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Old 30-09-2012, 21:09   #1
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Pretention or culture?

I occasionally meet fellow sailors who will introduce themselves using 'Captain' as a part of the introduction. As in 'Hi buddy, I'm Captain Bob'.

As an Aussie, I can be reasonably sure that many of my countrymen will agree when I say this seems to me to be a little pretentious.

It must be said, that the majority of those who use this title seem to be from one country alone. Is it perhaps a cultural thing?

In Oz even a brain surgeon would not introduce himself as 'Doctor' Bob unless he was meeting you for the first time prior to chopping through your skull. Generally his title would be used by others as in "Dr Bob will be here in a few minutes". He would arrive and say "G'day, I'm Bob Smith, the Doc who's going to become intimate with yer grey matter'.

Is introducing oneself as 'Cap'n', pretentious or is it specific to a culture and as such something un-prefixed, foreign captains should be sensitive toward?
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Old 30-09-2012, 21:24   #2
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Re: Pretention or culture?

reminds me of a story i once read;

a young man comes home dressed in white pants and shirt, topsiders, blue blazer, and a captains hat. 'look mom, i'm a captain!' he tells his mother.
she looks him over for a minute and then says, 'yes, but when you're among
captains, are you a captain?'

i've been known to occasionally one up those pretentious 'captains' by introducing myself as 'admiral mike'....
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Old 30-09-2012, 21:31   #3
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Re: Pretention or culture?

G'Day Auzzee,

As a Yank who has spent most of the past 20 years sailing in the vicinity of Oz I won't attempt to evaluate the cultural aspect. However, I notice that whenever I meet someone or read something where the honorific "Captain" is self-endowed, well, the threshold level of my bullshit alarm goes lower. So, yeah, I think it is pretentious!

Actually, I think that there is often a little card attached to those "Greek fusherman's caps" which entitles the purchaser to become a "captain". Maybe that's where they all come from???

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 30-09-2012, 21:35   #4
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Re: Pretention or culture?

And here I was thinking its use was confined to Seppos. Durn...rethunk nicessury!

Manly..a great spot. I lived there when it was all strawberry farms and market gardens. Jeez, I'm getting old!
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Old 30-09-2012, 21:36   #5
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Re: Pretention or culture?

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G'Day Auzzee,

As a Yank who has spent most of the past 20 years sailing in the vicinity of Oz I won't attempt to evaluate the cultural aspect. However, I notice that whenever I meet someone or read something where the honorific "Captain" is self-endowed, well, the threshold level of my bullshit alarm goes lower. So, yeah, I think it is pretentious!

Actually, I think that there is often a little card attached to those "Greek fusherman's caps" which entitles the purchaser to become a "captain". Maybe that's where they all come from???

Cheers,

Jim
Jim methinks you have earned the title of honoury Aussie!! Love it
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Old 30-09-2012, 21:40   #6
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Re: Pretention or culture?

Seems a tad pretentious to me also--or amusing like the title of a kid's show host.
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:03   #7
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Re: Pretention or culture?

Well speaking for myself. To quote Walter Brennen: "It's no brag just fact"
Some of us did go take the time and expense to get our Captain's license aka Merchant Mariner credential and TWIC cards. Which included taking various written and charting exams, filling out the forms and going through medical examinations and peeing into cups to ensure we are drug free and then paying various fees to the goverment. Not to mention having additional responsibilty. For example if an incident occurs on the water we could lose that license we worked hard to get and you can bet that the Coast Guard will be holding those of us with MMCs to higher standards than the guy tooling around with a Bayliner. So yeah I will call myself Captain from time to time. I feel I've earned it and will be paying and peeing for it again when it comes up for renewel. Though I will also have fun with it too. I sometimes answer the phone when friends call saying "Captain Mike's naughty/nauti charters".
Now as far as doctors go the reason they may not introduce themselves as Dr. so and so is because once they do people start talking and asking about the latest pain or health issue they are experiencing. Doctors learn that there is no upside when out of the office to doing that.
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:18   #8
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Re: Pretention or culture?

Interestingly, in Latin America, honorifics are bestowed, in formal introductions, even on such low rungs on the pecking order (in the Anglosphere) as engineers.

Not sure if they're self-bestowed though, that certainly gets my upchuck reflex primed.
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:23   #9
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Re: Pretention or culture?

Fair enough Cap'n Mike. No one is going to denigrate anyone else's credentials. Everyone deserves respect for having studied, passed exams and who keeps their knowledge current through continued study.

But; do you buy your sausages from a man who introcuces himself as Butcher Bill, have your taxation return sorted out by Accountant Fred, have your lights installed by Electrician Paul and your boiler repaired by the jolly fat guy coming down your driveway who, when you open your door greets you with, "Hi, I'm Plumber Frank"?

Cheers,
Journalist Dave.
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:36   #10
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Re: Pretention or culture?

I'm a licensed captain (uscg) and have done the job professionally. I never said "captain eric" but would instead say "Hi, my name is Eric and I'll be your captain onboard the xyz," as part of the general introductions and pointing other things out.

I've met way too many blowhards that introduce themselves as captain to the general public. If it's part of your business / marketing thing than I suppose that makes sense.

I'd much rather just be "Eric" and have people find out about my leadership and seamanship skills, and my licensing, as need be.
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:42   #11
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Re: Pretention or culture?

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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
And here I was thinking its use was confined to Seppos. Durn...rethunk nicessury!

Manly..a great spot. I lived there when it was all strawberry farms and market gardens. Jeez, I'm getting old!
I grew up there on 6 acres on Manly Road across from Hargreaves/Edgells cannery, Dad grew strawberries there, fantastic area it was.
Cheers Frank
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:52   #12
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Re: Pretention or culture?

Using capatin in your greeting (unless you're chartering and meeting your guests) is pretentious.

So is calling your boat a yacht.
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:55   #13
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Re: Pretention or culture?

Here in the Adriatic all skippers are regarded as "Cappiatano's" it is automatically bestowed on you, as you say our culture in Australia tends to give respect where earned.

A small boat driver tends to be called 'hey you' or 'skipper/skip' whereas a large commercial boat/ship driver will be termed 'captain'.

When i hear the term loosely being applied i tend to smile/shake the head etc, it cracks us up over here to see not only the cap but the obligatory STRIPED shirts, i swear i'll get an eye patch and plastic shoulder parrot to retaliate!

It also makes me smile when a proffered business card is read and it says 'FRED BLOGGS III' wonder what the record for the same name is on American business cards? 'Henry VIII Royal Surveyor'!

Cheers
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:59   #14
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Re: Pretention or culture?

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Using capatin in your greeting (unless you're chartering and meeting your guests) is pretentious.

So is calling your boat a yacht.
Good thought and on the money. Occasionally I get a bit 'tense' when addressing maintenance issues and will then refer to the boat in the third person as 'that bloody yacht'. Is that pretentious?
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Old 30-09-2012, 23:00   #15
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Re: Pretention or culture?

Now I know why I retired my license, so I could introduce myself as "captain emeritus Don." Gonna have to trot that out some time.

Unusual to me except under some very specific conditions, which wouldn't include a casual introduction.
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