Down with the Old Canoe (Paperback)
A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393316766, 300pp.
Publication Date: June 17, 2003
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Protestant sermons used the Titanic to condemn the budding consumer society ("We know the end of . . . the undisturbed sensualists. As they sail the sea of life we know absolutely that their ship will meet disaster."). African American toasts and working-class ballads made the ship emblematic of the foolishness of white people and the greed of the rich. A 1950s revival framed the disaster as an "older kind of disaster in which people had time to die." An ever-increasing number of Titanic buffs find heroism and order in the tale. Still in the headlines ("Titanic Baby Found Alive " the Weekly World News declares) and a figure of everyday speech ("rearranging deck chairs . . ."), the Titanic disaster echoes within a richly diverse, paradoxical, and fascinating America.