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A Rendezvous With Hell: The Titanic Abyss of Romantic Love in James Cameron’s 1997 Movie “Titanic” (Guest Post By Lucretius Carus)

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch a cinema screening of the now classic 1997 Hollywood movie “Titanic” with an audience which consisted mainly of teenagers. Those teens of course knew about the tragic sinking of Titanic in general terms, and I also guess they certainly knew that there exists a “really great” movie about that incident, which they were about to watch, but they surely hadn’t already seen it. As far as I am concerned, I hadn’t seen the movie for more than fifteen years and had mostly forgotten about it and didn’t even remember its famous scenes. This turned out to be quite an unexpected opportunity! Because first of all I was able to almost “see it again for the first time”. And then the spontaneous, unfiltered reactions of the younger part of this theater audience were also really, really valuable, because they forced me re-think my instant impression about what was actually being shown on the screen. All of this has led me to a fresh interpretation of the movie and to a complete re-evaluation of its message. And with this blog post I’d like to tell you about my insights about “Titanic”.

[Spoiler warning: If you wish to retain the naïve notion that this film tells you a great, wholesome romantic love story, then please quit reading this article right now.]

Titanic – a poisonous social programming mind virus for 1990s youngsters

Before the present age of almost universal subversion of all arts and entertainment Hollywood now and then churned out movies which possessed high social programming potency and thus turned out to be of great and almost universal cultural impact. James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic” arguably was one of the last movies of this kind. When it got released it wasn’t merely a huge box office hit. It turned out to be a massive worldwide pop culture phenomenon with a particular impact on that part of the audience, which were at the time teens, twens and people in their thirties – i.e. that very section of 1990s society which could best empathize with the two young protagonists of the movie, Jack and Rose. Besides, those two characters of the film much more resembled the mold of typical youngsters from the 1990s, than young grown-ups from the Edwardian era. Was this just a coincidence? The film hit home particularly deeply with the University student crowd. It was regularly talked about in-deep at student dorm parties, many young cinema goers had watched the film at least twice, the cheesy Celine Dion song seemingly followed you everywhere you went (clubs, bars, cafés, even shopping malls!) and the DiCaprio-craze unleashed on your fellow women made you silently resent our fellow boy Leo. Methinks it’s safe to say “Titanic” had a lasting impact on “its generation”.

The unexamined “Titanic” is not worth watching

This is in no way accidental. The scientific study of PR and advertising in the decades during and after World War I resulted in the application of very effective techniques of mass manipulation. Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud’s and the godfather of modern public relations (he’s the guy responsible for – among many other feats – re-branding the U.S. War Department as “U.S. Department of Defense”; or successfully promoting the smoking cigarettes to women as an act of feminist emancipation) was of the opinion, that democratically governed populations were inherently stupid. And that they needed to be told what to think and what to do or not to do – in the best case by persons like himself, of course. To that end he clearly recognized the power of Hollywood cinema in manipulating and shaping the consciousness of first domestic, and then even global populations. We can be really grateful that he didn’t beat around the bush, thus in his legendary 1955 book “Propaganda” we can read on p. 166 straight from of the horse’s mouth: „The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions.” Greek philosopher Plato once quoted his teacher Socrates saying, that “the unexamined life was not worth living”. The logical consequence of Bernays’ above statement is, that in our day and age it might be dangerous to trust our own unexamined thoughts and emotions as well, because especially nowadays you couldn’t really be sure, whether those ideas of yours are really your own ideas – or whether they have been programmed into your mind by “Mr E. Bernays & his ilk, Inc.”. Since James Cameron’s “Titanic” is a Hollywood motion picture and for more than 25 years everybody seems to just love it so much, let’s have a look at the actual “ideas and opinions” that it wants to tell us…

1) The exoteric “romantic” aspects of the film

Back then as well as today, the movie is being advertised as a “great love story”. In fact the recent big-mouthing Valentine’s Day 2023 re-issue trailer even promoted the movie as “the greatest love story of all time” (wait a minute, wasn’t that Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Virgil’s “Dido and Aeneas”, or even Homer’s “Paris and the beautiful Helena”?).

Jazzing up the film in the 2023 Valentine’s Day re-issue trailer – it surely doesn’t get any bigger than this!

In the liner notes of the 1997 CD issue of James Horner’s original soundtrack even Cameron, when giving accolades to James Horner’s powerful musical score (“… it sweeps us off our feet and makes us feel the intense emotion between Rose and Jack as they kiss each other at the bow of Titanic”), himself was waxing about “the power of that special kind of love we all dream about, but seldom find.” Those are powerful words. So we are shown an ideal to which we are supposed to aspire to? Is this supposed to be the true representation of “love”? That “love” has to be something absolutely super exciting, wrapped in overall turmoil, rebellious against established norms of society, a forbidden fruit of hot, steamy promiscuity… and in the end I as a man am supposed to lay my life down for all of this, or what?

The overwhelming grandeur of the spectacle of Cameron’s film actually prohibits us from taking a look behind the curtain and have a closer view of the hidden machinery behind the plot of the movie. Because my take on it is that even on an exoteric surface level the façade of the romantic plot of “Titanic” and its characters doesn’t really hold up and an ugly truth behind this great love gets revealed. Cameron’s film in no way want us to question “one of the great love stories ever told” – and one must admit it’s doing a pretty good job at that!

Our good old Marxist philosopher buddy Slavoj Žižek in his analysis from his essay “A pervert’s guide to ideology” sums up the criticism from a purely materialistic point of view so much better than I ever could: The superficial Hollywood take on vulgar Marxism – that all proletarians, migrants from all corners of the world in the 3rd class of the ship, are in fact without exception only good, pure, well-meaning, positively energized people. In their naïve ways they could never do any harm. And contrary to that, that all the rich, “elite” folks in the 1st class are only mean, scheming, exploitative people, with dead souls inside their lavish attire, living a false and corrupted life. Apparently high society broad Rose (Kate Winslet) got bored by such a life trapped inside a golden cage. Then, thanks for good fortune, she encounters the proletarian bum Jack (Leo Di Caprio) when he rushes to save her spoiled life. During little more than 24 hours he even re-vitalizes and re-energizes her boring existence; and because he eventually fucks her silly in the belly of the ship, she now thinks that this must be true love! She then takes the stupid decision to leave the ship together with Jack, and live a poor romantic life with this loser, thereby definitely betraying her fiancé. But the misery of every-day life (albeit after max. three weeks of hot and dirty proletarian sex) would certainly destroy their “love” in the end, as it does take its toll on so many other relationships and marriages. The catastrophe of the iceberg hitting the ship then occurs just in time, to sustain the very romantic illusion, that, if this were not to happen, Jack and Rose most certainly would have lived “happily ever after”. What a beautiful lie!

