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Another American Abducted in Somalia
January 28, 2012 11:21 AM   Subscribe

American writer abducted in Somalia. A writer and travel journalist from Manhattan Beach, Calif. has been kidnapped by Somali pirates.

According to Somalia Report, who first reported the kidnapping, 15 men in two Land Cruisers abducted Michael Scott Moore and beat his Somali associate last Saturday. After local leaders tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with his abductors, Moore was relocated several times throughout the region, said Somalia Report.
posted by pallen123 (73 comments total)

 
Why do people insist on travel to S

has been kidnapped by Somali pirates while doing research on a book about piracy.

Oh.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:24 AM on January 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well, given the recent fates of the last group of Somalis who were holding an American citizen, I'd say this is pretty much playing with fire for the kidnappers at this point.
posted by hippybear at 11:31 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can see the draw. In Somalia, in those villages along the coast, piracy appears to be your only decent shot at making it big. You're a pirate and walk away with a big pile of money or you catch a few fish and walk away with a tiny amount of money.
posted by pracowity at 11:41 AM on January 28, 2012


Somalia: Don't Go There.
by Scott Moore
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:53 AM on January 28, 2012 [27 favorites]


Foci for Analysis: Why do people insist on travel to S

has been kidnapped by Somali pirates while doing research on a book about piracy.

Oh.


Assuming (and hoping) that he gets out safely, this will make for a gripping central narrative in his book. Tiny, distant silver lining there, perhaps.
posted by gilrain at 11:55 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What was he going to find out by going there that I could understand doing news searches for an hour? I'm somewhat against using scarce resources to rescue people from their own bad ideas.
posted by Renoroc at 11:56 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It kinda makes sense for a publisher to pay a big ransom and just take it out of the guy's advance.
posted by jayder at 11:58 AM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I approve of the US Military mounting rescue missions when people who go there of their own free will are captured by the Pirates.

I also approve of the person who is rescued paying the full cost for the rescue.
posted by HuronBob at 11:59 AM on January 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh? As if that explains it? Alright then! He's writing a book about piracy! Good reason to go to the world's most dangerous place, cheerio then...

So he's gonna pay for his own rescue then, right?
posted by spitbull at 12:00 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]



"After Somalia’s central government collapsed 20 years ago, the 1,900-mile coastline became an unpatrolled free-for-all, with foreign fishing trawlers descending to scoop up Somalia’s rich stocks of tuna, shark, whitefish, lobster and deep-water shrimp. ... Somali piracy was born when disgruntled fishermen armed themselves and started attacking the foreign trawlers."

"To him, his actions had been in protection of his sea, the native waters he had known his whole life; his hijackings, a legitimate form of taxation levied in absentia on behalf of a defunct government that he represented in spirit, if not in law."

"Piracy [in Somalia] should be seen as an extension of land based warlord predation – attacking non fishing vessels from the onset with focus on ransoms for crews and vessels. ... While there is a Somali maritime tradition dating back to pre-colonial trading along the Swahili corridor, there is no large scale Somali tradition of artisanal fishing."
posted by mykescipark at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Let me add, that payment would include lifetime support for the family of any serviceman/woman who is injured or loses his/her life in the effort.
posted by HuronBob at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Honestly, my first thought on seeing the FPP was that its just a piece of newsfilter - what sets this apart as something worthy of an FPP [interesting? noteworthy? best of the web?]
posted by infini at 12:03 PM on January 28, 2012


Tag it somalia as well. Africa is not a country.
posted by infini at 12:03 PM on January 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


On the one hand, I think he was an idiot for going. On the other hand, we shouldn't be comfortable relying on reporting about the region that is based solely on undocumented sources that some reporter talked to in a bar in Kenya (made-up example), or U.S. intelligence services.
posted by rtha at 12:05 PM on January 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


One might argue Somalia is not a county, either. More like a region between other countries.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:07 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're thinking of Puntland which actually hasn't had any government rule in eons. Somalia has government or not but it depends on who's writing it because as a country they're at war right now with the country I'm sitting in.


