Chapter President BMC Dave Karpin & Chapter Treasurer HCPO Bob Niemiec present the winners right to left, Madison Beatty, Nicholas Fiore, FN Karissa Carter their checks.

Submitted by FN Karissa M. Carver, USCG

Line crossing ceremonies have been a sea going tradition for more than 400 years. This ceremony is held when crossing the Equator, for sailors who have never done so before, to prove their worth to King Neptune. Participates are often forced to engage in rather degrading or embarrassing acts while being watched by their superiors.  The first time sailors crossing the equator are expected to be submissive which creates unnecessary power dynamics. Just because an event has been encouraged for centuries does not mean it is acceptable to force upon an unwilling participant.

According the Department of Defense, hazing is defined as a form of harassment where the service member endures physical or psychological injury for the purpose of initiation (Department of Defense Instruction 1020.03). Hazing creates a threat to the unwilling or even willing participant’s health, safety and trust of those involved. These effects can have a lasting impact upon a service member, which could impede on their ability to perform their assigned duties down the road.

Service members can easily feel pressured to engage in these ceremonies for the fear of being retaliated against for backing out. This leads to a possible hazing situation either route that the service member chooses. It would be a different situation if there was not pressure for one to participate and others respected that choice. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as service members either unwilling participate in the line crossing ceremony and feel belittled or they are harassed for not wanting to be “part of the crew”. It is pretty clear that by today’s standards; civilian and military alike, line crossing ceremonies are considered hazing and need to be addressed accordingly.

 

The Impact of Social Media on Perception of Public Figures

 
Submitted by: Nicholas A. Fiore


            For over a decade social media has become a rising power across the world, expanding as platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  With this increase in power comes an ability to influence, namely the perception a population has of an individual.  This perception in recent times has shifted dramatically to involve public figures.  A question posed asks whether social media has had a positive or negative affect on the perception of public figures.  An argument can be made that the affect has been negative, especially with regards to the public figures themselves.  However, it will be argued here that the impact has been predominantly positive in terms of perception, as social media has improved the overall ability to observe a public figure.

            Social media in all its forms offers multiple new ways to observe a public figure, replacing the limited scope of news in the form of print or broadcasted interviews.  It can be used as a powerful tool to mobilize great numbers in a short amount of time.  This can be seen in two notable extremes: the use of social media by the Obama campaign in 2008 [1] and President Donald Trumps use of Twitter before and during his presidency.  Both have carried a similar goal: reaching the largest number of individuals possible, albeit for different purposes.

            Delving into what social media tells us about a public figure can differ greatly from more traditional methods such as the associated press.  Social media allows the thoughts and beliefs of a public figure to be dissected by vast numbers of people, and as all forms of social media are bound by the internet once any information is produced it is nigh impossible to remove from the world wide web.  This permanent record can then be reviewed by any and all with access to the appropriate social media, connecting thoughts and perceptions from a singular view to a vast multifaceted opinion.

            Not only can social media influence perception but it can drive activism and force attention.  In a Pew survey it was found that “the public as a whole has positive impressions of the ability of social media to help enact sustainable political change [2].”  This is a clear sign of the influence of social media in driving public figures, and the reaction of a public figure to the collective will of the people via social media can be instantly perceived.

            Social media has served to improve the perception of public figures, in that it allows differing and diverse ways to observe public figures down to minute details.  Often however perception is negative, as social media allows a higher level of scrutiny for public figures.  Thus, with the continued expansion of social media the ability to perceive a public figure will only increase (a positive).  What is then determined by the masses utilizing that media in terms of perception is at their discretion.

 


References

Hellweg, A. (2011). Social Media Sites of Politicians Influence Their Perception by Constituents. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 2(1), spring, 22-36. Retrieved from http://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/academics/communications/research/vol2no1/03hellweg.pdf
Anderson, M., Toor, S., Rainie, L., Smith, A., Anderson, M., Toor, S., . . . Smith, A. (2018, July 11). Activism in the Social Media Age. Retrieved from https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/07/11/public-attitudes-toward-political-engagement-on-social-media/Type your paragraph here.

The Winning Essays

2019 QMCS Tom Rau Memorial Scholarship Winners

Senior Chief Tom Rau

Memorial Scholarship Essay Contest

United States Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Association, Grand Haven Chapter

Submitted by: Madison Tyler Beatty

Dependent of: BMCM Michael Beatty (Retired)


 

Essay Topic: “Has social media had a positive or negative affect on our perception of public figures?”

Social media is a powerful tool that is commonly used to create, or sway, public perception about any issue or person. Overall, I believe that these platforms have a negative effect on how we perceive public figures.

