What Pirates Can Teach Us about Democracy

I’ve always felt that pirates under­stood the good things in life. Fresh air. Rum. Inter­est­ing hats. It turns out we had more in com­mon polit­i­cal­ly than I would have giv­en them cred­it for. Accord­ing to Col­in Woodard, author of The Repub­lic of Pirates, the “Gold­en Age” of Caribbean pira­cy was­n’t too shab­by. Sea­men and cap­tains received almost equal shares of booty (that is, a ratio of 2 — 1 instead of 14 — 1) and cap­tains could be deposed at almost any time. NPR Books did a great inter­view with Woodard two weeks ago (siteiTunesfeed).

All of this means that you should go see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie when it opens today, no mat­ter how ter­ri­ble it is. If Jack Spar­row does­n’t inspire civic virtue, at least he encour­ages eye­lin­er sales. Besides, how many amuse­ment park rides can you think of that have demon­strat­ed such dra­mat­ic depth?

The oth­er rea­son to go see the movie is that Talk Like A Pirate Day is lit­er­al­ly months away. How long can you hold that “AAAARRRRRHH”?

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  • KC says:

    Just in case you can’t wait until Sep­tem­ber 19th there’s a new “real­i­ty” show com­ing this sum­mer called Pirate Mas­ter — here’s an inter­view with the host Cameron Dad­do (try to ingore the inter­view­er’s freak­ish effu­sive­ness): http://www.thenewsroom.com/details/351615?c_id=kc

    I’ll prob­a­bly tune in for the first episode, but if no one gets scurvy, I’m out.

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