CORVALIS, Ore. — The U.S. Navy has confirmed the shocking news that Cap'n Crunch, the legendary explorer of many an uncharted cereal bowl, is a fraud.
After 50 years of purporting to be a naval captain, the imposter was finally unmasked this week by an alert fan on culinary site Foodbeast, who pointed out that Crunch is wearing the wrist stripes of a U.S. Navy commander rather than a captain. The scandal quickly blossomed, even garnering Gawker coverage.
"You are correct that Cap'n Crunch appears to be wearing the rank of a U.S. Navy commander," Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty, a U.S. Navy spokeswoman, tells Foreign Policy. "Oddly, our personnel records do not show a 'Cap'n Crunch' who currently serves or has served in the Navy."
On his popular Twitter site, Crunch is replying with broadsides of reggae: "They see me crunchin', they hatin', milk soakin', they tryna catch me crunchin' soggy." Crunch also states that "regarding today's rumors . . . of course I'm a Cap'n! It's the Crunch — not the clothes — that make a man."
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.
What is remarkable is how long the discrepancies in the now-disgraced Crunch's story have gone unnoticed. The master of the S.S. Guppy was purportedly born in 1963 on Crunch Island in the Sea of Milk, a region long considered a hazardous zone by nutritionists.
Crunch appears ready to go down with his ship, even hoisting Shakespeare: "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."