8. Titanic, at last
• Fourteen Academy
• Eleven Academy
• Best Picture!
• Three Hours Long
• This is serious!
9. The Critique
• Crass stereotypes (dastardly English
aristos vs. salt of the earth Irish who would
never molest or rob an heiress who turned
up uninvited in their ceilidh).
• Implausible Characters (how did the awful
aristocracy spawn winsome Rose?)
• Simple division into goodies and baddies.
• Clumsy coercion of judgment (e.g. the
12. Far from enhancing each other,
they trip each other up.
• The bounty-hunters are irrelevant—their whole
section is simply to reunite the aged Rose with
her drawing so that we can see that she never
• The engineering hubris story—which could have
been the basis for a thoughtful film in a society
such as ours—is reduced to a lot of special
• Jack isn’t killed because their love is impossible
(Romeo and Juliet proper). He just dies
because the ship sinks.
14. But it has a politics
• Where are the English working class? We
meet lickspittle valets and suchlike, but no
loveable English proles.
• Nor do we meet any obnoxious
Americans. Even the rich ones are
decent, and (being new money) down to
earth. Where are the Boston Brahmins?
15. It’s about America, stupid
• The ship is old Europe in miniature and in
• The Goodies and Baddies are familiar
from the founding myth of the USA (wicked
redcoats, huddled masses).
• The tragedy: they didn’t get to America!
• This insults US cinema audiences more
than anyone else.
16. No really, this is philosophy
• It’s not just the odd film: our whole media
culture confirms a stock set of morality-
• Aesthetics (how is art different from
• Reason, emotion and the imagination
• Political theory (can we fix this without
falling into elitism?)
17. Why is this not what
philosophers typically do?
• Institutional and political pressures push
for the teachable, mechanically-graded
• Normal research is easier and better