Googling this stuff sitting here will prolly get me a knock on my door I'm sure... Hi Sergey!
posted by infini at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2012


Somalia is most certainly a country. Somaliland, on the other hand, is not formally recognized as autonomous, but there are now published travel guides about it (also cf., Northern Cyprus).
posted by mykescipark at 12:32 PM on January 28, 2012




Is there a big market for Somalia travel guides?
posted by Brocktoon at 12:37 PM on January 28, 2012


Ah fuck, homunculus, this is the first time one of your links has me pissed. Meh on projecting power and whatnot. Time to take a hike.

Is there a big market for Somalia travel guides?

Only among mzungu journalists and hikers. And former US Army personnel trying to sneak through Kenya to go help the Somalis.

Which reminds me, aren't the FBI supposed to be like domestic police?

Meh.
posted by infini at 12:46 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What was he going to find out by going there that I could understand doing news searches for an hour?

Really? Probably a lot. That's apart from the fact that journalistic writers have this crazy obsession with wanting to write first-hand accounts instead of banging out books culled from AP wires.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


You're thinking of Puntland which actually hasn't had any government rule in eons.

That Wikipedia article says it has an executive/legislative/judicial government, but is an "autonomous region" within Somalia with little designs on being fully independent.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:16 PM on January 28, 2012


According to Somalia Report, who first reported the kidnapping, 15 men in two Land Cruisers abducted Michael Scott Moore and beat his Somali associate last Saturday.
Ah yes, the infamous land pirates. Seriously, aren't these people just kidnappers?
posted by delmoi at 1:21 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Of course, "Obama rescues Michael Moore from pirates" is not a headline that will do him much good.

I'm a raging lefty and even I am sick of that Michael Moore guy.
posted by spitbull at 1:21 PM on January 28, 2012


I approve of the US Military mounting rescue missions when people who go there of their own free will are captured by the Pirates.

I also approve of the person who is rescued paying the full cost for the rescue.
Because god forbid we should actually spend any of the trillions of dollars in military spending actually protecting American civilians.
Let me add, that payment would include lifetime support for the family of any serviceman/woman who is injured or loses his/her life in the effort.
I'm pretty sure the US military has a life insurance benefit.

But seriously... wtf is wrong with you? I mean, you're like actually mad at the guy because he was kidnapped by violent criminals? (who were on land, and thus not pirates) I don't understand it at all. He knew he was putting himself in danger, but had he been able to do the research and write the book it would have been a benefit to lots of people who don't have to risk their lives to find out what's going on.
posted by delmoi at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


Huh. The more read about Puntland, the more it sounds like the stablest, sanest, and most financially secure region of the country. A big part of their population boom (70% under the age of 30) has been from people down south moving there. Schools have been increasing, cities are growing, they've managed to reduce piracy, and two of their exports are frankincense and myrrh. The climate of the region, as opposed to the south, probably has a lot to do with this relative stability. I wonder why they don't want to be fully independent.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:39 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, aren't these people just kidnappers?

No they're known to have some bootlegged DVDs.
posted by Hoopo at 1:45 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't read anything yet about the kidnappers' propensity for downloading music or movies without paying for it, so they may very well be pirates. Right?
posted by Seamus at 1:48 PM on January 28, 2012


I type too slow.
And think too slow.

I probably wouldn't be a very good pirate. Of any kind.
posted by Seamus at 1:49 PM on January 28, 2012


I am concerned for the man, I really am, but this is a subject one just can't not make jokes about, at least until it's confirmed he's dead.

I keep imagining him on shipboard, busily taking notes with manacled hands.
posted by orange swan at 2:24 PM on January 28, 2012


this will make for a gripping central narrative in his book

Is it only because I'm a sometimes-ish travel writer that my first thought was that he deliberately went to Somalia looking to get kidnapped by pirates? I mean, there's really no better way to interview a confirmed Somali pirate.

/Cynical

Actually, as a sometimes-ish travel writer, I really hope he's OK and lives to tell what will obviously be an amazing tale.
posted by Sara C. at 2:25 PM on January 28, 2012


Marisa, there's a great interview in the BBC with a businessman who invested in Somaliland.

"When I first started looking at investment in Somaliland even my professional colleagues would say: 'You're mad. This doesn't make any sense'," he remembers.

"Not only did they confuse Somaliland with Somalia but it does have the problem of being an unrecognised country," he told the BBC's Mary Harper.

"But actually nobody ever made money from following the herd and the most money is often to be made where there is a mismatch between what people perceive to be the place and the reality of what it is, and Somaliland is exactly in those kinds of circumstances where there is a huge gap between the reality and the perception."