At the start of the movie Rose was so hopeless and wanted to die. But thanks to Jack she found new hope and a new life. He can die now and she can happily bang somebody else.

Jack’s sad death at the end of the film fits this interpretation well: Rose is safely floating on a piece of wood from the sunken ship, Jack on the other hand is in the ice-cold water. And she’s crying “I’ll never let you go!!” all the while knowing full well, that she is about to lose him soon. Thus her hyped-up emotions serve as a show for herself (and the audience). Yet before his death in an act of utter submission he praises his luck that got him onto the ship and that he got to encounter her. He even ridiculously preached to Rose about how to live a life as single mother, popping out cute little children and “being true to herself” and other kind feminist dribble. Once he’s dead she does let his go of his hand and he conveniently floats down and away into the sea, since – after getting exploited to the utmost – he had served his purpose for her. Thus “Titanic” tells a story not so much of “compassion”, “that nothing on earth could come between them” (the tag line of the film) i.e. of “love crossing all boundaries”, but of vampire-like exploitation of the willing underlings by the elite, helping the upper-class – and its spoiled female part in particular – to restore their self-image (in the movie Jack literally draws a somewhat idealized image of Rose):

Rose’s self-image actually got restored
(Fun fact: Cameron, the megalomaniac, drew the drawing himself)

But, oh no, the awkwardness doesn’t end here. In a weird scene, which drew particularly strong cringy reaction from the teenage audience I watched the movie with, nanny Rose tells the crew of the treasure hunters’ ship about her sex adventure with Jack in the cargo section of Titanic – what an embarrassing scene! Who in all honesty wants to hear the memories of a grandmother about some shagging she experienced 80 years ago? Naturally in the movie the simp crew audience is just drooling about every detail she’s going to reveal to them – and in that vein nanny Rose perfectly fits the mold of the contemporary alpha widow. Rose is the perfect alpha widow. Imagine that even at age 100, after a life fully lived and right before her upcoming death, she still (!) yearns after that one douchebag who really got her gina tingling. In the final dream sequence the movie even elevates this longing to the level of mythical poetic immortality, when she fictionally gets reunited with the entire crew of the ship and can finally consummate her dream of “romantic love” with Jack. It may appear as a sweet way of ending the movie, but overall it’s just a disingenuous and disgusting lie.

Such stupid female dreams of romance of course are not only unrealistic, but highly unlikely. For in real life, even though she might have betrayed her future husband with some Jack(ed) guy behind his back, she would have literally recognized the bad deal she’s about to make, and quickly feigned shame, tears and remorse in order to return to the prospect of a safe, luxurious life of wealth and status. After all, not to do so would have been stupid to the point of suicide. Status and security are very important needs for a woman, for which – if necessary – she will discard any notions or pulp-fiction fantasies of romance. Because women must get their needs met. And women are first and foremost in it for the long term-benefits – they are in the business of $urvival. They know that they have a finite shelf life, that in a not so distant future they’re going to hit the wall. And if they’re not completely delusional, once they’ll get past 25 or 30 years of age, it starts catching up on them really quick and they’ll figure it out. Because their ass sags, their tits sag, their skin starts to wrinkle and their youthful façade starts to crumble etc. And what use is an orgasm to a woman, if she’s on the brink of starvation, or worse, if she cannot buy that brand-new Gucci handbag to stir up her BFFs envy? So to women romance means hot (and in the movie literally “steamy”) sex – but not with any bum, but with a WINNER and that’s the key point to remember. The idea of “romance” on the other hand is just an empty lie for losers, i.e. weak, gullible men. Because let’s not forget how romance got invented in the first place: Impoverished knights and noble men during the European middle ages knew that they couldn’t compete with their wealthier, more powerful and stronger peers in status, force or money. So in order to still get into the pants of young, noble women they were after, they invented romantic minstrelsy to woo and hypnotize those women, convincing them that the beautiful lies of their rhymed babble and their passionate personalities were supposedly more valuable than cold, hard tested male value. Of course women never fully believed this lie. Women surely want love, but they cannot give it to men without some form of tangible payment. Most women also surely enjoy sex, the princess treatment and now and then the perks of a dose of irrational hypnotic wooing – but (and this is the painful part for men to understand at first) cannot “love” it, because to them male “love” is worthless for their own $urvival. What women only really love is the payment they get and not necessarily the payer, because it is only the payment that truly $ustains them. Which, on a positive note, only goes to show, how truly valuable us men really can be!

Since Rose willingly engaged in heterosexual intercourse with Jack, is this proof of the fact that “Jack Dawson” a winner? Well, he surely is a good seducer, and he definitely knows his way around to get her panties drop. (He also didn’t go for the quick kill, but he acted smoothly, so he really wanted to be sure to definitely close this deal without causing any buyers’ remorse.) But compared to Cal – the real “alpha male” of the film – Jack is a total loser! In a sense one could even argue, that Jack is the very inversion of Cal. There is literally nothing about Jack except maybe his more youthful looks, his naïve “proletarian” energy and his submission to Rose’s immature whims that could even remotely compete with any valuable core feature of Rose’s fiancé.

