Category Archives: Titanic Cliches

Titanic Cliches of the Day

Once again time to see how Titanic gets used and abused as a cliché.

1. “A new development – company board chairman Jorma Ollila today said he will leave his post by 2012 – may lead you to wonder if the company isn’t merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Along with his announcement, Ollila said he would not “throw in the towel” at the Nokia before then.”
-Tracey E. Schelmetic on about Nokia chairman Ollila departing next year.

2. “On Friday April 29, 2011, as riots raged across the country, local television stations in Uganda were twiddling their thumbs. Like the band on the Titanic that played on as the ship sank, the TV stations were showing music videos, repeats of Mexican soaps, or feeds of the Royal Wedding in London.”
-Daniel Kalinaki writing in Daily Monitor about riots in Uganda and the failure of its television media to cover it.

1., Nokia Chairman of the Board Ollila Departing Next Year, 3 May 2011

2. Daily Monitor, You must worry when your TV shows soaps but no riots, 3 May 2011

Titanic Cliches of the Day

1. Global Ship Lease uses container ships to move goods you likely purchased online or locally. In theory the company makes a lot of money through fixed leases to transport cargo. But as Motley Fool points out, the company is $600 million in debt and not able to guarantee paying its loan obligations. This fact allows Sean Williams to opine:

“Global Ship Lease (NYSE: GSL) has logged a greater-than-300% gain in the past year, but if its debtors ever get their way, GSL could sink faster than the Titanic.”


Motley Fool, Is This Shipper The Next Titanic?, 21 Jan 2011

2. Pakistan has serious problems and recently began reorganizing the federal cabinet. This provoked harsh criticism as evidenced by an editor in Dawn:

‘In the present climate, that may be akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.’

When a government reshuffling gets the Titanic deck chair treatment, you know it looks bad or a bad comedy sketch.

Sify, ‘Pakistan Cabinet Overhaul Like Rearranging Titanic Deck Chairs’, 24 Jan 2011

Titanic Cliche of Day: Porn Like A Party On Titanic

Who mourns for porn? The porn industry is ailing as people have stopped buying and Internet piracy runs rampant. Peter Nowak wrote recently on Ask Men about the death of porn. The article is long and reports on the factors leading to its most serious decline in decades. Nowak then uses the Titanic to make a point:

With its first ever contraction, a decline that doesn’t seem to have an end, what sort of future does the porn business have? Will there even be porn stars to celebrate a few years from now? Or are these AVN Awards just one big party on the Titanic?

So porn is on a sinking ship with water slowly rising above the rails. At least there is no iceberg, no Captain Smith or Lord to blame. And once again Titanic makes an appearance in a way not thought possible in 1912.

Source:, The Death Of Porn, 13 Jan 2011

Titanic Cliche Roundup

A recent scan of news headlines proves Titanic is used by news editors to hook readers. Here is just a sample of recent news headlines that utilize Titanic in the headline.

Microsoft as the modern day Titanic; we all know how that ends
ZDNet (blog)

Titanic Vinashin could sink on first debt default?
VietNamNet Bridge

The Titanic Sinking Of The Denver Broncos: 10 Thngs That Will Right The Ship
Bleacher Report

EU fish policy is “sinking Titanic” say campaign groups

Titanic: The all purpose hook that can be recycled endlessly for sports, business, and environment news. Not to mention politics, entertainment, and weird stories as well. And likely a porn parody next.

Titanic Cliche of Day:Bette Midler Compares Las Vegas To Titanic

Bette Midler recently completed a concert series at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. During her time there, she saw the impact of the recession. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, she opined:

When asked if it was like performing on ill fated liner the Titanic – which sank on 5 April 1912 after hitting an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – Bette agreed, saying: “Yes. It kind of was.”

Thanks Bette! We sure can see how those 1500 people, without life jackets and dumped into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, sure resembles your performing in Las Vegas.

Source: Post Chronicle, Bette Midler Likens Caesars Palace Residency To Performing On Titanic, 26 Nov 2010

Titanic Cliche of the Day:Turning Titanic Takes Time

Justin Markman in an opinion piece for the Ventura County Reporter wrote:

What’s equally toxic is this Republican mass denial of the facts going on in this election season as the righties with their constant Obama-bashing refuse to concede that it takes time to turn the Titanic away from the rocks and hidden icebergs still floating just off the bow, and that it may take easily as long to correct as it took the Republicans and their corporate Wall Street and foreign corporate cartel overlords to get us into this Third World-like economic emergency.

This is a bad use of Titanic imagery. Titanic had little time to avoid colliding with the iceberg and in the end was unable to escape being damaged fatally by it. And saying it may take “easily as long to correct” is way off base unless you are arguing that like Titanic the iceberg is right ahead. As for his political opinion, that is up for you the reader to decide.

For poor use of Titanic imagery, Markman is awarded our never imitated Titanic Cliche of the Day Award complete with tacky iceberg martini glass.

Source: Ventura County Reporter, Turning The Titanic Takes Time, 28 Oct 2010

Cliche of the Day: Changing U.S. Post Office Like Fighting Over Titanic Desert Bar

Writing in the Journal Gazette Paul Carroll and Chunka Mui had this to say about trying to fix the old post office:

The debate over potential changes at the U.S. Postal Service is like a fight over the dessert bar on the Titanic. Raising first-class postage rates and eliminating Saturday delivery won’t matter much when the Postal Service hits the iceberg. And USPS will do just that, soon, unless there is a re-imagining of its mission.