"So actually there is a method to my madness and it isn't inconsistent with the basic principles of business: Go find yourself a situation that nobody else has spotted and be prepared to hang on in there while everybody else catches up."

posted by infini at 2:36 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I mean, you're like actually mad at the guy because he was kidnapped by violent criminals?

Lets do an infodump to track the number of FPPs made on kidnapped Americans in warzones.
posted by infini at 2:37 PM on January 28, 2012


What's interesting to me is how revealing this is of my own prejudices. I would have a lot more sympathy for him if he were a quote-unquote real journalist, rather than a travel journalist. And it's actually not clear to me what the difference is, because this guy clearly doesn't write travel guides. Does something become travel writing because the author centers his own experiences, rather than what's going on in the place he or she visits? Is it that a normal journalist writes "here's what's going on with pirates in Somalia," and a travel journalist writes "here's what it was like for me to go to Somalia to learn about pirates there"?
posted by craichead at 2:42 PM on January 28, 2012


this is a subject one just can't not make jokes about, at least until it's confirmed he's dead.

You can if you possess even a modicum of sensitivity or human empathy. He risked his life in pursuit of a story. This is neither funny, worthy of ostracism, or unsubstantiated suggestions that he did it deliberately to enhance the story.

I would have a lot more sympathy for him if he were a quote-unquote real journalist, rather than a travel journalist.

By any defintion of the word, he is real journalist. That he doesn't fit some myopic vision of "real journalists" doesn't carry much weight with more thoughtful people, who attach real value to social commentary.

Moore is the author of Sweetness And Blood, a book about how surfing spread from Hawaii to California, and Too Much of Nothing, about surfing sub-culture and two teen boys growing up in a city modeled on Los Angeles. A journalist profile on Miller-McCune also notes that Moore was a Fulbright fellow for journalism in Germany and has written for The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, the Los Angeles Times and Spiegel Online.

Those that would argue that he shouldn't have gone there to cover this important story are basically arguing that journalism is a pursuit that should only be undertaken without risk; however the facts suggest otherwise.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:00 PM on January 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


No they're known to have some bootlegged DVDs.

Oh shit. Now they're in the soup.
posted by codswallop at 3:00 PM on January 28, 2012


I hope he's able to befriend his captors and convince them to open up their lives for his book and let him go free when they're done hanging out.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 3:06 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is a subject one just can't not make jokes about, at least until it's confirmed he's dead.

You can if you possess even a modicum of sensitivity or human empathy.


Welp, guess that rules me out.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:07 PM on January 28, 2012


That he doesn't fit some myopic vision of "real journalists" doesn't carry much weight with more thoughtful people, who attach real value to social commentary.
Thank you! You're so right! I don't attach real value to social commentary! I'm glad you pointed that out!

One of those books is a novel, but it may be that thoughtful people realize that novels are journalism. And the other one? Like I said, I'm not sure why it's billed as "travel journalism" rather than "journalism." My bias is to think of travel writing as trivial and solipsistic, more interested in the writer and his or her experiences than in the ostensible subject. But like I said, that's a prejudice.
posted by craichead at 3:13 PM on January 28, 2012


I wonder why [Puntland] doesn't want to be fully independent.

Fell down a wikihole and answered my own question: it's because Puntland is unionist; they want a united Somalia (which looks quite a far way off), even though they do have an autonomous administration, i.e. they're not a part of the transitional government, and have the resources where they probably could just break away. So good on them for that.

On a side note, Somalia's statelessness might have cultural roots. Their traditional judicial system, Xeer, dates back to the 7th century and is based less on "this is the law, abide it" and more on "OK, how do we settle this dispute?" There are some universally accepted laws in Xeer, but most arbitration is case-by-case. Today, Xeer has the least prominence in the violent, largely unstable south than anywhere else.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:35 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


delmoi: Ah yes, the infamous land pirates. Seriously, aren't these people just kidnappers? ... [they] were on land, and thus not pirates

It's breaking my mind that you can't conceive of pirates, who earn that name by hijacking and kidnapping on the water, leaving their boats and coming on land.

Does a pilot cease to be a pilot when he lands his plane?