Pumped by chad and damaged forever: Grandma telling us about getting some hot, steamy romance in 1912

But instead we are lead to believe the polar opposite, to even cheer for it! That Rose readily, in the blink of an eye, would betray her future husband – Cal, the very man who had bought her the ticket for a luxury cruise on the most expensive ship to date and gifted her the most expensive diamond ever, the Louis XV.-era “Heart of the Sea” (one of the famous McGuffins of film history) – with an actual loser who sticks out like a sore thumb. Just to remind us all: Billy Zane’s Caledon Hockney is a tall and handsome man. He knows how to command respect, he knows his way around social interactions, he is a filthy-rich heir of an American steel empire (“new money”), he is apparently part of the elite power structure (I checked the screenshots, and yes: He does wear a masonic ring), and who would guarantee her (being “old money”) future survival and the survival of her offspring. And, despite being portrayed in typical Marxist fashion as a cruel dickhead, he is even so forgiving to not let her go but still take her back into his arms – even after she had not only painfully cucked him, but more than just once openly disrespected him in public. Upon close inspection we can thus see that the character of Rose isn’t just a young woman who acts irrationally out of youthful romantic passion. Instead we can now recognize the nasty truth about her: That she is probably one of the nastiest broads of all the pulp “memorable romantic drama tales” which are being sold to us as “the great love stories of our time”. Cameron’s immensely powerful and well-made film literally pulls all stops in order to successfully convince millions of viewers of the complete inversion of reality!

It still amazes me to write this and then to even read this myself, but: Apparently the entire spectacle of this film bends all the established rules and norms to purely serve the bottomless abyss of the spoiled, childish female ego. The plot frames Rose’s stupid, immature decisions as understandable, her solipsistic point of view is even framed without any second thoughts not only as compulsory necessary, but even morally right. She has the upper hand in all events that “somehow just occur to her”, thus the film completely absolves Rose of all guilt and responsibility, certainly an aspect with strong appeal to the female audience. The film also fleshes out the well-known premier female romantic/sex phantasy: To snatch for herself a “wild”, untamed, strong and dominating man, full of life energy and potential – and to dominate and domesticate him, to get him under her heels and completely suck him dry of all of his value until he is only shadow of his former self; and then in disgust to eventually get rid of him. Which is exactly how Jack got exploited by Rose in the first place!

Icebergs of the world unite against stupid female decision-making

Then we have the final sequence on the expedition ship, and 100 years old, dwarf-like Rose eventually throws the “Heart of the Sea”-diamond pendant back into the sea… am I the only one who thought this to be a dumb way to end such a movie? Yes, I know that the underlying, supposedly “poetic” meaning of this scene wants to signify that Rose learned the lessen of life: That none of the wealth and chasing the money matters. That instead it’s the story of one’s own life that really matters. And yet, this ending just doesn’t work for me, I don’t consider it to be a convincing poetic way of ending the film. My personal suggestion for a much more spectacular and even tragic romantic ending would be this: Have Rose sell the zillion dollar diamond pendant, then buy her own yacht, have her die on that yacht and then let the yacht sink instead of just throwing the diamond into the sea. 🙂

So, to sum the exoteric interpretation up: This film depicts the inner turmoil, personal character issues and bad decisions of a young upper class woman and frames them as the seminal “great love story”, and not to forget, as a fable for female liberation. If Walt Disney poisoned the minds of young girls, and the TV series “Sex and the City” is to poison the minds of 30+ women, who have already hit the wall, then James Cameron’s “Titanic” serves as the stage of mind programming sandwiched in-between, for teenage and twen girls and boys. This film programs (young) women to whore themselves out to losers, to opt for “liberating”, destructive decisions and it programs young men to become “romantic” losers, to destroy themselves in the process and to accept such a fate as inevitably being part of “the great love we all seek, but seldom find”. And this is really supposed to be “the greatest love story of all time”? Hey Shmuel, are you effing kidding me? Do you really think I’m THAT stupid?


2) The esoteric story behind “Titanic”

I now wish to propose an additional, more in-depth interpretation of this film. The further scrutinizing of this movie leads us towards an abyss to which even our post-Yugoslav buddy Žižek apparently doesn’t want to go. Mainly because Žižek himself as a modernist is a materialist, a naturalist and a pragmatist. Unfortunately those points of view make it impossible for him to take a closer look into the depth of symbolic meaning which this film contains. Let’s accept for the sake of this further analysis, that Žižek’s modus operandi is not the ultimate way, and that the manipulation of symbols and archetypes in visual arts is being deliberately undertaken, and not necessarily for just somewhat banal, pragmatic purposes.

I have to admit that I’m not a particular fan of James Cameron’s films. But I first wish to propose the hypothesis that James Cameron himself, while not being known as the greatest intellectual of modern cinema, is highly knowledgeable about narrative archetypes and very adept in their manipulation. For instance this analysis of “Terminator 2 – Judgement Day” by Mike Hill clearly proves his mastery in employing core human narrative archetypes – both as part of the overall story structure, as well as in detailed visual codes, which we might not be able to always consciously decipher, but which our subconscious certainly will pick up on and process. Being versed in archetypes and myth also means he does not use symbols and codes randomly, but purposefully – and this is the very definition of symbolic working.

Now please bear with me here…

The first elements which lead me to truly made me re-think my impression of “Titanic” were the quasi-religious undertones of some core sequences of the film on the one hand, and a kind of blasphemous hubris pervading other significant moments. You’ve got the hubris of all the people on this ship, owner Bruce Ismay and her fiancé Cal claiming at one point that “God himself couldn’t sink this ship”. Everyone is talking this up with a blasphemous undertone: “Wow, it’s the best ship ever”. And then we have the pseudo-religious synth-choir Enya-like voices (and believe me, those synth sounds already sounded cheesy even back in 1997!) in the “Take her to Sea, Mr Murdoch”-sequence, when the visuals celebrate the size and powerful glory of the ship. Those voice-like synth choirs reappear when the ships is sinking, once the glass dome cracks and the power of water floods the entire grand staircase hall and destroys the wooden hallways of the ship. This time the music underscores the nightmarish destruction of the man-made structure with an equally religious undertone, which all unto itself wouldn’t be necessary at all. So why are those quasi-religious undertones put on top of purely secular images and topics? Is this movie actually about theological themes? Or does it maybe deal in those moments with some kind of godhead, or what?

And then there’s a very interesting connection I just recently stumbled upon, of the English character “Spring Heeled Jack”, a demon figure, an entity in English folklore of the Victorian era:

Left: Spring Heeled Jack as depicted by an anonymous artist (English penny dreadful, circa 1860)
Right: Spring Heeled Jack penny dreadful ad (January 8th, 1886)

This “Jack” is some kind of a devil-like figure – if you look up ”Spring Hill Jack”, you will find that even he looks a bit like the character of “Batman”. The stories about him tell that he would leap around and steal other men’s women. For instance he would steal your young bride – and what does the Jack character in the movie do? Jack steals Billy Zane’s young bride! He plucks the “Rose” prematurely!

