Avast Ye Matey

Read this story. Apparently some Somalian guys got together and decided to hijack an oil tanker and hold it for ransom. Because they stole it at sea, that makes them pirates. Oil is kind of important nowadays, so this is a big deal. I’m floored by this. African pirates stealing oil isn’t something that could actually happen, is it? Isn’t that a Djimon Hounsou movie?

The most unbelievable part of this story? Pirates still exist. I didn’t realize that people actually got in boats and robbed other boats on the high seas. I thought the pirate was a meme of the past; a long forgotten artifact from the 1700’s dragged into the public conscience only by the Disney corporation and people who like to dress like Elton John on Halloween.

In 2003 pirates saw a resurgence in popularity due to the Pirates of the Caribbean series. They were romanticized by those who embraced the notion of the wild adventurer as a hero….overlooking the fact that pirates were the al Qaeda of their time. Nobody wants to admit that pirates were awful murderers who took what wasn’t theirs. Nobody calls it like it is; they’re too in love with the myth. That’s why when you see a three year old dressed like Jack Sparrow for Halloween and you ask his parents what he is, they’ll say, “He’s a pirate!” and not “He’s a rapist in a tri-cornered hat.”

Pirates, like ninjas and spies, are looked up to by kids and adults who refuse to grow up because the idea of them excites people. They are seen as the epitome of cool because they can lead a clandestine lifestyle most can only dream of. That’s why I applaud these Somalians. They got off their asses and they lived their dream. They saw a goal they wanted – a profession where they get to murder, steal, and rape – and they went out and did it. That is drive. When I’m in line to see Pirates of the Caribbean 4: Legend of the Rusty Trombone, and some six year old behind me starts popping off about wanting to be a pirate, I’m going to turn around and show him a picture of these Somalians. And I’ll say, “These guys went out and DID what you only TALK about. And what’s more: you can feed them for only pennies a day.”

It’s not even that hard to be a pirate. All you need is a boat and a gun, and bam – you’re pirating. All these people who play dress-up need to realize that they could make it happen if they got some ambition. I wonder how many douchebags who dress up for movie premieres are going to hear about this story and travel to the Horn of Africa trying to get on board with these guys and be actual pirates. I’d love to see their reaction to some real pirating:

DOUCHEBAG: GARRH, ME MATEY! What buried treasure are we going after those land lubbers for?

SOMALIAN PIRATE: Um, I don’t know about that, but could you help me hide this body? I knifed this dude for $34 and his cell phone.

DOUCHEBAG: (vomits uncontrollably at sight of dead guy)

One thing that’s evolved is the way pirates dress. They don’t look like Captain Hook anymore; now, pirates just dress like any thug on land would. Which begs the question: did pirates always dress like the criminals of the time? Was their distinctive wardrobe all that distinctive, or was it just a reflection of what all the bad guys were wearing? Maybe back in 1650, it was an everyday occurrence to have get mugged by a guy wearing a petticoat and breeches. That’s why crime is more dangerous in modern times. More intimidating attire. “Give me all your fuckin’ money!” loses its luster when it’s coming from a guy in a foppish hat. Bank robberies must have been impossible. I’d love to be a bank teller getting robbed by a bunch of pirates, because I’m not taking that seriously. “Oh man, sorry, but the showing of Ye Olde Rocky Horror Picture Show is down the street.”

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