…just because some seagoing hotelier didn’t measure up to the standards by which ship’s officers, and any kind of leaders for that matter, are judged. Yes, Francesco Schettino is a coward and a pathetic excuse for a man. But does that mean every man these days is a coward?
You might think so if you read some of the many stories like this one from Rich Lowry …
“When they make the movie about the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that grounded off the coast of Tuscany, there won’t be romantic tales about its captain. Italian authorities immediately arrested him on suspicions of manslaughter and abandoning ship prematurely. He might have been the skipper of the ill-fated vessel in all senses of the word.
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.”
“One of the features of the disaster that has provoked a great deal of comment is the stream of reports from angry survivors of how, in the chaos, men refused to put women and children first, and instead pushed themselves forward to escape; and how the Italian crew ignored passengers and reportedly shouldered their way past mothers and pregnant women to get into lifeboats.”
“The chivalry of Edwardian heroes such as Captain Scott is today seen as old-fashioned”
Well, what about this? Roberto Bosio was an off-duty captain deadheading on the ill-fated cruise ship. The UK Telegraph newspaper says this of him:
He is understood to have coordinated the entire rescue effort, working alongside crew members throughout the night, helping women and children into lifeboats.
Bosio, for his part, demurs. “Don’t call me a hero. I just did my duty, the duty of a sea captain – actually the duty of a normal man.” His assessment of Schettino is blunt: “Only a disgraceful man would have left all those passengers on board.”
There’s more such stuff at the link — read the whole thing.
In addition, contempt and derision of both Schettino and the passenger men who behaved in such an unseemly fashion is universal. It hasn’t reached the life-destroying levels that rumors of cowardice reached with respect to Edwardian gentlemen, but it’s real. One manifestation is t-shirts that riff off Coast Guard officer Gregorio De Falco’s disgusted command to Schettino: “Vado a bordo, cazzo!” which translates more or less as “Get back on board, dickhead!”
The question is, then: which is today’s man, Schettino or Bosio? Having answered that, mentally, look at the question another way. The men you surround yourself with are the sample that informed your decision, and like any small sample you are probably suffering from restriction of range and a non-representative sample.
If you spend time around the young men in today’s military, especially in SOF, you’ll never think for a minute there’s some existential crisis of manhood happening. So if you see that, ask yourself why you are in the company of a set of toxic men.