My proposition is, that “Jack Dawson” really is a kind of demonic figure, and a rather Promethean, or “Luciferian” (“Lucifer” is Latin for “the bringer of light”) character to be exact, because he seems to be a kind of mentor or liberator for Rose: He purports to be leading her to a bright future and a to better, more liberated way of life – when the ugly truth is, that he most likely stems from hell and that he will lead not only Rose to hell, but the entire ship as well. There are in fact several key detailed aspects which fit this idea of Jack being a kind of “Lucifer” figure. First of all, take another look at the “Take her to Sea, Mr Murdoch”-sequence. At the climax of this sequence Jack triumphantly cries out: “I’m the king of the world!” and the camera floats majestically around him as the centre of gravity, completely disregarding his Italian buddy Fabrizio who is standing next to him…

“I’m the king of the woooorld” – uh wait a minute Jack, isn’t that supposed to be the other sulfuric guy with the horns?

This dialog bit always sounds like a typical James-Cameron-like completely over-the-top exclamation of individual exhilaration and joy of a young man on the greatest cruise ship ever to sail the seas. But if we accept the hypothesis that Jack is Lucifer/the devil, then this dialogue bit of DiCaprio isn’t just a grand, silly line, but a statement of his actual role and function as the de facto king of this fallen world (albeit just for a limited time). And yes, it is his character that makes the entire story work. He is the most important character, even more crucial than Rose. He, and not Captain Smith, is the literal “king of the microcosm universe” aboard of Titanic.

Another element from the same sequence that always used to strangely bother me were the dolphins, that Jack and Fabrizio were observing from the bow of the ship. From a purely naturalistic point of view this cute detail just shows the power and beauty of Titanic, the visual realism in depicting such a situation and maybe a kind of moment of unification between man-made machine and untouched nature. But keep in mind that Cameron’s “Titanic” is not a National Geographic presentation, and this is not a National Geographic moment either. From a symbolic, esoteric point of view this scene depicts something entirely different. Cameron is an American WASP guy, so he is part of the Western-European tradition of symbols and myths. This means we are safe to analyze the symbolic elements in this movie according to European myths. And in Graeco-Roman antiquity dolphins were said to embody the souls of drowned sailors – reborn in dolphin shape and thus prone to follow ships sailing out on the high sea. If we take this symbolic meaning into account, then it’s no wonder that the devil would rejoice at the sight of dead sailors and that he would very much look forward to the moment when he would eventually accomplish his task, and gets as many passengers as possible of this very ship to drown and then lead them right into hell, too.

Our sexy demon Jack Di Caprio smiling at the sight of reincarnated souls of drowned seamen

Jack won the tickets for “Titanic” by chance in a game of luck, of gambling. Such kind of games were traditionally associated with the devil and/or demonic activity and they were frowned upon or even downright prohibited by state or church authorities, because they promoted the deliberate impulse to bend the luck of a situation to your will (a.k.a. cheating) and tempting fate (i.e. God) to favor one’s own egotistic intents – all of which was traditionally considered ungodly, because they breached the 2nd and 8th commandments.

That’s Jack’s “very lucky hand”

So let’s get back to Rose now! She is confined by her class, you know. But this whole story isn’t just merely a “grand love story”, but it’s actually a narrative of moving out of tradition. Here the entire ship of Titanic represents the old world and the old way of doing things: Patriarchy, nobility, old money and new money, structures of society in the sense of social norms, highly refined manners and hierarchy classes. And what demon Jack does is, he is basically initiating Rose into a kind of revolutionary (i.e. “Luciferian”) attitude: To simply throw all of tradition away, and instead to be a strong, independent woman – the very definition of a modern feminist. And I’d wager that this is the true meaning of the iconic sequence at the end of the movie, when Rose arrives in New York City and passes by the Statue of Liberty: To begin her new “Luciferian-ally liberated” life in the “New World” with the new surname of her “Luciferian mentor” (“Rose Dawson”), as if she had got married to him. We will take another look at this crucial aspect later…

Ms. Jack Dawson is now ready to live her life of female sexual liberation under the Statue of Liberty

Rose is sassy, she acts and feels like a rebel against the old order. She is full of pride and considers herself “too good” for the upper class. Her pride makes her not want to serve that order – pride being the root of all sin and evil, now that’s the classic Luciferian motive. She doesn’t want to do any of the things that her class does (“Non serviam!”). Rather she feels contempt for all of their ways and for what they make her do and represent. Instead she desires something else: She wants to go drink beer and ride horses – not sitting inside, but spreading her legs (!); in those days to ride a horse like a man was a highly controversial thing for a woman to do. And Jack readily strings her along: “Hey, I’ll show you how to do all of that. How to drink beer, we’ll ride the roller coaster, we’ll throw up” – and then they spit loogies! Jack leads Rose into doing vulgar things – again, this is not just campy fun, this is a war on the traditional social order, which is what the whole subversive point of the movie is.

Demon Jack and receptacle Rose engage in revolutionary rounds of “spitting the fin de siècle away””

And there are even more class-warfare elements to notice: Rose is into Picasso. She doesn’t like classical art and she thinks that Picasso is the next big thing. But Billy Zane laughs at it, he snubs it, hand waves it. You might be tempted to think that this is just a popular gag calibrated to the low level of erudition of the average movie going audience, which knows nothing about the art of painting, but surely has heard at least the name of “Picasso” somewhere before – but it’s not. Because Picasso himself was a communist, he was a leftist revolutionary. Take his large famous painting “Guernica”: It is not just statement “about the horrors of war” in general terms; it’s about the horrors of the fight of Spanish communist guerrilla terror groups desperately trying to violently engineer a communist revolution in Spain during the 1930s – and eventually failing). So Rose is receptive to the “revolutionary” impulses of modern, debased (and debasing) art.

