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Giving pirates a bad name. April 28, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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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!!!”



1. shibaguyz - April 28, 2009

We’re kind of wondering how this is all going to go over with our Sea Fair Pirates this year. They are usually doing all kinds of fundraisers and all. Should be interesting…

Gulp. But the consensus in The Wall Street Journal seemed to be (talk about a cause for cynicism!) that all the publicity was proving to be good for pirate-related franchises of all kinds. Maybe that’s because the real pirates haven’t killed anybody…

2. Lzyjo - April 28, 2009

I love the most active post feature! You shouldn’t feel like you can’t be pirates any more. All you pirates are inspired by the romantic and nostalgic pirates of history, not the GPS, power-boat driven teenagers of today. Like the news has been saying, this is the first prosecution of piracy charges in over a hundred years. The golden era of piracy is over. One of the most fascinating things I read about the pirates (which I’m sure you already know,) was they they stole saffron, because it was more valuable and a heck of a lot lighter than gold. BTW I’m married to a pirate, Pegleg, luckily for me, he mostly at sea! DH loves his pirate character. He has pirate poetry and also pirate songs!

Pegleg the Pirate! I love it, lzyjo! (And no, I actually didn’t know about the saffron—fascinating!) It never occurred to us to actually take on pirate personae, but since Long Ben was one of the most successful pirates, I guess that’s a natural for OFB. Silence could choose one of the famous female pirates or create her own character. And we already have Plutarch the Pirate Parrot waiting to take his place in the action!

3. Heather - April 28, 2009

I think we might be related! My whole family is pirate crazy. I even had a pirate wedding, complete with eye patches for the photo shoot. Who does that? I love the good old fashioned looters, keep your fun side and make those other bad ones feel ashamed.

Wow, Heather, a pirate wedding! I LOVE it!!!! And yes, good point, we’ll outlast these bad guys and continue to sail the Seven Seas, at least in our minds, and search for buried treasure in our backyards!

4. Victoria - April 28, 2009

Have you seen the pirates episode of Southpark? Hilarious.

Ha! I’ll bet!!!

5. Daphne Gould - April 28, 2009

Gee when I met a fellow blogger this last weekend I wore my pirate and ninja shirt. I didn’t even think about the Somali pirates. But then again my shirts caption says “Pirates and ninjas working together” so my pirate is much more civilized.

But Daphne, headlines around here say police are looking for a ninja in connection with some crime, so you’re in double danger. Yikes!!!

6. Ratty - April 28, 2009

Anyone knows the fun fantasy pirates are much better than the pirates in the recent news. Those politically correct people who can’t tell the difference look for ways to corrupt fun for everyone. I would just ignore them If I were you. Eventually they’ll get tired and move on to something else to attack. Maybe they have more in common with the Somali pirates than Captain Jack Sparrow does.

Ha!!! Good point, Ratty! And long may Cap’n Jack wave!!!!

7. fairegarden - April 28, 2009

Hi both, I am more than upset by those stinkin’ teenagers in the little skiffs giving fun loving pirates and their fans a bad rap. When this last bit with the US captain being captured and rescued, the tables have turned on the whole pirate mindset. Some may have to lay low for a while. As for wordpress removing those posts from your list, HUH? Do they come up on a google search? That is really strange. BTW, those numbers are amazing. I have nothing that even comes close, including the former number one, Lamb’s Ear Lambs. 🙂

You must be kidding, Frances!!! I’d have thought each and every one of your wonderful posts would blow ours out of the water (so to speak). Our top post is about to cross the 3,000-hit line, and we have ten more over 1,000 and crowding in on 2,000 views. I remember Lamb’s Ear Lambs very fondly and just wish you would sell your creations. They were so adorable! As for all things piratical, sigh. Where is Captain Jack Sparrow (or maybe Black Bart Roberts or Stede Bonnet) when you REALLY need him?!!

8. Mark "keelhaul" Jensen - April 29, 2009

Not to worry. Your Seafair Pirates will not miss a beat. 2009 marks our 60 th year anniversary and during that time we have endured many different changes and challenges. We are strong because the communities that support us are strong. Last year we appearred in the local news 200 + times 68 times in newspapers or periodicals,3 national TV programs & the largest single issue magazine in the world and we found time to make 240 + appearances in 4 countries.

We gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods and services to multiple charites and was voted the top five charities in western washington. OUr Holiday Treasure Chest Christmas program is growing by leaps and bounds.

We do what we do because we love our community. These so called “somali ” pirates while historically correct title do not effect what we do one bit. Lets call a thief a thief. beside we don’t use ak 47 we use a cannon.

Hope to see you all at Seafair

Thanks for checking in to Poor Richard’s Almanac, Keelhaul, and for all the good work your Seafair Pirates do! I’m sure the Shibaguyz will see you at Seafair this year and I know the rest of us pirates-at-heart will be there in spirit at least!

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