Remember that heroic sea captain? Richard Phillips? Of the Maersk Alambama Phillipses? Well, it turns out he might not really have been all that heroic. Or safe. It seems he may have ignored repeated warnings to steer clear of the waters in which he ended up being captured by pirates. Those warnings may, MAY, have read something like: "Pirates up ahead. Sail elsewhere" or "Really. We weren't kidding about the pirates. They're just ahead and they're more blood-thirsty than swash-buckling."
And remember how he told the pirates to let his crewmen go and take him instead? That didn't happen either. Even though the publisher of his book said that's what happened while publicizing said book. "I didn't give myself up," he said (or CNN claims he said). "I was already a hostage by then." He added, "I think you're forgetting they had guns." No. I think YOU'RE forgetting that one of the ONLY REASONS YOU WERE HAILED AS A HERO was that you were willing to deliver yourself into the hands of these pirates EVEN THOUGH they had guns.
It's hard to say, though, what really did happen. Because life is forever and always uncertain and "facts" are in the eyes/mind of the beholder/thinker? No. Because there is a lawsuit involved. Some of the more serious allegations involving Phillips' disregard for the safety of his sailors he cannot publicly because his sailors are suing him. Or Maersk. Or the sea. I can't remember. They claim he's a megalomaniac who laughed at their reports of pirate sightings. (His response? "I'm not someone who laughs a lot. Ask my crew, do I laugh a lot and tell jokes? I think the majority will say no.") He claims that his loyal crewmen are lying because they want a payout.
This is wonderful stuff. It makes the media look bad because they are more interested in making a story interesting than in making it accurate (did I just blow your mind?). It makes heroic sea captains look bad because they might actually be greedy, pirate-welcoming madmen. And it makes loyal crewmen look bad because they might really be dollar-craving liars. We might never know who the heroes are, or at least who the less craven and hateful sea-going people are. What this story does is make us question every story of heroism or self-sacrifice, every tale of brave pirate-fighting zeal. It makes us more cynical, skeptical, and buzz-killing. For bringing us this bedeviling bounty, I'd like to thank those Somali pirates.
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