Talk Like a Pirate Day – really? That’s a thing? You bet
your aaaarrrrrse! Okay, I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re savvy to the
phenomenon that has people saying things like “Shiver me timbers!” and “Yo ho
ho and a bottle of rum!” with unfettered joy on September 22 every year. Since
2002, anyway, when a group of friends initiated this rapscallion of a holiday.
If you want the details, go here (http://www.talklikeapirate.com/about.html)
Another thing that you may know about as a tech savvy
consumer – blog reader, web surfer, etc. – is that you can change the language
setting on your facebook page to be “English (Pirate).” Bill loves this. It
calls all your friends “Cap’n” and asks you to “Update your captain’s log.” And
for “Like” it says, “Arrrr.” It's awesome.
|Stand and deliver! Adam Ant|
looked awesome as the
Why? Because pirates are awesome. You just have to look at
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow … or the guy he copied – Keith
Richards – to know this. And there’s Adam Ant (80s version) dressed as the
dandy highwayman, right? The pirate look is sweet, n’est-ce pas? Tres chic. I
think we should have “dress like a pirate day!” That, I could dig with a big
fat barnacle-covered shovel.
I guess, objectively speaking, pirates were robbers. And not as clean or fresh smelling as you or I. On the other hand,
according to Mutiny! Why We Love Pirates and How They Can Save Us a
fascinating book written by a guy named Kester Brewin, piracy should be the
wave of the future… an ideal we all should aspire to.
|Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow |
was inspired by...
Brewin discusses historical pirates – guys
who escaped the brutal near-slavelike treatment of the British navy, to experience freedom and a share of the profits. He describes the pirate’s life as hard work, but bound by honor and much more
egalitarian than traditional sailors' lives.
He also speaks of the gradual enclosure of land and the loss
of community “commons” of British rural life. With the increasing claim of previously
public land by business concerns and the nobility, regular folk had no open
land to farm or graze livestock on. This led to the The Midland Revolt in 1607 in
the England against landowners led by a tinker named John Reynolds,
aka “Captain Pouch.”
|Keith Richards who...|
Depending on your political bent, this may or may not sound
familiar to you. Brewin then goes on to discuss pirate publishing concerns as
well as pirate radio and modern day sea pirates in Somalia. His examples illustrate much-needed rebellion against the systematic domination of a “territory” by the few, to the
detriment of the many. Or the 1 percent, over the 99 percent, if you will.
In every case, the pirates were those that challenged the
system of enclosure and sought to reclaim the rights and territory that they
had been forced out of. Now, again I say, your view of this will most likely
coincide with your political leanings. A good analogy that he uses is that it
is likely the millionaire Mick Jaggers of the world who gain the most from
copyright laws, rather than the struggling musicians.
|who went on to play |
Author also used to piracy as an analogy for the rebellious
act of growing up, using Wendy’s slaying of Captain Hook in Peter Pan, and also
the conflict between Luke Skywalker and his father Darth Vadar in the Star Wars
movies as examples. In these cases, the piratical acts of the children lead to
reform of the parent as well.
You may not buy into his idealization of pirates and the
necessity of rebellious acts to shake things up. But I kind of like the idea of
going rogue. I used to work with a guy who liked to begin sentences with “When
I’m on the lam…” I love that. I know he was joking, but he actually did move to
L.A. to make his fortune, meet a fantastic wife and make the cutest baby since…
well, mine… And even though I knew at the time he was joking, I was pretty
jealous of his adventurous spirit. Even now, he’s in Japan doing some wild
thing or other.
|Blackbeard, an actual pirate|
And you know where I’m going with this, right? To the most
notorious pirate of all, the rebel Jesus. That’s right. The guy who hijacked
the Jewish religion and gave it back to the common people. When Jesus came on
the scene, the Pharisees and Saducees had taken this relationship with their
God and made it into a complex system of rules and ways to control and condemn
|Peasants kicking up a righteous fuss|
during the 1607 Midlands Revolt
I’ve been reading Leviticus lately, and believe me, the
rules God gave the Israelites in the desert actually were pretty complex and
strict. The Pharisees didn’t make that part up, but if I understand correctly,
it was the attitude of judgment and entitlement that they oozed, their love of
power, that got under Jesus’ skin... their "we're right, you suck" demeanor.
If I read correctly (and chances are that I didn't) Brewin seems to imply that Jesus hijacked the Jewish religion from His own Father,
but it seems to me that He reclaimed it for the Father and for the people He loves.
God is love and has been so from the beginning. It was the crazy priests that
had enclosed the commons, I think.
|Peter Pan and Star|
Wars are tales of
kids going rogue
on their parents.
Dig this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God. He was
with God in the beginning… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling
among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who
came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1)
See? It was all part of God’s plan. Not that it was a subversion of God Himself: “For God so
loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God
did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the
world through him.” (John 3) Arrrrrrgh! (Pirate English for "Like")
Brewin also gives the tale of the Prodigal Son a new reading in which the Father is the tyrannical landlord and the son the righteous rebel who failed and slunk back home. Certainly, we can read things however we wish, and you know that I so often do – pulling out lines of pop songs and movies to reference whatever I want them to. I also love that Brewin carries his exploration of the pirate spirit to the nth degree with this challenging picture of son seeking his own way. Nonetheless, I think I'll stick with the traditional interpretation of the loving father rejoicing at the return of the son he loves. 'Cos I guess I'm just a traditional gal... and I like to think that no matter how far I wander, my Father will embrace and welcome me on my return.
|If you're ever in Montreat, NC, |
check out this gorgeous Ben Long
fresco depicting the Prodigal Son.
It's beautiful, and quite large.
Anyway, despite the fact that I'm a bit too much of a tight-assed Evangelical to buy into some of the book's assertions, I like how Brewin writes, and I loved reading this book with its subversive (mutinous, if you will) views on redistribution of wealth, art and faith – things that
ought to belong to all, but have been enclosed by a select few.
tight-+ssed Evangelical? really?ReplyDelete
You made me giggle with that...