Talk Like a Pirate? Outlaw? Gangster?

blind in one eye?

Sam Bass
Texas outlaw Sam Bass
Because it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, I usually throw some frivolous buccaneering factoids together and call it a day. But a few years ago – I could look it up, but I’m too lazy – I was chastised for promoting it, given the real harm that pirates had done, and continue to do.

This got me to thinking: why are some fugitives from the law so attractive to a lot of people? This 2010 article lays it out:

  1. The outlaw is a victim of injustice from authorities and is paying back the favor.
  2. The outlaw helps common people.
  3. The outlaw is sacrificing his life for a political stance.
  4. The outlaw does things the average Joe would love to try if he had the courage.
  5. The outlaw’s outlandish adventures provide entertainment like a long-running serial.

Don’t we all have some buckles we’d like to swash? So Old West outlaws and gangsters from the first third of the 20th century often became folk heroes of a sort.

All this to say that I’ll continue to do terrible pirate accents on this day. I’ll note the standings of the Pittsburgh baseball team, 5th, i.e., last place in the National League Central Division.

Why did pirates wear eye patches? It can’t be because they all went blind in one eye, can it?

Defense Against Porch Pirates Act – I hope this didn’t pass!
“A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of the felony offense of package theft and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars and be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum of five years, no part of which may be suspended nor probation granted.”

ISPs Win Landmark Case to Protect Privacy of Alleged Pirates. This was from over a year ago, but somehow I missed it.

“Two Danish ISPs have won their long-running battle to prevent the identities of alleged pirates being handed over to copyright trolls. With the trolls’ activities being described as ‘mafia-like’, ISPs Telenor and Telia argued that IP address logs should only be used in serious criminal cases. In a ruling…, one of Denmark’s highest courts agreed, stopping the copyright trolls in their tracks.”

Finally, a Now I Know from five years ago, which I started writing about but apparently never finished: The Treasure of Bedford County:

“Pirate logic … goes down the following path: If you steal a lot of gold, you can’t use all of it right away, because that will provoke the suspicion of others. Assuming that there are banks or other such financial institutions one your area of the world and your era, you can hide some there, maybe, but you run the same risk of discovery.

“You can’t keep the gold in your home because (a) you may not have a home, being a seafarer and (b) your house would probably be an obvious place for a would-be thief to look. (Check the flour.) And it’s not like you can rely on the local authorities to protect your loot from others, bribes aside, because you stole the loot in the first place. The solution, of course, is to bury the treasure, draw a map, and mark the treasure’s location with an ‘X.'”

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Talk Like a Pirate? Outlaw? Gangster?”

  1. I even forgot that this was today. I am always kind of uncomfortable with the romanticization of pirates (I once made someone angry with me when I asked if in 300 some years, terrorists would be seen as figures of fun and whimsy).

    But yeah, especially this year, I am not up for that kind of “enforced fun” thing. Luckily my workplace doesn’t go in for that sort of thing so I can mostly avoid it.

    That said, as someone who’s been porch-pirated? While I’m not in favor of heavy jail terms, I would like to see something as a deterrent. Because apparently the Golden Rule isn’t enough of a deterrent for some people these days. (Nor do I want some onerous thing on the homeowner, like “drive to a depot to get your package” because for me, the depot would probably be a half-hour away, given where I live)

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