Pirate Reenactors Threaten War




Jolly Roger

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

This past Sunday The New York Times took on the pointy matter of pirate reenactors.

There are a number of moments of semi-intended hilarity in the article; probably the strangest one is a bunch of pirates riding on a garbage truck emblazoned with the legend “God Bless America.” Ever since 9/11, you know, it’s been really important for all pirates to proclaim their love for America, because hey, that’s what they would have done in the War of 1812, right? Right.

While we’re on the subject, would Pirates vote for Obama or McCain? They’d kill all the poll workers and burn the polling place to the ground. Sadly, that kind of historical accuracy only holds water with the thriving Somali piracy reenactment community, which I hear falls on the “create your own persona” side of the spectrum, often at the expense of historical accuracy. But hey, like Black Bart wouldn’t have used a rocket launcher if he’d been able to get one?

Anyway, the best larf is provided by the profound split in the pirate reenactor community. Some guys want to be Jack Sparrow, y’see, whereas others go for historical realism, or something vaguely like it.

Addressing this split in ramblegeek fashion, email-interviewee John Macek of the Pirate Brethren comes across as a bit of a prig in the article, asking:

“Why do some of them feel like they can wear blank spandex pants and a puffy shirt and be allowed to call themselves pirates?…Why do others bother to study pirates in minute detail to get it ‘right,’ because after all, these guys were just a bunch of criminals, murderers, etc? Why the animosity between these two groups? What would your grandfather have said about your hobby? Many of these re-enactors claim to be ‘educating the public,’ but just what gives them the notion they are knowledgeable enough?”

I have no idea what his point is, and the article fails to enlighten me. Did I mention this deck hand is a member of the Pirate Bretheren?

Thankfull, some bands of pirates make their point with the same sort of compelling logic their predecessors would have:

At the Ojai Pirate Faire in California last month, a crew of pirate history zealots disarmed an unwitting Jack Sparrow, put him in a stockade and demanded a ransom of two harlots (a blonde and a redhead).

Owch! That’s adding insult to injury, matey. No pirate likes giving up his booty.

Read the article here.

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