Blog: A sinking feeling
Published: Friday, March 16, 2012 - 3:23pm
I'm not a senior and I'm not even planning on going to prom. But a Titanic-themed prom?
April 14, the day of 2012 prom, is the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, an event where more than 1500 people died. An appropriate way to respond to or commemorate that event might be an informational movie night, or perhaps a discussion of the Titanic's "unsinkable" construction and why it actually failed.
For those who don't know already, this year's prom theme will be "A Night to Remember," a theme that comes verbatim from a 1955 Walter Lord novel based on the sinking of the Titanic, and then a 1958 film based on the book. The leaps of logic involved in getting the prom theme out of an anniversary of an event that was retold in a book and movie would certainly impress the likes of Glenn Beck.
Holding prom themed as "A Night to Remember" on the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking is inappropriate in so many ways. According to the email, junior and senior students will be invited to join the junior class officers in "recreating the experience of sailing on the majestic Titanic at Prom 2012: a night filled with fun, food, and dancing!"
Now, I'm not trying to ruin the fun of prom--not even remotely--nor am I trying to insult the junior class officers or the prom committee. But if we are to recreate the experience of sailing on the Titanic, it would involve more panicking, drowning, and dying than the 2012 prom (hopefully) will, and conversely, if it is to be a night of fun, prom 2012 should almost certainly not seek to recreate the experience of sailing on the Titanic.
I understand the fact that the Titanic and the partying on it was going swimmingly until the iceberg was struck, but that is not what most people remember about the Titanic--not the dancing, not the partying, not the music, but tragedy and disaster.
I wonder what it is, what distance, makes this tasteless theme so acceptable: is it the time factor? Surely if we were to have a Costa Concordia prom--after a disaster that happened this year and killed 25--it would be totally unacceptable to commemorate the event in that way.
Besides, April 14 was also the day Lincoln was assassinated--why not have a Lincoln assassination-themed prom? Or we could celebrate literally any other historical event that just happened to be on April 14, be it the end of Nazi occupation of Croatia in 1945, the foundation of the first American abolitionist organization in 1775, or the production of the first Volvo in 1927.
Or maybe the prom theme is supposed to be metaphorical? We're all sailing on the ship of life, but unbeknownst to us, the iceberg of (something) is looming in the distance, waiting to sink us. Or is the theme just supposed to be an ironic nod, saying that prom will crash and sink and all the attendees will abandon ship?
But that is too abstract. Might this prom theme be a political allusion to the GOP primaries? But then we must ask, where do the sympathies of the junior class lie--Romney, Paul, Santorum, or Gingrich? And who, pray tell, is the iceberg, who is the ship, and who are the people?
Perhaps the theme could even be a reference to a popular Kanye West remix, in which he says, "I call this club Titanic / why? 'Cause it's going down." That could be it.
So, in the interest of staying in good form, I propose the following prom themes for the next three years:
- The 2013 prom will be "in honor" of Hurricane Katrina
- The 2014 prom will be "in honor" of United Flight 93
- The 2015 prom will be "in honor" of the Oklahoma City Bombing