A Word is Born

Dude, you are so Schettinoed.

Ask any “hoodyed-up” , skateboarding twenty-something all the way up to a 95-year-old triathlete who is the last person off a ship and they will universally exclaim, “Why, the captain, of course!”

Apparently not so, in what now passes for the Italian Navy.  Last week as the Costa Concordia cruise ship listed to starboard after striking what the New York Times referred to as  a “rocklike object” [Just what is a rocklike object, anyway?] the captain, one Francesco Schettino, found himself firmly ensconced in a lifeboat while as many as 300 passengers were still on board the crippled ship, scrambling to safety.

It is stories such as this that give rise to the decades old and derisive joke about the title of the shortest book ever written.  Answer: The book of Italian War Heroes.  Ouch.

The only bright spot to emerge thus far is the recorded voice of a Captain De Falco of the Coast Guard telling the ship’s captain, in no uncertain terms, to shinny his Schettino back up the rope ladder hanging from the bow and to take command of the evacuation, to which he whined about the list of the ship and the fact that it was dark outside.  Stern stuff, indeed.

As if from the plot of a Joseph Conrad novel, the ship never sank.  It came to rest with virtually all of the upper deck well above the waterline, thus making Schettino’s early departure all the more ignominious.

This morning’s press accounts reveal the real reason the captain was in a lifeboat instead of on board and in command: he tripped and fell into a lifeboat. Right.

What a Schettino-head.


Photo credit:  AP/NYT



  • Jim Lee says:

    Great comments, if people hadn’t died it would actually be funny.

  • Larry Osborne says:

    Old friends have heard this opinion from me before. As we have moved further away in time from World War II,with fewer people serving, the military model of leadership in such professions as seafaring and fire and rescue, has been replaced by the business model.

    Command and leadership have too often been replaced by “administration” and “management”. Captain Shettino may well have been a competent administrator, but he was obviously no commander, and when it mattered, he was no leader.

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