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New York Post: Lost Titanic Submersible Too Woke To Float
It took some effort, but Team Murdoch found a way to make the missing sub a Culture War.
Searchers appear to have had no luck finding that private Titanic -visiting submersible that lost contact with its base ship Sunday morning, and the vessel will sometime today pass the 96 hours its air supply was supposed to last, if it hasn't already. We don't have any real insights to share, other than the same things everyone else has been saying, like "What a horrible way to die!" and "Really? People paid a quarter-million dollars to ride in a big thermos bottle piloted by a guy with a video game controller?" Mostly, the story makes me think of my own horrible claustrophobia, which isn't exactly about being trapped in a sub, but this story gives me the shivers anyway. At least I know I'd never get inside a contraption like the Titan even if I did have a spare $250,000 to waste on something that wasn't a perfect scale diorama of the set of the original 1979 Broadway set of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, only with My Little Pony figurines.
Fortunately, the New York Post yesterday translated the story into a vernacular that we've become quite familiar with around here: Rightwing grievance. Honestly, after writing for Wonkette since 2012, we're far more familiar and comfortable with that than the terror of contemplating mortality. Gaze upon the Post's work, ye mighty, and tremble!
You see, the Post found a 2020 video interview (which has since been removed from both the website and from YouTube, which is where it had the date attached) in which Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate and pilot of the lost submersible, discussed the business and the techie stuff about the machines, and his plans to do "adventure tourism" that would include not only trips to the Titanic wreck but also to deep sea thermal vents and to other, lesser-known shipwrecks. While most of the discussion was about the tech stuff, Rush also explained the image he wanted the company to project, and that's what got the Post exercised.
When I started the business, one of the things you’ll find, there are other sub-operators out there, but they typically have, uh, gentlemen who are ex-military submariners, and they — you’ll see a whole bunch of 50-year-old white guys. [...]
I wanted our team to be younger, to be inspirational and I’m not going to inspire a 16-year-old to go pursue marine technology, but a 25-year-old, uh, you know, who’s a sub pilot or a platform operator or one of our techs can be inspirational.
So we’ve really tried to get, um, very intelligent, motivated, younger individuals involved because we’re doing things that are completely new.
Most of us might read that as dopey marketing talk about having an adventurous, youthful image, like Richard Branson when he was still youthful 30 years ago. It's also worth noting that Rush didn't say he would never hire any 50-year-old white guys (he's 61 himself now).
Ah, but he mentioned "white guys," so the Post frames it as deliberate — and ultimately fatal — wokeness, because see what happens if you don't have middle-aged white military veterans running things? So the story's first two paragraphs very subt l y imply that Rush has no one but his own anti-white racism to blame for the unfolding disaster:
The OceanGate CEO who is trapped on a 22-foot submersible on an ill-fated voyage to see the Titanic wreck once explained how he didn’t hire “50-year-old white guys” with military experience to captain his vessels because they weren’t “inspirational.”
Stockton Rush, 61, added that such expertise was unnecessary because “anybody can drive the sub” with a $30 video game controller.
The Post also made its own video, embedding the scary woke clips of Rush rejecting expertise if it came from white men:
Now, the Post didn't directly say that the submersible is in trouble because the foolish CEO may have hired women and minorities, but it didn't have to. The accusation of "wokeness" made it to Fox News, where Jesse Watters complained that the OceanGate CEO recklessly ignored "regulations" — but aren't those burdensome, Jesse? — and then brought up the Post story:
He’s quoted as saying he didn’t hire a bunch of 50-year-old White guys with military experience because he didn’t want his vessels to be—not inspirational for a younger generation. I don’t care who is in these vessels, I just want them to be experienced and safe. And if you’re gonna be woke, you might have to—”
Watters stopped himself before finishing the thought that Wokeness Kills, adding "I don’t want to say it because I don’t want to put these people’s legacies through that, but, I don’t see how they’re ever going to find this thing again."
Other rightwing media sources weren't anywhere near as delicate as Jesse Watters. Wingnut podcaster Jeff Younger proclaimed on Twitter that "Being woke makes you stupid and deadly." Some rightwing outfit calling itself the "Conservative Media Center" tut-tutted on Twitter that
even underwater Titanic submersible companies aren’t safe from ESG and woke hiring practices. One has to wonder if hiring based on “inspiration” instead of skill might have played a role in this tragedy.
Expanding on the theme, the linked article pointed out how stupid Rush was, because after all, "the most 'inspirational' person on the planet is an almost 52-year-old white guy. His name is Elon Musk."
No, really, we linked to it, you can go point and laugh if you want to.
Gab founder Andrew Torba, who loves him some racist conspiracy theories because he is a Nazi, tweeted that the problem isn't just one woke submersible, heavens no: All of America's infrastructure is about to crumble because it's not being planned and built by white men, we guess. Retweeting a short video about the Post story, Torba warned,
Wait until you find out how many critical infrastructure operations are doing the same thing. Buckle up, complex systems require meritocracy—not skin color quotas—to operate and maintain.
So when civilization falls apart next week, remember, it's all because not enough old white men run things.
Now, there's lots of wider discussion suggesting that Rush may have ignored warnings from experts about the safety of his machines, and that he took entirely too many unnecessary risks in how he built and operated the submersible, and those are completely legitimate questions that are likely to be answered in the course of investigating what went wrong. They also have exactly fuck-all to do with "wokeness."
Also, I should probably include amoderator notehere: Our commenting rules remain in effect. Tasteless jokes are OK but gross, but no, you do not get to fantasize about who you would like to be dying two miles under the sea instead of the people aboard the Titan . If you think something might be an edge case, how about you just don't say it, please.
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