Tuesday, April 10, 2012
"Is Titanic real?" - stop laughing!
This is nothing to laugh at. This is what it is like in this day and age. In an age where Hollywood delivers or conducts the truth and when all the knowledge you may want is searchable on the Internet. This is what you get. And that is absolutely nothing to laugh about.
Some people think that a bit more than 2000 years ago there was a man walking on Earth. He was the son of God and he had blue eyes and long blond hair. They know this because they have read it in a book or they have seen movies about it. I am an atheist and I am not far from laughing, probably as hard as the people who are laughing at those who didn't know Titanic happened. Hang on, I am not finished.
Some people think that the Spartans who fought the Persians were all half naked, with awesome sexy abs and dressed in nothing but a cape and fury underpants. They think so because they have seen the movie.
Some people think that the Trojans were speaking English, because that's the way they spoke in "Troy".
What is it about the Titanic that everyone should know?
In 1994 the Estonia sank in the Baltic sea, dragging 852 lives down to the bottom of the sea. Most of them Swedish citizens. If you go to Sweden, everyone knows about it, even the younger ones. This is soon 20 years ago.
In 2004 a tsunami hit the shores of the Indian Ocean, some 230,000 lives were lost. Almost 543 of them were Swedish citizens.
In 2001 more than 3000 died in terrorist attack in New York, USA.
97 207 casualties are documented in the Bosnian war, 1992-1995.
Roughly 110,00 civilian Iraqis have died in the war on terrorism so far.
The question persist: why would anyone take for granted that everyone, especially the younger ones, knows about what happened to the Titanic in 1912 when 1517 people died?
Some might say it is common knowledge, but according to whom, I ask. It depends on where you live, it depends on the life you lead, it depends on culture, access to technology, education and schooling. Why would Swedish kids know about what happened to 1517 people in 1912 when we had the Estonia event killing 850 Swedes? Why would the Bosnians or Serbs care about the 1517 when they have seen families and relatives being beheaded during the war, only 20 years ago?
Well, they wouldn't. But most of them do know about the Titanic. And it is not because they have read about it in the history books - after all, in most parts of the world, the Titanic event is insignificant. It is because of Hollywood. And James Cameron. Would those born in the the 90s know about the Titanic if it wasn't for James Cameron? I don't know. I wouldn't teach about it in school and I believe few of my Swedish colleagues would.
What does this have to do with school and education?
A lot. The fact that people are laughing at people who don't know about the Titanic actually tells us a lot. It tells us about the power of media, the power of influence is has and the power of the entertainment industry. It shows us that history can be changed, remade and re-told without having to be accurate. It tells us that we need to pay more attention to teach about criticism of the source.