I’m taking a day off work today because the kids are on Spring Break and we are driving down to the San Diego Natural History Museum to see this:
You might look at that and think that this is something we are forcing on our poor children, but you’d be wrong. Somehow, within the last few weeks both my boys, ages 7 and 5, have grown somewhat obsessed with the story of the Titanic.
It all started when HBO started playing James Cameron’s Titanic in regular rotation and my wife recorded it. My older son, Zeke, watched it and, as any parent knows, if a child thinks a movie is worth watching once, well then it is worth watching 100 times. Soon our younger son Jack was watching as well.
For anyone wondering, yes there is a brief scene of nudity in the movie, and no, I don’t care. There are a lot worse things that I think my two kids might see in any given action adventure movie than two quick seconds of Kate Winslet’s boobs in a scene where she is being sketched. I actually thought the love scene that comes later might be more of a problem, but it doesn’t actually show much, and the boys seem to think they’re just hugging. I grew more concerned when I realized Zeke had started the movie and had fast forwarded to the love scene (past the sketching scene with actual nudity, mind you) and began watching from that point. I asked him about it. He informed me, “this is where the ship hits the iceberg. The beginning is boring.” That’s my boy.
Suddenly they were using their Legos to build Titanics (complete with 4 smokestacks) instead of pirate ships and train stations. You might be surprised to know just how many children’s books have been written about the Titanic disaster. Even the Magic Treehouse series has a Titanic-themed adventure.
I’m not sure when they will be growing out of it. We have a nighttime ritual where I tell them a story featuring the adventures of two boys, Jake and Zack. They used to demand that I have the boys go on an adventure with their father, a train conductor. Now they want the boys to go on a cruise on the Titanic II, so of course I oblige. Except, in my story, the Titanic II has plenty of lifeboats because the government regulates that all passenger ships have enough lifeboats and training exercises for all passengers. The Free Marketeers running the White Star Line sue the government to try to get out of meeting these regulations, but the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause clearly allows Congress the power to regulate cruise ships that have a port of call in any US city. Exciting stuff for my future democratic socialists.
I might need to change that part of the story, though. A shortage of lifeboats would allow me to pit the 1% in First Class vs. the 99% in steerage. Occupy the Lifeboats! I kid.
UPDATE: My wife informs me that the interest in Titanic began first with the Magic Treehouse book, and that’s what led her to record the movie.