watch your step
by Jim Vinson
When you think of the great romantics throughout history, there are a number of candidates who exemplify what true romance and love is. You could say it is an unyielding trust between two people, a sense of companionship, vulnerability, and passion. What romance is not, is a teenage vagabond and a slightly overweight redhead looking to get back at mommy for pimping her out to the highest bidder.
So why do we look at Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater of Titanic in such a light. If not for his boyish good looks; Jack would be seen for whom he really is, a mediocre artist and thief that associates with the filth of the world. Based on his profession and known associates, I would also be willing to bet he is a drug addict and quite promiscuous. And who is Rose, but an over-privileged and over-dramatic 17 year old girl who fakes suicide attempts as a desperate plea for attention. Luckily for Rose, she was born with a pretty face and ample chest that distracts from that pear of a body she has going on. It is clear; the true, unsung hero of Titanic is none other than, the gentleman, Cal Hockley.
When Cal met Rose, she had nothing going for her. Her father was dead, her mother was a mega see you next Tuesday, their entire family was poor, and Rose was slowly eating herself to death. Cal was the one who saved the day. He provided not only for Rose, but also her mother. When I say provided, I don’t mean that he paid a couple bills here and there. He gave them the world. Not only did he make Rose his fiancé, he showered them with extravagant trips and the highest priced jewelry on the market. He gave them a standard of living that could never be matched by any Wisconsin street rat. Did he do it because he had something to gain? No, he did it because he loved Rose and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
How did Rose repay Cal for his unconditional love? She goes behind his back and has sex with a stranger half Cal’s age that she just met. Understandably, this breaks Cal’s heart. The woman he loves is throwing away their relationship for a gutter rat. In his rage Cal strikes Rose. Now, I usually never condone domestic violence…but c’mon, she was asking for it. If Rose was not interested in a relationship with Cal, she should have had the courage to speak up and end it; instead, she continues to lead Cal on with her seductive, temptress behavior that you can see in most common whores.Now, let us examine Jack’s character. Jack is the kind of person who accepts a man’s invitation, eats with him and his family, exchanges stories and smiles, and then steals his fiancé away from him. It is not enough Jack sleeps with Rose, he draws a naked picture of her and leaves the drawing behind specifically to taunt Cal. We must not lose sight of the fact that Jack is just a naïve boy with no knowledge of proper conduct. He is simply not worthy of love.
Does Jack even love Rose? I believe when you look at this through Jack’s eyes, this is a classic hit-it-and-quit-it scenario. Jack is a heartthrob and let’s face it, Rose isn’t going to age well. My bet is Jack was planning on arriving in New York and stepping off that ship alone. I wouldn’t even be surprised, Jack being the low life that he is, If he convinced Rose to kill herself again. Even if they did stay together, how long was it going to last? I guarantee when Rose turns into a fatter version of her mother, Jack will be out that door faster than Cal’s hand went across Rose’s face.
Rose’s words would have you believe that what she had with Jack was true love; however, at one point she would have said the same thing about Cal. Rose is a silly girl who doesn’t know what she wants. When she does feel strongly about something, she is too cowardly to speak her mind. Rose famously says, “You jump, I jump (but if you freeze to death you’re on your own).” In the end, Rose’s actions speak louder than her words. She watches Jack die and selfishly manages to save herself. At least Rose makes something of herself and finds some sense of integrity…Oh wait, the only thing she accomplished after getting of the Titanic was a failed acting career; however, she did marry another man and have his children. I guess when she said, “I’ll never let go Jack.” She just meant, “Until I find some else I can give sex to in exchange for a comfortable life.” Because that’s how you react when you lose your one true love, you move on and forget about them. How’d Cal deal with losing Rose again? Oh yeah, he shot himself in the mouth. That’s true love. I encourage us all to look at Cal as the true romantic he was.
See you on the other side brother.