Giving pirates a bad name. April 28, 2009Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: pirate week, pirates, Talk Like a Pirate Day
Here at Poor Richard’s Almanac, we love pirates and all things piratical. Every year, our friend Ben and Silence Dogood head down to the North Carolina coast, home of that most famous of all pirates, Blackbeard. We fly the skull and crossbones in our backyard, and our little red VW Golf, the Red Rogue, not only sports a pirate fish on the back but a sticker that simply says “AAAARRRGGGHHH.” Last May, we collaborated with our friend and fellow blog contributor Richard Saunders to create an entire week of piratical posts, two of which, “The best pirate movies” and “Food fit for a pirate,” continue to be among our most-viewed posts and are both climbing towards 2,000 views.
WordPress hosts our blog, and one of its many wonderful features is that it shows us our top ten posts and how many hits they’ve each gotten. The two pirate-themed posts continued their upward climb on the list until, last week, a funny thing happened: They disappeared. They’re still on the blog, people are still reading them, but they vanished from our most-viewed list, replaced by two other posts with fewer hits. What the bleep?!
Our friend Ben had to wonder if political correctness was at work, given the real-time atrocities being committed by the Somali pirates. Certainly, their behavior has been putting a damper on us. We had planned to have “Pirate Week II” on the blog this May, but were agonizing about whether that would be appallingly insensitive. We even wondered what impact the whole international incident would have on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. So I was delighted to see an article addressing this in the Wall Street Journal. I quote:
“Mark Summers [cofounder of the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day] has a beef with the pirates who are seizing cargo ships and taking hostages off the coast of Somalia: They’re ruining his bad name. For years, Mr. Summers has been donning frock coats and plumed hats… His alter ego symbolizes a spirit of freedom, he says: the romance of the open sea, self-reliance, defiance and loads of jolly good fun with a barrel (or two) of rum. At least, it did until real pirates had to come along and wreck it all.”
Our friend Ben’s feeling exactly. I commend the article to your attention (www.WSJ.com); it’s actually hysterical, especially the comments from the director of public relations for the Pittsburgh Pirates. And who knew there was a flourishing subculture of pirate reenactors with their own newsletter, No Quarter Given? Not our friend Ben. But I guess it was inevitable.
The fact that the Somali pirates are teenagers makes our friend Ben wonder how old the pirates were back in the Golden Age of Piracy (roughly 1660-1730). Perhaps we’ll make that the subject of a future Pirate Week post. Until then, we can only say “Aaaaarrrrrrr!!!”