You have this strange ability to think critically in the dumbest way possible.
posted by ericost at 3:56 PM on January 28, 2012


If he did deliberately do this to get an interview with the pirates then that's pretty fucked up, given the fairly high likelihood of this ending up with his new friends getting extremely killed by a SEAL team. Don't the Somali pirates have a fair amount of contact with outside journalists already, though? It seems like news stories about events like these quite often have a statement from a pirate in them, which presumably were given most of the time to a journalist who wasn't kidnapped.

Somaliland is a really fascinating case, especially since their form of government is an interesting hybrid of tribal government and representative democracy, and it's a significant success by Horn of Africa standards, having managed the peaceful transfer of power after elections twice now. The non-recognition of Somaliland is a major indictment of the African Union's policy of not recognizing independent states without the consent of the government of the country they're seceding from, even when the "legitimate" government is a polite fiction of the international community and has no sovereignty outside parts of Mogadishu.

In my more cynical moments (most of them) I do suspect that the lack of bilateral contact with foreign countries and the UN has actually been of benefit to Somaliland, in that it's allowed local institutions to develop without a bunch of meddling.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 4:15 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like I said, I'm not sure why it's billed as "travel journalism" rather than "journalism."

Because, like sports journalism or science journalism or etc., it's journalism about or with a focus on a specific topic.
posted by rtha at 4:21 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Somalia has government or not but it depends on who's writing it because as a country they're at war right now with the country I'm sitting in.

I don't know which country you're sitting in, but technically the Somali TFG is not at war with any country. Ethiopia and Kenya have both invaded recently, but they, along with the African Union forces and TFG troops (and some other regional militias), are all more or less considered on the same 'side' against al-Shabaab.

kidnapped by violent criminals? (who were on land, and thus not pirates)

They still work within the same organizations even when they're on land instead of at sea. When the recently freed hostages were kidnapped in October, they were taken from Galkayo (inland, closer to Ethiopia than to the ocean) to coastal pirate haven Harardheere. Several foreign hostages kidnapped on land have sometimes been moved onto boats because the kidnappers viewed boats as more easily defensible than land compounds. Calling them pirates makes sense.

The more read about Puntland, the more it sounds like the stablest, sanest, and most financially secure region of the country.

It's been my impression that Somaliland deserves that honor. Its government is much more stably organized, and that seems to be one of the reasons Somaliland fared the best during the recent famine/drought cycle.

Puntland also gets increasingly unsafe and violent as you go south. Central Somalia, where Puntland meets semi-autonomous Galmudug and southern Somalia, is not surprisingly where Moore and the other recently rescued hostages were kidnapped. Not to mention at least a dozen assassinations of public figures in the past six months, including an MP killed in the northeast yesterday.

A Canadian company is drilling for oil in Puntland right now. It would be interesting to see what that means for stability there.

The climate of the region, as opposed to the south, probably has a lot to do with this relative stability.

Southern Somalia was historically the breadbasket of the region. The instability there is the problem, not the climate in itself. There is a bit of trade going on in the south right now (charcoal, sugar), it's just that it's al-Shabaab that's earning the millions, not the internationally-recognized government.

I do suspect that the lack of bilateral contact with foreign countries and the UN has actually been of benefit to Somaliland, in that it's allowed local institutions to develop without a bunch of meddling.

Here's the Economist on a paper that suggests Somaliland's government is better because of the lack of foreign aid.
posted by lullaby at 4:31 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Jay Bahadur already kind of did this, and wrote the book The Pirates of Somalia, which was published six months ago. The difference seems to be that he actually bothered to contact Somali journalists there before arriving. I hope Moore gets out safely and I don't wish any further trauma on him or anything, but what he did is just amazingly stupid.
posted by lullaby at 4:36 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The instability there is the problem, not the climate in itself.

Seems the drought has hit them pretty hard, though.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:38 PM on January 28, 2012


Right, but the reason the drought turned into famine in southern Somalia alone and not Puntland, Kenya, or Ethiopia is because of instability. Southern Somalia would overall be better equipped to deal with cyclical drought if not for the ongoing war(s).
posted by lullaby at 4:51 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because, like sports journalism or science journalism or etc., it's journalism about or with a focus on a specific topic.
That makes sense, but I don't think it's right. He doesn't really write about travel: his last book was about global surf culture, and this one is about Somali pirates. From the Amazon page for his book, it sounds more like he has a personal style and talks a lot about his own adventures while meeting the people he's discussing, and that's what makes it travel writing.
posted by craichead at 4:53 PM on January 28, 2012


Only among mzungu journalists and hikers. And former US Army personnel trying to sneak through Kenya to go help the Somalis.