Rose turns out to be a willing receptacle for Jacks revolutionary, demonic impulses. And since she’s contemporary in her psychology as well, she of all people brings up Sigmund “I-want-to-fuck-my-mother” Freud in a quite cringe-worthy way in the famous dialogue scene right after Jack’s “King of the world”-moment. They are talking about the ship when Bruce Ismay, the owner of White Star Line, explains how they came up with the name “Titanic”. He talks about their preoccupation with state-of-the-art technology and the mere size and power of the ship – when Rose’s bratty attitude kicks in. Maybe foreshadowing the ridiculous character of “Rey” in the Disney Star Wars-prequels, Rose is being depicted as super smart as well – and consequently, out of all possible topics for a good conversation, she brings up phallic stuff, because who doesn’t in such situations! She communicates to Ismay “Dude, your ship is just like your stupid phallus”, thereby introducing a completely inappropriate sexual undertone into the conversation, while scoffing at anything created by men and by masculine ingenuity. The undermining sexual subtext further escalates when Rose clicks with Jack’s (demonic) lewdness as well. She is so thoroughly fascinated by his pencil drawings of filthy Parisian prostitutes (!), that her own lewdness kicks in. And consequently she asks Jack to draw her like he drew those prostitutes, in fact telling him “Jack, I want to be your whore now. Please, er… draw me!”. If you think about it, this literally turns Jack into the Larry Flint or Pierre Woodman-pornographer of “Titanic”, a ridiculous figure to imagine.

Rose already feels “confined” and claustrophobic when she enters aboard Titanic, she calls Titanic “a slave ship” and describes herself as being in chains on it. Yes, she finds the class divide and expectations on her stifling to the point of attempted suicide, but to compare her privileged first class ship experience to the experience, those kidnapped to be slaves went through, is just stupid. And as stupid as Rose is, Jack willingly offers her the proverbial bite from the forbidden apple and she readily lets herself get initiated her into his way of life. And the ritual element of initiation is another key archetypal plot element, which fits my Luciferian proposition as well: Because an initiation usually involves a descent into the dark, into a kind of abyss, and from there a transformation and eventually re-emergence or rebirth as a newly formed person, ready to take on life. And this is precisely what demon Jack manages to accomplish: He leads Rose down into the belly of Titanic, right through the fiery and steamy compartments of the boiler room (i.e. towards and right through fiery pits of hell), defiles her innocence (i.e. takes her virginity, for „virtus diaboli in lumbis est” – „the power of the devil is in his loins“), thereby transforming her and then leads her back to the surface into a symbolic arrangement of some kind of wedlock with plans for a new mutual life. When they’re back again on deck and the ship hits the iceberg, Rose is wearing a white-blueish dress that resembles a wedding gown, and Jack’s dark jacket for that moment appears like the blazer of a wedding suit, signifying a deliberately submissive connection as “wife” to her new “husband”:

Rose as the demon’s new “bride”

And to little surprise devil Jack can be said to be indirectly responsible for the ship hitting the iceberg, as well. Because Officer Murdoch and the two sailors responsible for keeping watch didn’t recognizing the iceberg early enough, since they got distracted by watching Jack and Rose kiss passionately on deck after returning from their old-timer car sex scene in the cargo compartment of Titanic. And finally in their final scene together in the cold sea water Jack preaches to her about the ins and outs of that very new life of hers; and when his deviant work is finally accomplished, he can vanish and travel back to the hellish dark abyss from whence he came.

So Rose basically represents the successful seduction of that era of woman, out of the social norms and the hierarchy and the social class structure into being a revolutionary. Coincidentally this occurs probably around the time of the suffrage period. Just take the series of black and white photos the film shows to us at the end of Rose’s new, Jack-inspired life: She didn’t want to be married, so she wanted to go and do all this man-like stuff, like road-ride roller-coasters, drinking cheap beer, flying planes, being an actress; it seem like she had a fun-filled life. And because she chose to be “a modern woman”, a man is nowhere to be seen. Did you notice that? At the end she doesn’t die with a husband by her side, she dies completely alone. Her daughter (or niece) is with her during her scenes in the movie, but where is a man? Or is there a husband anywhere to be seen in those photos? How did she get to have that child? Did she magically materialize it out of her body through sheer power of her Jack-induced demonic will or what? I’d say it’s not unlikely that at some point of her life she even “accidentally” got knocked up by some guy she used to be involved with, when her biology wanted to sabotage her egotistic life plans. I’d also wager that such a pregnancy most certainly wouldn’t have deterred her from her continuing on her autonomous life path. In such a situation, my guess is that she wouldn’t have had any qualms about aborting the fetus.

Damn’, where is your man, Rose? And where’s the likely abortion?

3) The apocalyptic termination of an entire age

This movie does not merely feast on the end of the old world – it wants to push the old order right over the cliff and into the abyss: Because, you know, Jack says that your time’s up, that you old people with all of your old ways and stuff, and your stupid fossil steam engine technology, you all just need to totally die. An interesting coincidence with this aspect is, that “Titanic” was one of the movies leading up to the Y2K scare of the year 2000 and of the notion of an impending doom soon to befall the Western world. The ideas of impending global environmental catastrophe were already being introduced into the mainstream discourse by professional scam artists like Fritjof Capra (“Gaia”) or Al Gore (“An inconvenient truth”).

The indicators of doom, of impending revolutionary change can be literally found everywhere in the movie. This is because the ship as a symbolic microcosm represents the entire era with its power structure that is destined to come to an end. And not because it’s transitioning towards something better, but because it’s in fact transitioning into something more revolutionary. Hence there are all those weird references to an entire world coming to an end. That’s why there’s the priest at the end giving the speech quoting the Apocalypse, and the desperate passenger in front of Rose and Jack praying the 23rd psalm – all of those elements aren’t just random stuff, they are deliberately placed symbols. And they are to ridicule the old world with its old, outdated religion that obviously can’t save them all from sinking.

Demon Jack insults the man praying the 23rd Psalm: “Hey, will you walk a bit faster to that valley of death?!”
Below: The Catholic priest reciting Revelation 21, 1-4 about the end of the old world.

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was the “9/11 event” of its day. And Cameron’s “Titanic” subtly plays with the power of cataclysmic ideas as well, which increases the traumatizing potential of the movie for the average modern viewer. The way the dark sea and the iceberg are being depicted, sub-communicates, that nature is taking some kind revenge on human state-of-the-art technology – and that – who would have guessed it! – any resistance by us humans is futile, that we are to accept death. But even after the shit hits the iceberg and water is coming from everywhere, none of the aristocrats actually believe that the boat will sink. Cameron clearly depicts this cognitive dissonance delusion, that they think, they’re literally above death, because of their money, i.e. the boat, they’re floating on. But the old world is going down and, like cattle to be culled, they all just cannot fathom it. When the ship is finally gradually sinking the masses of passengers form swarms like disorganized and feeble mammals, trying to survive in ridiculous ways, yet most end up getting crushed by the wreckage of the ship or drowning in cold, deadly sea water. Many deliberately designed sequences of almost apocalyptic nature depict this as a process of brutal destruction by the unleashed forces of nature – as if patriarchal, white Western civilization was to face the manifest destiny of complete defeat and symbolic annihilation.

