Saturday, January 21, 2012

Everyone's talking about

The Costa Concordia this week.  What with the recording of the coast guard being released, I don't blame anyone one bit.

One of the many interesting things I read about this incident was the huge blowup people are creating about no "women and children first" in the lifeboats.  We have women complaining that men were being selfish by not letting them have all the spaces.  We have men angry that women - who are self described equals with men and thus deserve no special treatment - are complaining they didn't get special treatment.  I'm seeing that chivalry is dead, or outmoded.

What is chivalry?  I believe that chivalry is men treating women as though each woman they meet is a lady.  Why would you take your hat off, or put your cloak on a puddle for a woman?  Not because they are weak, but because they are a higher social status than you are, and you are showing your submission.  If the woman you're doing this for is a queen, you get no brownie points because you must do it.  If she is not a queen, she feels that you are doing her a favor, and thus the brownie points.  Who doesn't feel a little frisson of pleasure when they are looked up to?  It's when women start expecting men to act like this that it becomes problematic.  I know I hate it when something I did as a favor for someone becomes something I must now do to maintain the status quo.  And chivalry (in my opinion) does not mean dying for someone.  That is yet another thing - sacrifice.

I am in favor of chivalry.  I'm also in favor of courtesty.  Both are really just old french terms for the same ilk of thing, but one is for men only and one is for everyone.  Was the husband who gave his wife his life jacket being chivalrous?  I would say yes and no.  Yes, because he was giving up something he had a right to by choice.  No, because he was being greater than simply chivalrous.  He was sacrificing his best chance for survival. 

And how much should we blame the passengers on the boat?  From what I've read, many of them were not good swimmers.  What if you were on a huge boat, in the dark, and it started listing and sinking? Most people would like to say that they'd help people, be orderly, not panic, etc.  But what if you couldn't swim?  What would be the first thing in your head?  I'd say the Titanic.  Once fear gets hold of you, you pretty much lose your reasoning power and act to save yourself or your loved ones.  That's why you need to have a captain and crew trained in emergency procedures to be overseeing an evacuation.  It seems the captain was just as scared as everyone else - which is an explanation, not an excuse.  If you are a captain, you need to be chivalrous, courteous, and ready to sacrifice.  If you are not these things, you're not a bad person.  You should just be working in a different job.


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