So that's a no then?
posted by Brocktoon at 4:58 PM on January 28, 2012


I wonder if this kidnapping is actually revenge for the other killings that happened recently.
It's breaking my mind that you can't conceive of pirates, who earn that name by hijacking and kidnapping on the water, leaving their boats and coming on land.
Is there any evidence that these particular kidnappers are also pirates? The article doesn't go into any details about the people who kidnapped him, other then calling them pirates. Are they just calling them pirates because they are criminals and live in Somalia?

And anyway, I just thought it was funny. It seems like saying a pirate kidnapped someone on land is like saying a motorist landed on the moon. You're a motorist when you're driving a boat, you're a pirate when your plundering on the high seas.
You have this strange ability to think critically in the dumbest way possible.
Better then not thinking critically at all.
posted by delmoi at 5:24 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of those books is a novel, but it may be that thoughtful people realize that novels are journalism.

I didn't say that novels are journalism. Doing one doesn't disqualify one from doing the other, and some would argue that a journalism background is excellent training for a novelist. Sometimes real journalists also write novels. Off the top of my head, the ranks of journalist/novelists also includes: Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Jack London, Graham Greene, Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, Steig Larsson, George Orwell, and Carl Hiasson, amongst others.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:34 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


delmoi: Are they just calling them pirates because they are criminals and live in Somalia?

No? "The leader of this group [that kindnapped Moore] is Ali Duulaaye, a well-known commander from Sa’ad clan who has a share from the pirate-held Seychelles-flagged FV ARIDE." That's an article from Somalia Report, who first reported the kidnapping as mentioned in the OP and linked from the article.

Reading carefully is probably even more important than thinking critically!
posted by ericost at 7:32 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The more read about Puntland, the more it sounds like the stablest, sanest, and most financially secure region of the country.

The dream of the nineties is alive in Puntland.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:56 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder if this kidnapping is actually revenge for the other killings that happened recently.

As far as I know they aren't part of some big club or anything. It's basically a business. Their job now is to negotiate the highest ransom possible without inviting a hostage rescue operation. One group recently claims to have negotiated a cool $3 million by kidnapping a family of Danish pacificts. One negotiating tactic used was offering to let the others go free if the boss could marry the 13 year old daughter, something I expect the pirates knew would never be accepted and also freak out the other side. Others are less subtle and just hack off limbs to show they mean business.

This is the downside of negotiating with hostage takers. Once it's known that kidnapping is highy profitable, everyone wants a piece of the action.
posted by Winnemac at 8:15 PM on January 28, 2012


I wonder if this kidnapping is actually revenge for the other killings that happened recently.

Look at the dates. Moore was kidnapped a few days before the operation was launched. It's just a coincidence.

Supposedly they're asking $8 million for him.
posted by lullaby at 8:26 PM on January 28, 2012


So he's gonna pay for his own rescue then, right?

Jesus. He's American? I assume he pays taxes? He ALREADY paid for his damn rescue. Kinda like when you pay taxes you pay for a whole host of services provided by various levels of government.

Let me add, that payment would include lifetime support for the family of any serviceman/woman who is injured or loses his/her life in the effort.

And this? I don't even know what to do with this. Have you served in the military? I'm guessing not based on that comment.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:18 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


What was he going to find out by going there that I could understand doing news searches for an hour? I'm somewhat against using scarce resources to rescue people from their own bad ideas.

Sweet lord, I hope this was a joke.

I recently had a long conversation with a Somalia expert. He was part of the failed peace negotiations back in the nineties and still keeps in daily contact with Somalis all over the country. He gave quite a disquisition about the pirates: how the situation was being critically misunderstood by Western governments, how certain hard-nosed tactics had lead to a sharp increase in dead hostages, how people in the region relate to one another and to outsiders. It was a brilliant talk, and a fascinating conversation. It was the kind of thing one can only get by talking to an insider: somebody who's been immersed in the country and culture, walked the land and broken bread with the people.

People who do this kind of thing are heroes. They put themselves in danger so that we might use our immense power and privilege more wisely. And yes, when they get into trouble it is our responsibility to try and help them as best we can. Even, yes, even if that means using some of the people and equipment we spend so much money on.