Jack says: The time of his age is running out. Oh, and by the way, mother nature will brutally destroy you.

Of course the unsettling truth behind this is, that the end of the “old world” with the beginning of World War I in fact was and is the great European trauma of the 20th century. It destroyed entire nations, dethroned kings and emperors, established communism as a political force and ushered in the ugly world of industrial and technological modernity we now live in today. Through highly symbolic imagery Cameron at once foreshadows this catalyzing historic shift, yet at the same time draws a parallel to the year of 1997 when the film was released, thereby telling the audience that its fears of the impending new century are legitimate, that they too were standing at the threshold of a new revolutionary age, and that the majority of them would be destined to die too – either through the forces of technology or through the forces of “mother nature”, or through both.

Again such ideas are nothing new. They can be found in the writings, speeches and white papers of many elite technocratic visionaries, like George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russel, Aldous Huxley or H. G. Wells. Just like his contemporary Ridley Scott or his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow (who for instance directed the ridiculous lesbian CIA-thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” about the supposed capture of Osama Bin Laden), Cameron seems to enjoy excellent contacts into elite circles and a lot of background support, so it’s not that surprising that a guy like Cameron would have been given all the money, machinery and publicity to produce a mass culture product like this film, that would spread and disseminate those very subliminal messages far and wide into the collective world consciousness. And Cameron has already written and directed other successful film which deal with the same futuristic, apocalyptic tropes (e.g. the his two “Terminator” movies with their apocalyptic battles, trans-humanist visions and the concept of “skynet”). James Cameron seems to be obsessed with the abyss anyway. Heck, he made the movie “The Abyss” with its gooey water alien right before doing “Titanic”. And Cameron also made that stupid documentary “Aliens from the deep” which tries to argue that because many deep sea creatures look so weird, they must be aliens (no, I’m not joking)…

Brother, you are going down, down, down!

Pour conclure: It’s all deliberate social programming

A lot of the success and audience appeal of Cameron’s “Titanic” certainly hinges on its qualities as a “safe tragedy”. This way an audience can participate in the emotions of a shocking experience, but without having to physically be in the same situation. In Greek ritual theater of classical antiquity, high drama and tragedy was considered cathartic in nature, i.e. by seeing and emotionally experiencing a dramatic plot the viewer would get purified of his negative passions. This concept later can be found in Elisabethan drama as well, just take the example of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”: Many modern people mistake this play as a “great romantic love story”, when in fact is was conceived as a morality play. The audience was supposed to live through the emotions of this fated young love, only to eventually realize, that love without boundaries, purpose and rules was inevitably bound to end in self-destruction and death. And thus not to copy this way of “romantic love”. But in stark contrast to this ancient conception the purpose of traumatizing drama of modernity (often cloaked in the disguise of an entertaining movie experience) is not to cathartically purify the viewer, but to traumatize the viewer and thereby program the collective audience consciousness.

But why has it been so hard to find a product of Western pop culture (Hollywood films, pop music etc.) of the past six or seven decades without any inherent idiotic ideology or indoctrinating content? This is because e.g. Edward Bernays’s sophisticated concepts of PR and mass manipulation have been applied to practical use as psychological cultural warfare weapons against its own audience (in the case of “Titanic” on the youth of the late 1990s). But we can find the notion of utilizing mass entertainment for global scale social engineering with other high priests of modernity as well. Take his book “The Scientific Outlook”; in it at one point Sir Bertrand Russel writes about the very power of entertainment as effective means of indoctrination, and in it he elaborates, that if you want to sell people on your ideology, then no – don’t be so stupid and do it with logic and facts! Instead, do it with “loud and powerful music and songs”, and you will be successful.

So when the time comes and Titanic is finally sinking, Rose wants to get off with Jack, after knowing him for maybe one day – and she wants to discard everything that she has, including your own original identity! That maybe sounds like a great, fun love story if you’re sixteen years old. But for anyone more mature and grown up, to throw away absolutely everything for one night of some skanky shagging with a drawing weirdo, is just an idiotic idea. Thus it should surprise nobody any longer, that Cameron’s romantic attack on 1990s youngsters was right from the start deliberately conceived as such, as we can read in his own book “Titanic: James Cameron’s Illustrated Screenplay” (Harper Perennial, January 1st, 1998.) and in Paula Parisi’s book “Titanic and the Making of James Cameron” (Newmarket Press, 1999.):

James Cameron first pitched „Titanic“ to Twentieth-Century Fox executives as “Romeo and Juliet on a boat” (Parisi, pag. 34) — “a story of tragic love set against a tragic event.” Some thought the fictional story would detract from the real events, but Cameron thought differently. Considering a dozen other films about „Titanic“, most dealing only with the historical situation, “there would have been little reason for audiences to line up around the block for this version if that’s all it had to offer.” Viewing the tragedy from the vantage of young lovers about whom the audience cared would make for a different experience than watching a docudrama. Cameron believed the fictional story and the real events could “turbo-charge each other,” whereas “they would not have been as powerful” apart (Illustrated Screenplay XII-XIII).

The film would be driven by „dramatic irony“, the characters being ignorant of what the audience knows — “death and doom are coming.” A creeping dread would inform “every moment, no matter how frivolous or innocent.” Lovers “walking round and talking endlessly about sweet nothings” would work, because “we know that possibly one of them will die and certainly that everything around them will be destroyed” (Illustrated Screenplay XI).

