original Titanic would be below the water line, including welding rather than rivets, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased maneuverability,” Palmer said.
And “state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems.” Well you would, wouldn’t you, when attempting such a hubris-rich enterprise. Oh, and the ship will run on diesel, so fake funnels.
In other words, not really an replica at all, unless defined in Las Vegan terms. I’m thinking of the Luxor Pyramid and Sphinx, which is in fact a casino. Certainly not a replica in terms of carrying the poor and huddled masses across the ocean to a new life in America. The only poor people on board will be the crew, recruited from 3rd world countries for a pittance and tips. And P&O are already stealing their tips.
No, the great unwashed won’t get a look in. Palmer’s investment – despite the hypocritical bollocks about the project being “a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic” – is aimed at a niche market of wealthy passengers. A replica will carry significantly fewer passengers than modern cruise liners, so it only makes economic sense to build a faux replica of an iconic ship if you charge through the nose for the experience. If his “tribute” were sincere, then the ship would be built at the Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff, the Titanic’s original birthplace. Rather than in China.
There is another Titanic II already out there, a 2010 disaster movie that went straight to video, barely afloat after being extensively holed beneath the waterline by critics. I want to see it – looks like a very entertaining spoof of the genre. Here’s the trailer.
The maiden voyage of Titanic II is due in 2016. Come with me on an imaginative journey to the quayside in Southampton. There we are, held back by police crowd barriers, gawking at the CEOs of banks, industry, property investment companies, the hedge fund managers, and all those fortunate people who never hurt in a depression. All ferried to the quayside in limos, trooping up the gangplank, platoon after platoon of 1%ers, as we wave our corporate logo flags and cheer with all the breath in our consumerist bodies. Makes you proud to be a capitalist.
Now, where’s that iceberg when you need one? Cheers! Happy May Day!
For related Titanica: Not the Titanic