Cap’n Crunch, the mascot behind the sugary cereal, is no captain at all, but rather the subject of a massive campaign of misinformation perpetrated against children by Corporate America—or something like that.
The cereal and its mascot, the alleged “Captain” (stylized as Cap’n), have been around for over 50 years, but the recent controversy arose when a tipster informed site Foodbeast that Cap’n Crunch was missing one of the requisite wrist stripes for captain status. With three—instead of four—wrist stripes, the Cap’n is more of a commander.
Of course, the people at Cap’n Crunch took to defending his status and reputation as our favorite naval cereal mascot, kicking off a “#capnjustice” hastag on Twitter, including enlisting Stephen Colbert and another decorated food symbol, the KFC Colonel.
Folks we've got a situation. Please go show our friend @RealCapnCrunch some love. We honorary title folk have to stick together!
— KFC Colonel (@kfc_colonel) June 20, 2013
But alas, the actual U.S. Navy took to responding to this striping crisis, confirming that—at least in advertisements—the Cap’n wears “the rank of U.S. Navy commander.” Lieutenant Commander Sarah Flaherty, a Navy spokesman added to Foreign Policy magazine that “Oddly, our personnel records do not show a ‘Cap’n Crunch’ who currently serves or has served in the Navy.” Odd indeed.
Via Foreign Policy:
While Crunch’s supporters point out that, as a shipmaster, he is entitled to be called “captain,” it is not clear why that allows him to wear the uniform of a U.S. naval officer. The Foodbeast writer noted that he could be wearing the three yellow stripes of a French capitaine de frégate (captain of frigates), though there is no record of Crunch speaking French. Indeed, the French insignia actually consists of five stripes (three yellow and two white), while Crunch’s insignia appears more similar to the rank of frigate captain in the German and Portugese navies, though again there is no indication of affiliation with those nations.
This raises the question of whether Crunch is guilty of violating the Stolen Valor Act, a 2005 law that was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2011, but a new version of which was signed by President Obama earlier this month. However, the law cracks down on those who attempt to profit by wearing medals to which they are not entitled. Despite elaborate gold braid on his shoulders, Crunch does not appear to be wearing any decorations.
Yet perhaps it was the wise “captain” himself who put it into perspective for those distraught with identity crises.
So much fuss about my name. O, be some other name. What’s in a name? That which we call Cap’n Crunch, by any other name would taste as sweet
— Cap'n Crunch (@RealCapnCrunch) June 18, 2013
“Navy Responds to Crunch Scandal,” Michael Peck, Foreign Policy