By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The recent commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic apparently provided quite the epiphany to many people who knew about it from the wildly popular movie but didn’t realize it was a true story.

No, I am not making this up.

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Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Here are some of their surprised reactions off of Twitter, where they rushed to express their surprise:

“Is it bad that I didn’t know the Titanic was real? Always thought it was just a film…Nobody told me Titanic was real. How am I just finding this out?….The Titanic was real? I’m never going on a cruise…”

And so on.

I wish I could say that these amazingly under-informed folks were just a bunch of grade-school kids, but as best I can tell at least some of them are in their 20s, certainly old enough to have seen the 1997 movie and have their curiosity sparked by it.

Or not.

One young woman who got burned by her Twitter confession went back online later to protest:

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“I am not ignorant… It’s not essential to know history like that.”

And a blogger who identified himself as a college-level teacher called criticism of the clueless “unseemly” Where would they learn about the Titanic, he asked? “…In school? I doubt it’s taught there and if it is, it shouldn’t be, given everything else that missing from the curriculum.”


It’s not that the Titanic story is the most significant historical fact of all time.

But it was an important moment, and the failure to even know it was real speaks to a lack of curiousity, even when prompted by a cultural phenomenon.

The term “dumbed down” may be over-used. But in this case, it applies.

And the victims of it ought to take the heat they’re getting as a wakeup call to start using the brains they were born with.

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You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Jon Keller