Cameron was resolved “the film had to be about first young love” (Parisi, pag. 96), teenage emotions being “the most intense you’ll ever have in life.” At sixteen or seventeen, he explained, there’s a feeling “you’re on the verge of a discovery unlike anything in the history of the world, even though most people on the planet have already passed that marker.” But when it’s happening to you, it “fills your universe.” So Rose was to be seventeen, Jack twenty. (Illustrated Screenplay XI)

Even though I researched it too, I unfortunately couldn’t find any clues from Jim Cameron about whether he had really conceived “Jack Dawson” as a demon or not… but hey, what do I know?! What *is* rather demonic, though, is the decision to cast an actor like DiCaprio for the role of “Jack”, be he demon or human. It has been clearly established by now, that cute Leonardo DiCaprio, who (just like Rose’s presumed daughter) grew up without father, but under the wings of a crazy mother, who had no scruples at all to send him out to tinseltown’s TV producers), was in fact a childhood sexual assault victim of Pedowood. He is a lifetime rape victim and it perfectly fits the Hollywood elite’s business model to deliberately choose – out of all of the hundreds of other available actors for the part – precisely such a mentally and sexually damaged actor, a poor soul terribly hurt for life, for the lead role of “the greatest love story of all time”. With full intent they cast him for the depiction of “the power of that special kind of love we all dream about, but seldom find” and thereby turned him – the childhood and teen rape victim of homosexual producers and crew members – in a cruel act of maximum inversion into a popular heterosexual sex object for millions of gullible teen girls and impressionable women to endlessly drool about. I’d say, that is really something to think about.

So anyway, there you have it:

43 thoughts on “A Rendezvous With Hell: The Titanic Abyss of Romantic Love in James Cameron’s 1997 Movie “Titanic” (Guest Post By Lucretius Carus)

  1. A very interesting aspect of this movie is the casting of Kate Winslet. She is shockingly unattractive for a female lead of a big-budget movie. This was most certainly done deliberately in order to broadly appeal to women. Consequently, even the ugliest woman could watch this movie and fantasize about a Giga-Chad like DiCaprio plowing her. After all, does she not have an ass not much bigger than Kate Winslet’s or a nose that is perhaps even a little bit appealing compared to the ugly schnoz on screen? To me, this woman looks quite mannish. Thus, Titanic does not work at all as sexual fantasy for men.

    In contrast, imagine James Cameron had put one of the hot 1990s actresses in this movie, e.g. Sarah Michelle Gellar. With her, Titanic may not have bombed, but you can bet that the additional number of male cinema-goers in this scenario would not even remotely have made up for the hordes of women who would not have bought a second ticket to watch it again. Plenty of women arguably would not even have wanted to watch this movie in the first place, had it had a super-hot female lead.

    1. Let’s praise your choice of a “Juicy” actress like SMG to make your point, and not some other goyim hottie.

      Though I like prime Kate Winslet enough, yeah, she was no Monica Bellucci.

    2. Choosing SMG, a full Jew, as your example of a hot 1990s actress was somewhat unexpected. :O

    3. I was not even aware that SMG is Jewish. My memories date back to watching one or two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on a CRT television. She is clearly an attractive woman, despite her Jewish heritage.

    4. For sure.

      Since Jews accept converts, and their children are considered Jews, there are Jews of every race and appearance. Even black and Asian Jews.

  2. Bravo. One of the best effortpoasts I’ve seen anywhere. This deserves wide circulation. TheMallardReborn would likely be interested as I believe he’s made similar observations about this movie (to which I’ve thankfully never been subjected.) My only concern would be attracting the usual idiots in here and increasing Aaron’s moderation load.

  3. I’ll say upfront that this was a thought-provoking read, as with all of Lucretius’ content. He’s a very knowledgeable guy in these subjects.

    Having said that, I wanted to go out of my way to point out that some of the “schizo” right-leaning guys out there need to get out more. Flat-earther types and the like. I mean, some of these were talking about “fake eclipses” and stuff recently. WTF?

    Anyone with experience living in 3rd world countries would have the common sense to not believe these Matrix-scope conspiracies. You can block the Sun for Los Angeles I guess, if you’re megalomaniac enough like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. But not for random Miguelito in the fields of Nicaragua at the exact same moments.

    1. It’s an unfortunate fact that some people, once they open their minds, seem unable to control what gets in. It’s like the open the floodgates, and then can’t help but accept anything that is different from mainstream views, like the flat Earth and fake eclipse examples you gave.

    2. @Karl I recently heard someone say it’s just as mentally lazy and maladaptive to disbelieve everything you hear as to believe everything. On the other hand, given the now naked hatred our elites feel for us, I’d say the former is at least safer (e.g. don’t get jabbed, avoid doctors and engineers, don’t have a DEI hire for your brain surgeon, etc.) The trouble is that figuring out the truth can be a full time job.

    3. aj:
      I agree, it’s just as stupid.

      Fortunately we don’t always need to figure out the truth. Some issues are pretty clear already (flat Earth). Others have been settled for so long that we can trust the established science (a bacterial infection can often be treated with antibiotics). Others may not be so obvious, but honestly, most of the time it’s not important to find absolute truth.

      There was a scandal in some Indian state, where state funds were allegedly embezzled through fake animals or animal feed or something:

      How did that turn out? I have no idea. Were they guilty? No clue. Was anyone unfairly punished? Don’t care.

      I think a lot of things can be filed away in the “Don’t give a darn”-folder. 🙂

  4. Excellent article. Long, but I read every word.

    I have a confession. I’ve never seen the film and have no desire to do so. It came out when I was 11 years old and my impression of it has not changed since then. It looks long, convoluted, unrelatable, boring. A case in point of 1990s narcissism and excess. Pure narcissism was the “orgasmic hand on the fogged up window” – like that was meant to be the height of filmmaking. I partly blame this trend for George Lucas going off the deep end with the Star Wars prequels.

    1. The first Star Wars prequel was released two years after Titanic, so I think you’ll have to hold it innocent here. 🙂

    1. @GLAS
      As Good As It Gets is the kind of movie that could not be made anymore today. You could do the story with a low-budget independent movie but you would have zero visibility. The idea of a movie made in 2024 being this entertaining, er, abrasive and having a decently large budget so that you can get a Hollywood star like Jack Nicholson would stretch credulity. Also, there is not even a young Jack Nicholson on the horizon. Today’s Hollywood stars seem to lack distinctive features. I cannot even think of one male actor I would describe as charismatic.

    2. Damn, society is going down like the Titanic!

      Did you like Helen Hunt in that movie? Much better than Kate Winslet.

