The town's proponents of the memorial justified its construction with some vague pablum about "honor" and "fatherland" and "We're not fascists, really!" To quote an angry Italian politician, "It's as if some little village in some German province built a monument to [Hermann] Goering."
But if the locals are offended by the backstory, at least they can appreciate the sheer aesthetic beauty of the structure itself:
"Wait, this is the memorial? I thought this was the interstate rest stop."
The Titanic Memorial Cruise of 2012
Via Bai Xu/Xinhua Press/Corbis
On the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the survivors' family members (along with an intrepid group of very rich, very bored people) commemorated the most infamous maritime disaster in human history in the only way that could truly capture the lesson of mankind's hubris: with a cruise. Seriously.
As a mirthful tribute to the original boat's doomed, waterlogged passengers, modern participants dressed in period costume and even used the exact same route the original Titanic was supposed to follow (if it hadn't taken a detour to the ocean floor). And not even a foreboding start to the journey could break travelers' spirits, as strong winds delayed the launch by several days. (It's unclear if any of the passengers pondered aloud, "Maybe I should disembark from this floating 'fuck you' to a callous and vengeful God.") Once the weather cleared, the cruise was completed without further incident, right? Oh, of course not -- the ship had to turn around about 16 hours into the journey, after a BBC cameraman on board fell ill and had to be airlifted back to Ireland.
"OK, we've covered air and sea. Someone alert the subway so we can check off earth from the list as well."
Of course, that was a regular, modern cruise ship -- we assume what Titanic enthusiasts are really waiting for is the full-scale recreation of the ship planned by an Australian billionaire. But here's the thing -- how could a successful cruise in it be anything but a disappointment? Nobody would care about the Titanic if it had just lazily scooted across the Atlantic -- it's the sinking that makes it romantic. So if you really want to rake in the cash, make a Titanic replica that simulates the sinking (like, there are crews there to fish you out of the water afterward or whatever). It'd be expensive as hell, but are you telling us rich couples wouldn't spend six figures each on a full-scale "actually sinking into the ocean like Jack and Rose" adventure? Somebody Kickstart that project.
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For more terrible tributes, check out The 12 Most God Awful Tribute Albums Ever Recorded and The 14 Most Unintentionally Terrifying Statues in the World.