But what do I know? We could just do some google searches and that would do the same thing, right?

Right?
posted by Dreadnought at 10:08 PM on January 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


So you're equating this guy, who wrote books on surfing culture with your friend, the Somalia expert ?
posted by infini at 10:31 PM on January 28, 2012


This guy who wrote about surfing as part of his remit as a professional journalist before going to Somalia to do research on Somalia so he can write about Somalia and so further our understanding of it?

No, there's clearly no point of comparison. I mean once you've talked to surfers your career can never move on, can it?
posted by Dreadnought at 10:48 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Did you go to Somalia to have the conversation with the expert or was he closer to home? I'm guessing you did not have to place yourself in any danger to talk to an expert on Somalia, which is what our hostage did. QED.
posted by Renoroc at 10:52 PM on January 28, 2012


Ok, I've been looking at why I'm unable to rouse sympathy for this guy - a couple of things - one, unlike aid workers, he had a choice where and when to go and whom to meet and how; and second, there's been so many Americans being kidnapped in random war torn parts of the world who tend to be journalists and/or hikers, where is the upwelling of emotion for yet another one?

Even the title of the FPP says "Another American Abducted..." - perhaps its the passports that are the red flag or target but given this frequent happening, you would think that those who don't have a pressing need (did someone link to a recently published book on Somali pirates already?) to go somewhere would think twice before ending up in the obvious situation. This is not a surprise.

And its increasing frequency means its gone from any kind of concern to Yeah, what else did you expect would happen?

Now, what would be noteworthy would be if Americans kidnapped a Somali pirate or some such, no aka man bites dog.
posted by infini at 11:11 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What was he going to find out by going there that I could understand doing news searches for an hour?

But that search material is written, hopefully, by people who did original research, like this guy was attempting.
posted by Ritchie at 1:23 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just curious, is it the original fieldwork in rural Africa that's heroic or some other aspect I'm not catching?
posted by infini at 1:29 AM on January 29, 2012


No, I think that Dreadnought means that going to meet pirates and other potentially dangerous people so that you and I don't have to is the heroic bit. Same with urban gangs, being on the front lines of any war, etc.
posted by jb at 8:23 AM on January 29, 2012


This conversation has entered the realm of the ridiculous.

People who choose to do things that have a level of risk and are hurt, killed or have otherwise bad things happen to them evoke no sympathy? That's really what I am getting from some of the comments here. It seems like a very strange way to view the world and fellow human beings.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:40 PM on January 29, 2012


People who choose to do things that have a level of risk and are hurt, killed or have otherwise bad things happen to them evoke no sympathy?

Only if they're soldiers, apparently.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:53 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think in some of the disdainful comments here, there's an element of "how dare someone break out of the dreary grind of a cog in the nine-to-five machine and go exploring some remote, dangerous corner of the globe! And then to expect my tax dollars to be spent rescuing him ... the nerve!"
posted by jayder at 7:28 PM on January 29, 2012


seeing as how i am sitting in am african village you have never heard of, doing original research, breaking bread and just chillin -i find the idea that its considered heroic slightly surreal ... Oh wait i need to find someone to kidnap me first
posted by infini at 8:32 PM on January 29, 2012


are you doing ethnography among pirates? I would find that pretty brave.

Ethnography among farmers - I find that fascinating (being interested in agriculture), but less heroic. :)
posted by jb at 8:48 PM on January 29, 2012


my friends are threatening to kidnap me :p
posted by infini at 10:03 PM on January 29, 2012


seeing as how i am sitting in am african village you have never heard of, doing original research, breaking bread and just chillin -i find the idea that its considered heroic slightly surreal ... Oh wait i need to find someone to kidnap me first

Oh STFU. Go walk in a minefield and dig up live explosives before you whine about your heroic sacrifices going unnoticed.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:11 AM on January 30, 2012


Whoah, what? That wasn't what infini was saying at all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:28 AM on January 30, 2012


dont worry ... They say there is no market for folks like me any way ... Top prices for american males then females then other europeans ... A pecking order if you please. Also when i get the pc i will share the independent article on this fpp - seems the guy was looking for a story on how he thought piracy was like surfing .
posted by infini at 4:26 AM on January 30, 2012


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