It’s considered one of the greatest love stories of the last century. A young man and woman of vastly different means meet in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, aboard a ship bound for a tragic end. One dies to save the other, he sinking into the freezing deep while she wistfully promises that she’ll never let him go.
“ Titanic ” did a lot of things for people alive in the 90s. It made us weep. It pushed us to rethink boundaries between the rich and poor. And it taught us about the human devastation of a real-life disaster.
As Celine Dion soulfully crooned, our hearts have gone on and on and on for the ballad of Jack and Rose. Some, however, have had more trouble than others with moving on.
These people know who they are. They’re the ones who were mere teenagers when they watched “Titanic” for the first time, their conceptions of romance forever shaped by the sight of a destitute artist and a wealthy heiress dancing an Irish jig. They are, in fact, the numerous letter-writers who wrote pleadingly and accusingly to director James Cameron years after the movie screened with a single question:
“Why did Rose let Jack die?”
This is the crux of a viral meme that started making the rounds a few years ago, more than a decade after “Titanic” came out in 1997. The idea is that there was ample space for both Rose and Jack to fit on the makeshift raft on which Rose staves off hypothermia before being saved. But instead of sharing, Rose lets Jack cede the entire board to her, leaving him to freeze in the water as she dramatically grips his hands.