ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT INTERVIEW ON TITANIC
Thursday, June 22, 2023
We have heard this story before. The five souls lost in a technological breakdown of our most sophisticated effort to explore the seafloor and gaze at the Titanic. Titanic was a perfect example of hubris gone bad. A maiden voyage of an unsinkable ship steaming into an icefield full speed with the thought that electric sliding doors would save everyone by sealing off the sea in the bulkheads. It was the cutting edge technology of its time much like our Space Shuttle. And yet, she strikes an iceberg and five compartments are ripped open and sealed her fate. Titanic quickly became the posterchild for tempting fate by declaring science had conquered risk. We thought we had learned our lesson with more lifeboats and taking heed of wireless ice warnings. But maybe not. After 1985 discovery of Titanic we decided we could tempt fate again and descend almost three miles to the floor of the ocean to look at the last time hubris killed almost 1600 people. But we were secure that our technology would allow us to go where people were not meant to and we could offer that not only to explorers and scientist but for the people who could afford a 250,000 price tag. The very rich onnce again would ride the waves much like in 1912 and for an enormous amount of money descend to that wreck of the Gilded Age. But we found once again our assumption that we had conqured the hostile seas was flawed. Five people bitterly proved that there are some places humans have no business going...like the bottom of the Atlantic to stare at another example of human folly. And the very same shock has now descended as people contemplate how the very richest among us the very brightest could have placed themselves in harms way. Maybe the lesson of Titanic has not been learned. That we will never conquer our enviorment. That there are some places where human gall and hubris will not mitigate the risks. Yes we have a come a long way but so had the people in 1912. A wireless set that could send out a signal 2000 miles. A ship with electric bulkhead doors that could seal up on the flick of a swtich. Just the size of Titanic prohibited the idea of her sinking. But she did sink in less than three hours after hitting the iceberg and she settled to the ocean floor. She should have been a monnument to the idea of tempting fate to declaring all battles won with the planet and human supremacy allowing us to go wherever we want. But of course we ignored the biggest lesson of Titanic. Never assume anything.
Monday, May 8, 2023
I never did go to New York. A young writer just out of college I stayed in Chicago although I had been to New York many times. I even went for a full week and stayed in Brooklyn right before Christmas and slogged around from one agent to another dropping off horrible manuscripts until one annoyed agent burst out, "this is not how its done." Nothing came of my week in New York and I went back to Chicago to be the struggling writer. But I am haunted by the might of been of going to NY. I should have. I should have taken my shot in the big apple. If for nothing else to see what would have happened. It is where you go when you are young and want to make it as an artist. I knew that every time I went there. This is where I should be. All the big writers it seemed were launched there. The brat pack of McInerny Brett Eastion Ellis were born there. That was my group. My time. But I didnt make the leap. I stayed in Chicago and cranked out my prose and sent three queries a week to NY publishers but never followed them. The letters came back and rejected all that I had sent them. And then of course I got married and had kids and that door closed. The window to go was when I was broke, hungry and desperate. Which was of course the reason I didnt go even though I do remember considering it and talking about it with friends and family but I never did it. The closest I would come would be the week I stayed there and long weekends where I caroused with friends who had moved to NY. Thinking back I could have easily proposed I move in with them, but I never did. And when I finally broke through and had a two book deal with Bantam and a big advance and a big agent I went to NY and had dinner with my publlisher and agent in an upper east side restaurant and then went out and got smashed and the next day walked Manhattan on a Sunday and bought two first edition Fitzgerald collections of short stories and then flew back home. And now twenty five books later one could make the case I did the right thing by staying put and producing the work. Some say NY is so hard that the creativity dries up with the struggle to survive. Some are crushed by the Big Apple. Many return with their tale between their legs. But others, others are launched into the stratosphere from that hot melting pot of creativity that is New York and end up in the stars. You never know, but I wish I had found out.
Thursday, August 25, 2022
The Great Gatsby has sold 25 million copies worldwide and sells 500, 000 copies annually. The book has been made into three movies and produced for the theatre. It is considered the Greatest American Novel ever written. Yet, the story of how The Great Gatsby was written has not been told except as embedded chapters of much larger biographies. This story is one of heartbreak, infidelity, struggle, alcoholism, financial hardship, and one man’s perseverance to be faithful to the raw diamond of his talent in circumstances that would have crushed others. The story of the writing of The Great Gatsby is a story in itself. Fitzgerald had descended into an alcoholic run of parties on Great Neck, NY, where he and Zelda had taken a home. His main source of income was writing for the “slicks” or magazines of the day the main source being the Saturday Evening Post where Fitzgerald’s name on a story got him as high as four thousand dollars. Then on May 1, 1924, he, Zelda, and baby daughter Scottie quietly slipped away from New York on a “dry” steamer to France, the writer in search of sobriety, sanity, and his muse, resulting on the publication of The Great Gatsby a year later.
Saturday, April 16, 2022
Here is the World News Tonight Interview of One Hundred and Sixty Minutes The Race To Save the RMS Titanic