Cruise Ship Disaster Is Apparently Proof That Chivalry Is Dead

In an awesome piece of ridiculosity, a conservative writer lets us know what we should really be taking from the sinking of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. Yes folks, the lesson of this disaster is that men are just not chivalrous enough these days.

As you may already be aware, the Costa Concordia ran aground on Friday off the Italian coast after a detour by captain Francesco Schettino. The evacuation didn't go super-well, and at one point Schettino left the ship and refused to return — he later claimed that he'd accidentally fallen into a lifeboat. The accident definitely seems like a call for better personnel decisions on the part of cruise company Costa Crociere. But according to Rich Lowry of the National Review, it's also a call to men. He quotes several accounts of men pushing past women and children to get to the lifeboats, and compares the Costa Concordia's passengers unfavorably to those old-fashioned gentlemen of the Titanic:

If the men of the Titanic had lived to read such a thing, they would have recoiled in shame. The Titanic's crew surely would have thought the hysterics deserved to be shot on sight - and would have volunteered to perform the service.

He adds that "guys aboard the Costa Concordia apparently made sure the age of chivalry was good and dead by pushing it over and trampling on it in their heedless rush for the exits," and concludes thus:

The Titanic went down, they say, to the strains of the hymn "Nearer, My God, to Thee," as the band courageously played on. It lent a final grace note to the tragedy. Today, we don't do grace notes. We've gone from "Women and children, first," to "Dude, where's my lifeboat?" As the women of the Costa Concordia can testify, that's a long way down.

As Slate points out, though, the whole concept of "women and children first" is actually an eighteenth-century invention — before that, pretty much all seafarers were like, "dude, where's my lifeboat?" And there's no real reason why ladies should get first crack at fleeing a sinking ship — although grownups probably should help children, who are smaller and less able to evacuate on their own. True, the Costa Concordia evacuation process sounds like it could have been a lot more orderly. And all things being equal, there's nothing wrong with opening a door for somebody if you feel like it, or pulling out a chair. But when we're talking about a crash that killed at least 11 people, chivalry shouldn't be at the top of our list of concerns.

‘Dude, Where's My Lifeboat?' [National Review]
Costa Concordia: Search suspended after ship shifts [BBC]
Abandoning Ship: an Etiquette Guide [Slate]