    3. Kate Winslet sets a very low bar for female actresses. It is quite possible that she was, before DIE took over Hollywood, the ugliest female lead in a blockbuster movie. It is also quite telling that her acting career went nowhere. Cameron put her into some of the Avatar movies, as I just read. Yet, if you look at her filmography, it is quite obvious that Titanic was the high point of her career.

    4. I used to think Edward Norton would take the mantle of being on Nicholson or Dinero’s level, but it never happened.

    5. To be fair, Titanic was the high point in the career of everyone involved, Cameron included. He had Avatar and especially the two first Terminators, but Titanic’s cultural influence endures today more strongly than that of any of his other movies. So, you can hardly blame Winslet for not living up to that hype.

      Not trying to be a contrarian but, in part thanks to that hype, I personally know a few guys whose celebrity crush used to be Winslet, so she indeed does it for a lot of men. Again, she’s no Monica Bellucci, though she’s arguably a better actress.

    6. This is a good point. Cameron took a long hiatus after Titanic. I recall reading that Avatar could not come out sooner as he had to wait until CGI technology had reached a certain level of maturity. It could also be that he was not quite sure how to follow up such a hugely successful movie. A somewhat related phenomenon is the “sophomore slump” in the indie scene where the follow-up after a breakout record often does not do so well.

      My issue with Kate Winslet is that she did not have the stature to be in a James Cameron movie. I think a lot of people were quite surprised by Cameron casting her. Such a choice was completely atypical for him, considering that the strong females in his previous movies were also physically quite attractive. As I wrote in another comment, picking Kate Winslet as the female lead was likely a deliberate choice in order to better appeal to women. Thus, it is quite cynical. In a parallel universe, Titanic with a hot female lead like SMG would be a better movie, and perhaps people would have joked about the idea of replacing her with Kate Winslet. That woman was a prolific, yet somewhat obscure actress. She is absolutely not the kind of woman you would normally find in a 1990s Hollywood blockbuster.

  5. As with the other James Cameron blockbuster dissected here in recent times (The Terminator 2), I can’t help but like the movie by taking it at face value. Even so, when I watched it as a child on VHS (here they used to arrive a lot of months after theatrical release in those golden times), I still have the memory of asking my older sister “was Cal a bad guy?”.

    And after reading this, once you see, you cannot unsee…

    1. Well, let me say just this: you can’t make a movie glorifying a man cheating on his woman. This movie reminded me a lot of Bridges of Madison County. Women have a weird fantasy of infidelity. Cal took a spot from a woman to get a life boat. But why should women even get the first seats anyway? The water was subfreezing temperature. Even Superman would have died on the Titanic.

    2. But Superman flies!

      More seriously though, even the deception to take a spot on the lifeboats can be waved away by the old lizard-brain survival instinct. Cal was not noble by any means, but there were a few real-life rich people who died in the Titanic and actually were.

    3. Speaking of rich people, through all of the class warfare Cameron put into that movie……..he filmed much of it in Mexico to save money. Does this dude really give a fuck about American jobs?

    4. GLAS:
      I would not have died on the Titanic.

      Re: Cameron: Of course not. He cares about making the movie he wants in the most economic way possible.

    5. I remember this like yesterday. Through the whole ride home from the movie theater I argued with my family about why the men had to die first. The narrative is that we have a better chance of survival. Which is absolute bullshit in those conditions.

      Chivalry? Sure, that makes sense. Like the Captain practically killing himself. Or, “the band playing on.” But feminists argue our only difference is PHYSICAL strength. That flies on the face of the sacrifice those men took on that day.

    6. “Women and children first” makes sense if the women are still young and would go on to have many more children. A woman past menopause, however, is arguably more of a drain to society — tax receipts seem to support this view — whereas men are net tax contributors. In the case of some proto-feminist who barely managed to squeeze out one kid and probably did not even want to have children when she was put into that lifeboat, instead of a man, it is also rather doubtful if that was the best decision for society. On a related note, women undermined the notion of chivalry. You can bet that today’s men would be much less inclined to sacrifice their life for a random woman. But, ladies, do not complain. This is exactly what you wanted, after all. When you realize that a guy in his 50s who is in a below-average shape can easily push any woman aside, you will realize how much you have fucked up.

    7. Yes exactly. That’s what pisses me off. Women benefiting from the old school ways, but rejecting anything that doesn’t put them first.

  6. This movie is one in a series of 1990s movies that over relied on CGI. It set the table for our current Marvel universe. Cameron cut costs by using Winslet and DiCaprio ( only 14 y/o girls liked him back then). Winslet hasn’t done shit since, and DiCaprio has only become a good actor since working with Martin Scorsese.

    1. It is not clear why Scorsese wanted to work with DiCaprio. Perhaps this was his reward for his services as a Pedowood butt boy. Previously, Scorsese worked with charismatic but hardly handsome actors such as Robert DeNiro or Joe Pesci.

    2. Good point. I always wondered why Scorsese even wanted to work with a seemingly talentless actor. Robert Dinero isn’t the best looking guy, buy yeah amazing actor.

      Imagine if Scorsese ever teamed up with Sean Connery!

  7. Lucretius Carus sent me a new revision of his submission, adding 2,000 words to the original 6,000. If you have enjoyed his article, you may want to read it again.

  8. This is as good a place as any to point out that images aren’t loading for me in this blog. Strange. I even tried disabling AdBlock, but nothing.

    1. Since when is this the case? Images load fine for me. I am also not aware of this being a problem for other users but if it is, please let me know.

    2. I’m not really sure, but it’s been going on forever. Strange if it’s only me, because it happens both on PC and on the mobile.

    3. Do you see the images if you load pages of my blog on archive.org or any other archival website?

    4. There is probably a configuration issue in your browser. From the old dial-up days I know that browsers used to have settings to block images. Mobile browsers also have similar settings in order to prevent excessive data consumption when you are not on WiFi. Maybe try different browsers and see if the issue persists.

    5. Bear in mind that the banner picture with the busty cartoon chick does appear, so it’s only the in-post images that I’m having issues with.

      Anyway, I’ll bite the bullet and try with other browsers. I’m very partial to Mozilla for some reason.

    6. I also use Firefox. It could be that one of your plugins is messing with image loading. Maybe try disabling all plugins and afterwards, if this makes the images appear, re-enabling them one-by-one until you have found the culprit.

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