when my ship comes in

The perceived incompetence of the ship’s captain.The image of the sinking ship always conjures up other traumatizing images of death by sea. Most notably by one of the pivotal paintings of romanticism,  the 1819  “Raft of the Medusa” by Theodore Gericault. The work was a political condemnation after the infamous shipwreck of the French frigate La Meduse, where more than a hundred people died on a makeshift raft after being abandoned by lifeboats. The captain cut them loose, left to their own sort which included murder and cannibalism while the passengers of higher social class and prestige secured their safety in life boats.

Vernet. Shipwreck. 1772. Read More:http://www.learnnc.org/lp/multimedia/6875

That Concordia refers to the roman goddess of harmony and peace is the self-destructive actions of a jilted lover directed towards her homeland, or the Costa Concordia is a metaphor for the excess of mass entertainment spectacles and food orgies that the cruise shipping industry has created, as well as, given the industrial age mentality, the perception of the customer as product to be fitted into a box and shipped. Anything to increase the share price and “investor sentiment.” Sort of, with limited or minimal adhesion to elevated safety standards since it now surfaces, dredged up, that the Costa line has a long list of quality issues which include but are not limited to ineffective equipment, fires, pilot error etc.

…The captain’s behavior is at the center of two probes, one led by Italian coast guard and one by Italian prosecutors, who are investigating in part whether Mr. Schettino’s conduct after the shipwreck fomented a disorderly evacuation….

Drowning is not so pitiful
As the attempt to rise
Three times, ’tis said, a sinking man
Comes up to face the skies,
And then declines forever
To that abhorred abode,
Where hope and he part company —
For he is grasped of God.
The Maker’s cordial visage,
However good to see,
Is shunned, we must admit it,
Like an adversity. ( Emily Dickinson )

…An Italian judge has placed the captain of the stricken cruise liner which capsized off Italy’s west coast under house arrest, allowing him to leave jail, his lawyer Bruno Leporatti told Reuters on Tuesday….

Julian Barnes:All that straining—to what end? There is no formal response to the painting’s main surge, just as there is no response to most human feelings. Not merely hope, but any burdensome yearning: ambition, hatred, love (especially love)—how rarely do our emotions meet the object they seem to deserve? How hopelessly we signal; how dark the sky; how big the waves. We are all lost at sea, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us.Read More:http://venetianred.net/2012/01/09/hope-and-despair-and-gericault-in-2012/

Captain Francesco Schettino was arrested a day after the disaster accused of manslaughter and abandoning the ship before all of the people were evacuated. Prosecutors say he also refused to go back on board when requested by the coastguard.

The captain has been branded a reckless show-off who refused to listen to orders and operated the ship as it if was a speed boat.

Schettino, 52, was being questioned by prosecutors Tuesday following his arrest in the wake of Friday’s disaster that has left at least 11 people dead….

---In a (now 20 year old essay) David Levi Strauss writes of Witkin: "A dedicated student of those twin instructors, excess and extremity, he is drawn to and draws his literal subjects from the lost and the despised." It seems to me that this latest work is wholly in keeping with that characterization.---Read More:http


…Mario Palombo, a former captain of the doomed Costa Concordia with whom Schettino served as first mate for four years, told investigators that he was “too high-spirited and a dare devil,” local media reported.Read More:http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/17/costa-concordia-captain-francesco-schettino-placed-under-house-arrest-as-five-new-bodies-are-found/

…The Italian coastguard pleaded in vain for the captain of the capsized Italian cruise ship the Costa Concordia to return on board to oversee the evacuation but he refused, according to what a leading Italian newspaper said was a recording of the conversation.( ibid. )

---The film, set in the early 1900’s, stars Rogers as Doctor John Pearly, a dealer of extremely alcoholic patent medicine. Doc decides to give up the booze-pushing business and buys a rundown steamboat, which he fixes up with the help of an engineer (Francis Ford) who is addicted to Pearly’s potent brew. Pearly bets his fixed-up tub against the best steamboat on the Mississippi in a winner-take-all race, but he gets sidetracked when his nephew Duke (John McGuire) is sentenced to hang for murder. With the help of Duke’s betrothed, Fleety Belle (Anne Shirley), Doc searches the river for the one witness who can prove that Duke isn’t guilty, a prohibitionist preacher who calls himself “The New Moses.”--- Read More:http://www.boozemovies.com/2010/10/review-steamboat-round-bend-1935.html


“We abandoned the ship,” Mr. Schettino said.

“With a hundred people aboard you abandoned the ship!” Cmdr. De Falco responded.

“I didn’t abandon any ship. It’s that the ship disbanded and we were catapulted into the water,” Mr. Schettino responded.

As the ship began to list to starboard, scores of passengers scrambled to the other side and began to clamber down its upturned hull using a rope ladder. Cmdr. De Falco called Mr. Schettino again, demanding that he inventory the number of women and children still on board, and saying coast guard rescuers had already reached the vessel…

---Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields, and Joan Bennett in "Mississippi"---Read More:http://collections.mocp.org/detail.php?t=objects&type=browse&f=materials&s=Gelatin+silver+print&record=501

…”Where are your rescuers?” Mr. Schettino said.

“My air rescue is on the prow. Go. There are already bodies, Schettino!”

“How many bodies are there?” Mr. Schettino asked.

“I don’t know. I’ve heard of one. You are the one who has to tell me how many there are! Christ!” the commander said.Read More:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204468004577166693245696360.html

---Copley. The crew depicted in the dinghy may have had Americans in its midst, as the merchant ship from which it was launched hailed from Boston. Basically, though, we're here seeing an American artist's painting of one very extraordinary scene from the everyday life of a British citizen as it took place in the West Indies, 29 years after the event occurred. Read More:http://arthistory.about.com/od/from_exhibitions/ig/american_stories_met_lacma/poel_mma_1109_02.htm

Willard Spiegelman: Géricault (1791-1824) revolutionized the depiction of real events, taking for his subject a scandal only a few years old and “romanticizing” it. While the painter visited hospitals and morgues to study the moribund and cadavers, the figures on the raft here hardly look as though they have just suffered through dehydration, starvation, cannibalism and madness. They are muscular. Some are beautiful. …

…”The Raft of the Medusa,” while maintaining the symmetry of Poussin, changes painting once and for all. It is sculptural and architectural, but depicts no architecture. Two great overlapping triangles, suggesting both a ship’s sails and the ocean’s waves, define the space. They also contain 19 human figures (one barely visible, four others quite obscure) in various postures, combinations and stages of life: the living, the dying and the dead, old and young, black and white, male and—perhaps—female. Some have faces; others turn away from us. We can read the painting both from left to right and from bottom to top….Read More:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204119704574236393080650258.html

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