Their article is about how, unless the Post Office realizes the digital age is here to stay, it will become like Kodak. Remember Kodak? When I was a kid, Kodak meant cameras and photographs. For a long time Kodak dominated until the digital age. It supplied materials for film processing, sold rolls of film, and cameras. Digital cameras and technology swept that all away leaving Kodak behind. At first the company tried holding on but as profits went down, it became clear that it had to face a whole new world. It had to either take advantage of it or end up in the dustbin like many businesses that folded when technology made them obsolete. The Post Office, the writers argue, faces the same problem.

The problem is huge for the old post office. It has a total monopoly on mail delivery in this country. You can put nothing in a mailbox except through an authorized official of the Post Office. And by law private delivery services cannot charge less than what the post office charges. Volume made money for the Post Office– letters, bills, catalogs, magazine subscriptions, and packages. Their only competition was from companies like United Parcel Service that delivered packages. Then the digital age hit allowing people to send messages–and money–electronically. Magazines and catalogs have begun shifting to web sites and mobile use ending their dependence on the costly mail. Some magazines offer web subscriptions and the ability to download their publication to your computer. In twenty years many will be reading their subscriptions electronically on portable displays or at home. Catalogs will shift as well. Why send out thousands of catalogs when a website is cheaper?

The Post Office faces a major crisis. Declining revenue means it cannot afford the salaries it once did. Nor can it afford all those fully paid pensions and health plans either. Merely raising rates and cutting service will do nothing unless it has a real idea of how it will survive in the digital age. Rates will continue to rise, service will only get worse. To carry the metaphor of Titanic a bit further, the day of passenger liners crossing the Atlantic and Pacific are gone. Unless the Post Office adapts, it will end up in decay and rot as the rest of the world leaves it behind.

Source: Journal Gazette, Postal Service Can Save Itself, Learn From Kodak, GM, 26 Jul 2010

Titanic Cliche of the Day-Ukiah Daily Journal

John Hendricks writing in the Ukiah Daily Journal about corruption wrote the following:

The helmsman of the Titanic was advised of a small ice flow off the bow. Not to worry. This ship is unsinkable. So we think of the governments of the United States. We best think again. Our politicians make P.T. Barnum and Bernie Madoff appear as two-bit rank amatuers.

Unless, of course, you believe that White Star Line switched Titanic for Olympic to collect insurance money (and it went horribly wrong).

Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, Sunday View: Corruption For All, 20 June 2010

Titanic Cliches of the Day Roundup

There have several Titanic cliches in the past few days. Time to give them their due!

First up is Hal Steger, vice president of marketing at Funambol who said:

“Symbian is a great platform, but it’s also huge. It’s the Titanic of mobile operating systems… lets hope it doesn’t suffer the same fate,” said Hal Steger, vice president of marketing at Funambol, which provides an open-source server-side platform used to synchronise data on mobile devices and PCs with Web-based services.

Titanic is to Symbian as water is to ice?

Total Telecom (Blog), Symbian Faces ‘Titanic’ Task To Go Open Source – Funambol, 16 June 2010

Second up is former US Interior Department Secretary Bruce Babbit on current secretary (and Obama appointee) Ken Salazar:

“I think Salazar is basically rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic,” Babbitt, who served as secretary for eight years under Bill Clinton, told Platts Energy Week.

Not very original. I wish I had a dime for every time the “rearranging deck chairs” cliche is used.

Mother Jones (Blog), Salazar “Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic” Says Babbit, 15 June 2010

Up next is a religious application. Southern Baptists are deciding on where to focus their evangelism. It sparked some internal debate as what was the best course of action. This prompted the following:

A former Southern Baptist president, Rev. James Merritt, compared the denomination’s present course to the Titanic sailing into an iceberg. “We’ve been sitting on our deckside lounges, watching this ship sail into the iceberg of declining baptisms, diminishing missions, and what is becoming a dead orthodoxy,” he stated.

AP via, Southern Baptists Approve New Evangelistic Effort, 16 June 2010

Finally not all uses of Titanic are cliche. Consider the following from Reason Online:

Ending offshore drilling because of this oil spill would be like ending shipping because the Titanic hit an iceberg.

At least that uses Titanic in a meaningful way rather than as a cliche. Bravo to Jesse Kline for proving you can use Titanic without a cliche.

Reason Online (Blog), Calls Increasing to Punish BP, Halt Drilling, 16 June 2010

Titanic Cliche of the Day: Governor Paterson & Titanic

According to New York Observer, Governor Patterson is on the attack against a fellow Democrat in the state senate. Senate Majority Leader Espada has stated that he would not vote for cuts that are slipped into weekly emergency budget extenders. This caused Paterson to throw some verbal bombs and naturally Titanic was invoked.

“That is absolutely incorrect—that is so obtuse,” Paterson said. “That is a gimmick designed to make everyone think everything is fine. He should have been an orchestra soloist on the Titanic.”

The imagery conveyed is odd. Is he trying to compare Espada to the Titanic musicians who played until the final moments? They are considered heroes and all perished . Or is Paterson trying to say Espada is a foolish one note musician about to be swallowed up by the sea (the sea, in this case a political one)? An odd way to use a cliche and quite muddy in meaning. One could argue that Paterson wants Espada to drown (metaphorically speaking). Paterson gets our Tacky Titanic Award For Clumsy Use of Cliche.

New York Observer, Paterson: Espada Would Have Done Well in Orchestra on the Titanic, 10 June 2010