Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 18, 2014

Titanic Drowns in Paperwork

Sorry, James Cameron.

But why should we shell out big bucks to experience the 3D-fied version of your Romeo-and-Juliet-on-the-water opus (SPOILER: Boat sinks. Every. Freaking. Time.) when we can pore over the two-dimensional account of Congressional hearings into the epic tragedy for nada?

With the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking (April 15) just around the corner, the Government Printing Office has gotten all nostalgic, too, offering up the dry-as-hell transcripts from the ensuing Congressional investigation to interested local libraries.

The CliffsNotes version of the report includes such scintillating reads as: “Alphabetical list of crew of steamship Titanic” and a roster of the doomed ship-owning International Mercantile Marine Co.’s board of directors.

On the other hand, Congress did ferret out unintentionally hilarious gems such as this preliminary weather report:

“During the entire voyage the weather was clear … and the sea was calm throughout. No untoward incident marred the trip.” (Cue the iceberg.)

After interrogating 82 witnesses (53 Brits, 29 Americans) and weeding through a sea of corroborating documents, lawmakers handed down the following verdict:

“The committee finds that this accident clearly indicates the necessity of additional legislation to secure safety of life at sea.”

Aye-aye, captains of bureaucracy …

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