The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34323   Message #465897
Posted By: SeanM
18-May-01 - 06:28 PM
Thread Name: The origin of Sea Chanteys
Subject: RE: The origin of Sea Chanteys

What I was speaking of about the state of folk in the US Navy was personal experience from the early '90s, along with friends who were either still active until recently or are still reservists.

While I won't debate that there are exceptional individuals enlisting in the military, I will stand by the assertion that the majority average is pretty far down on the overall scale of life. Quite simply, the enlisted forces don't recruit from those that would be considered 'exceptional'. Those 'exceptional' individuals who are considering military service usually end up in the ROTC programs, and normally end up in either Officer Candidate programs or in the higher 'tech skill' jobs.

I can attest personally to the lack of folk music amongst the 'rank and file' on board my ship at the time that I was there. I can attest to specific events - the 'working party' loading supplies on board prior to departing from port in Dubai, who when the Filipino CPO running suggested that we might like singing to make the work go faster was met with repeated yells that 'Hey - we aren't fags!' and similar enlightened suggestions.

Maybe I just was unlucky and got in with a truly sadsack vessel, but I fear that it's a service wide malady. I've often pondered if some of the various excesses that I read of (the manifold rape charges, near international incidents caused by drunken sailors, etc.) might be at least partially curbed if some of the old shanties and other traditions were seriously taught to the new sailors. Give them pride in what they do, and they may think twice about doing something to tarnish the service's reputation...

But this is rather drifty. My apologies... back to the Shanty talk.