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A scene from James Cameron's "Titanic," a movie based on actual events, kids.
A scene from James Cameron's "Titanic," a movie based on actual events, kids.

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Yes, Virginia, the Titanic was a real thing Add to ...

Kids these days were sailing along through life just fine thinking that James Cameron’s 1997 epic Titanic was a grandiose, if cheesy, love story set on a fictional ship, but with all the news of the disaster’s 100th anniversary came the iceberg of truth – and embarrassing admissions such as this one: “I didn’t know Titanic actually happened, thought it was just a film.”

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That’s a real tweet, and there have been more like it this month. Enough, in fact, that a Tumblr feed has been created to collect them all.

“Nobody told me titanic was real...? How am I just finding this out?!” one young woman tweeted about a week before the 100th anniversary of the 1912 tragedy in which more than 1,500 people died.

For others, realizing that the movie was actually based on a real event brought home the potential dangers of seafaring voyages. “The titanic was real holly s--- im never gooing on a cruise,” a young man tweeted on April 6.

While several young people have expressed their surprise after learning the truth and left it at that, some have acknowledged that their ignorance might be, well – they have an inkling that it’s probably not good.

As one Twitter user wondered on April 2: “Is it bad that I didn’t know the titanic was real?”

Most people would probably answer that yes, it is bad. That would include one of the many who responded on Twitter by saying they were “weeping for the future.”

But before we start crying like old Rose shedding tears for long departed Jack, bless his soul, let’s pause for a second and acknowledge that the Tumblr feed has collected tweets from a grand sum of 12 people. Have you been on Twitter? Get ready for another shock: It’s not hard to find a dozen idiots there. Still, maybe those young people are a representative sample. Regardless, they have their defenders.

“Surely our socially engrossed youth cannot be expected to know everything that happened a hundred years ago when we can’t be bothered to spend too much cash on education, being far too busy making contemporary history of an especially difficult kind,” CNET blogger Chris Matyszczyk wrote.

Another apologist blogged that the uproar was simply “generational snobbery” arising from the affront that “today’s kids don’t care about the same things we care about.”

Pity the poor youth who don’t care about the things that are so important to their parents and who have such trouble distinguishing between blockbuster fiction and the historical record.

Wait until they find out that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t really a vampire hunter.

Follow on Twitter: @Dave_McGinn

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