As a society, we tend to demonstrate a great interest in the lives of public figures. Their prestigious and highly dramatic lives draw us in, as if we were watching a play on Broadway. Intuitively, we tend to forget that these are their real lives being displayed, not an act. Today it can be expected that much of celebrities and politicians’ personal information will be exposed on one type of social media platform or another. Being that there are few restrictions on posting, the public is able to mention their opinion no matter how inaccurate it may be. With social media being so accessible, public figures are then able to provide an immediate retort, whether a well processed thought or emotional response. This response may then be taken out of context, or skewed, by the public to create conflict. Depending on the status of the public figure or topic of debate, news stations may then get involved, informing even those who do not have social media accounts of “the gossip.” As a result, many public figures spend a great deal of their time and energy on social media conducting damage control in attempt to benefit their perceived image, distracting them from the work they set out to achieve. This being said, I believe that social media has the power to have a negative, if not disastrous, effect on how we perceive public figures.

To solidify my opinion, I conducted some research and found countless examples of social media working to destroy the reputations of high standing public figures. Two that stood out to me were Rosanne Barr and Anthony Weiner. Firstly Rosanne Barr, famous comedian, actor and author, was declared a racist by the media and had her television show canceled after a controversial Tweet made in 2018. [1] This one tweet, although small, had a very large negative impact on her career. Secondly Anthony Weiner, former Democratic Congressman, became involved in multiple sex scandals on Twitter and ended up losing his job as a result. After returning to politics years later, it was discovered that he again used social media to “sext” a 15 year old resulting in his imprisonment for 21 months. During investigation, his laptop was seized and emails relating to Hillary Clinton were found on it, leading to a controversy in the presidential election. [2] In both these instances, social media proved to have a profound negative impact on society’s perception of the public figure involved.

References:

[1] Huffington post: Roseanne Barr

URL- https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/roseanne-barr-valerie-jarrett_us_5b0d6e0de4b0fdb2aa571448

[2] Wikipedia: Anthony Weiner

The Acceptance of Sea Going Traditions in the 21st Century

Submitted by:  Nicholas A. Fiore

 

            Traditions at sea, both formal and informal have existed for some time, with recorded incidences dating back into the 1820’s [1].  These traditions varied based on the sailors involved, with more elaborate ceremonies becoming well-documented as they have survived into the modern era.  A tradition of note is the “Line-Crossing Ceremony,” when a vessel crosses the Equator and/or specific meridians [2].  An argument could be made that they are inappropriate and serve as a means of bullying or hazing.  Naval protocol however has changed accordingly, as the safety of sailors is a priority aboard any vessel.  An analysis of the Line-Crossing Ceremony will help to show that with proper protocol these ceremonies are not only acceptable but beneficial to the crew of a naval vessel.

            According to Anthropology and Sociology professor Carie Little Hersh the Line-Crossing Ceremony dates back over 400 years ago [3].  It began as an occasion of reverence, as in the days of wooden vessels such a crossing was more hazardous than it is today [1].  Uninitiated sailors, designated as “Pollywogs” or simply “Wogs” were put through a series of rites and tasks, usually physical in nature.  These tasks were extremely demanding and could injure, as they were a way to “test the novices in the crew to see whether they could endure their first cruise at sea [3].”  With improvement in ships and naval practices such hazards have been diminished, and with them the tasks of the Line-Crossing Ceremony.

            Over time changes were made, reducing the severity of the tasks and transforming the ceremony from a grueling test to entertaining ceremony.  Challenges were made voluntary, with sailors given the option to opt out, and the dangers of certain tasks has been eliminated in the interest of health and safety [1][3].  Revolutions in naval inclusiveness brought ceremonies to the forefront and helped to initiate necessary changes, especially in the 1980’s and 1990’s [2].  Though an argument can be made it has “watered down” the traditions of the Navy it could also be seen simply to maintain time-honored traditions while adhering to inclusiveness.

            In 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt participated in a Line-Crossing Ceremony aboard the USS Indianapolis, and following the ceremony was honored and awarded an “Honorable and Trusty Shellback certificate [2].”  Not only was the ceremony designed to honor a naval milestone for sailors, but it also served to bring them together.  Today the ceremony serves to build unit cohesion and “a sense of shared identity [1].”  Bringing the entire crew together throughout the ceremony be a benefit to morale and solidifying the crew of a vessel as such [3].

            Traditions at sea have existed for hundreds of years and have changed with the times.  Some, such as the Line-Crossing Ceremony have undergone a transformation, maintaining the sense of accomplishment while diminishing the risk of bullying or injury.  In doing so they can continue to serve as entertainment and bonding for a crew regardless of rank.
 

References

Church, A. B. (2013, July 04). From 'Wog to Shellback. Retrieved from https://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=75241
Shellbacks: A Proud Naval Tradition! (2016, February 17). Retrieved from https://navycrow.com/honorable-shellbacks/
Weissman, C. (2015, October 23). Behind the Strange and Controversial Ritual When You Cross the Equator At Sea. Retrieved from https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/behind-the-strange-and-controversial-ritual-when-you-cross-the-equator-at-sea