Dear Readers: One of the most popular posts I did last year was a joint effort with Word Warrior (before I taught him the divine pleasures of blogging). In preparation for a year-end retrospective I am doing for Legal Insurrection, I mentioned the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia. Here is an excerpt of the piece we did:
I was reminded of this by what we saw happen on the Costa Concordia. That men on that sinking cruise ship elbowed women and children aside in their frantic scurry onto the life-rafts, is just the most obvious example of the decline in chivalry, and… Well, just plain manhood! As life boats arrived on shore, aid workers were expecting to see lifeboats filled with women and children coming off first. Instead, they saw lots of burly men and a handful of well dressed wives and gal-pals!
How things have changed in the 100 years since the Titanic catastrophe.
On Titanic, women and children boarded the life rafts first; and the crew strictly enforced that. The captain was the last to leave the ship, and that after all lifeboats had already been launched. As Rich Lowry recently observed, “Capt. Edward Smith told his crew: “Men, you have done your full duty. You can do no more. Now it’s every man for himself.” One witness recalled seeing him, probably washed overboard, clutching a child in the water as the Titanic disappeared. A member of the crew always believed it was Captain Smith’s voice he heard from the water after the Titanic was gone, urging him and others on: “Good boys! Good lads!”
How different that is from the Costa Concordia captain, who along with other young brutes, apparently launched himself and his Moldavian 25 year old girlfriend into one of the lifeboats early on, elbowing women and children aside.
Well, I have a Goddess of Capitalism update!
GIGLIO, Italy – Six months after it capsized off Italy’s Giglio island, the Costa Concordia still lies on its side – a monument to what prosecutors say was reckless navigation.
The 122,000-ton, 1,000 foot long cruise liner, which hit a rock and partially sank on January 13, claiming the lives of 32 people including two Americans, has become part of Giglio’s skyline.
For locals it has become an eyesore that stops them enjoying the view of the Tuscan shore. But for tourists it represents a perfect photo opportunity for their summer albums.
Every day, hundreds of tourists fill the regular ferries that connect the island from Porto Santo Stefano, the closest mainland port. It’s an hour-long crossing under the scorching summer sun – the roof deck becomes so hot you could cook pizza on its white floor – and yet everyone heads for the open top….
Before the Concordia tragedy, Giglio was a hangout for the rich and powerful. But the wreck happened right where luxurious yachts, too big to enter the tiny port, used to dock. The yachts have now been replaced by packed ferries of tourists looking for a quick snap and a bite to eat.
Some businesses have benefited: restaurants have never been so full, especially for lunch, and shops are selling out of souvenirs.
While I hope that the entrepreneurs direct some of that money to the families of the 30-plus passengers that died, the story highlights my reminder to people to always be mindful of opportunities whenever and where-ever they occur.