Monday, February 23, 2009

A Captain's Pet Peeve

As you all know I am NOT a real captain. When younger I contemplated joining the military, but I wasn't ever in the military and about the only public service work I did was as a security guard at my college's campus cop program.

However, despite me readily admitting this, about once every six months or so I get the "Oh yeah, well my uncle was at least a REAL captain in the military." Or "Well you're not a REAL captain like I was."

So, since I received another one of these comments recently I think it behooves a vocabulary lesson. Today's word is;


1. the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group either with the same consonant sound or sound group (consonantal alliteration), as in from stem to stern, or with a vowel sound that may differ from syllable to syllable (vocalic alliteration), as in each to all. Compare consonance (def. 4a).
2. the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter, as in apt alliteration's artful aid.

You see, when setting up this blog originally, I wanted to have a catchy title. And not just a catchy title, but a title relevant to the topics that would be discussed. Since it was going to be about capitalism I thought "captain" would provide the (here's the first use of today's word boys and girls) ALLITERATION required to make the title "Captain Capitalism" a catchy and rememberable name.

See how it works, the "ka" sound in "captain" plus the "ka" sound in "capitalism?" Like "ka" "ka" right after each other? Catchy, isn't it?

One might even notice the first syllable is the same; "CAPtain CAPitalism."

This is why some people call me "Cappy Cap" which is a simplified and cuter alliterated version.

Now, the lesson we can gain from this is that while no doubt all of you, like me, do appreciate the service of the hard working men and women in the US military, like any organization there are still jerks. And for those of you in the military who want to "score one on the ole Captain" by pointing out he's not a "real captain" I'd like to shake your hand for your service, but slap you upside the head for your idiocy.

Ergo, whether you're in the military or not, please don't make a fool of yourself and use the "well I'd least I don't try and pose to be a captain" argument. It will be summarily ignored just like all the other "when the pentagon has to have a bake sale" bumper stickers.


C. Mark Cooper said...

And actually - you don't need to be in the Military to have the appalation "Captain" applied to you. Commanders of merchant ships have always been called Captain, even the commander of the smallest sailing ship - regardless of navy rank - whether ensign, commander, lieutenant have had the courtesy of being called captian on the quarterdeck of their ship.

When I first started reading your blog from SDA - I never envisioned you as a Army Captain. My thought was more like a Yankee Trader Schooner Captian - sailing on the high seas of the Economic Ocean, free from the Landlubber Socialists.

Anonymous said...

All those emails are from Cap'n Crunch, and he's just feeling insecure.

The Big Seester

Captain Capitalism said...

Yes, yes, I see myself more in that light. A bit more Captain Jack Sparrow like though.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I have always looked upon your handle in this light...

A figure in the forefront; a leader:

Keyser Söze said...

If you'd made better use of your distribution requirements in college, you might have realized that the title calls to mind the comic hero "Captain America."

But presumably an intentional philistine like you wouldn't want to go 'round sounding all artsy-fartsy or anything.

Hot Sam said...

The word 'captain' comes from the latin word for 'head.' It can refer to the head of a company of soldiers, the head of a ship, the head of a corporation (captain of industry). The words 'capital' and 'capitol' also stem from this root. Capital punishment literally meant either the leading punishment or decapitation.

So 'Captain Capitalism' is almost redundant or like saying 'king of kings.' You are the head/leader of the philosophy of leading production.

The words 'chief' and 'chef' come from the same roots also, and few Chiefs I knew in the military were expert cooks.

Were Captain America and Captain Marvel really O-3s in the Army or O-6s in the Navy?

Was Captain Kangaroo in the military? Did he lead any kangaroos?

Tell your critics to STFU!

On another note, the Google word verifications range from nonsense to humorous to insulting. This verifying word was 'cultard'. That's a good word for an Obama supporter....Cultard...I like it!

Alex said...

Then there are also pilots, who are generally referred to as captains. Or police officers and firefighters. Or captains of sports teams. Or even the head-waiters at some restaurants. And then there are other uses of the word, such as calling someone a "Captain of Industry" - generally implying that the person is a leader in their field.

Maybe, in order to avoid confusion, you could rename your blog to "Captivating Capitalism".

Of course ... then they'd probably accuse you of pretending to be a prison guard ...

Anonymous said...

"Yes, yes, I see myself more in that light. A bit more Captain Jack Sparrow like though."

You mean like posing triumphantly atop the mast of a sinking boat?

majgross said...

You can continue with the CPT usage! I outrank! Keep up the posting, things are boring over here! Major Gross

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia:

"Captain of industry" was a term originally used in the United States during the Industrial Revolution describing a business leader whose means of amassing a personal fortune contributes positively to the country in some way.'

John (Shakespeare's Debtor)

Hot Sam said...


I'd love to visit your blog, but it's by invitation only.

Visit my blog and send me an e-mail through my profile.

MAJ Miller


In the middle ages, a nobleman became a "Captain" by buying his way into leadership of a "company." From that position, he sold the services of his military company to other lords. A lesser nobleman would pay the Captain to be his "Lieutenant" which means to "hold the place of" the Captain when he is absent. When the Captain retired, he sold his company to another nobleman.

So the military title of Captain is truly a leader of an economic entity and his company performed services for pay - a purely capitalist endeavor.

Anonymous said...


In the early days of television one of my favorite characters was Captain Kangaroo. He had a uniform but don't think he had a commission.