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.'”

Talk Like a Pirate Day triptych

‘Elitist’: angry book pirates hit back after author campaign sinks website

Michael Scott MooreFor this year’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought I’d look at the word three different ways.

The first one is about “The Desert and the Sea” author Michael Scott Moore talking to The Daily Show Host Trevor Noah about being “a captive of Somali pirates for nearly three years, as he describes the dangerous cycle of hope and despair.” I think some of you folks outside of the United States might not be able to see the official video, but I hope you can access this YouTube piece, because it is a compelling story.

Also check out these NPR reports, What It’s Like To Be Held Hostage By Somali Pirates For 2 1/2 Years and the followup, Journalist Held Captive By Pirates Says Focus And Forgiveness Were Crucial.

The second topic I actually purloined from Arthur, who linked to ‘Elitist’: angry book pirates hit back after author campaign sinks website. This website was stealing writers’ works but it rightly got shut down. Some folks then were outraged, saying that it is “elitist” or worse, the very idea that authors expecting to be paid for their writings. What a load of…

The third topic, as is often the case, is about the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, who are going through another mediocre year. but this story’s a bit older.

From The Greatest Forgotten Home Run of All Time: “What Roberto Clemente accomplished in Pittsburgh on July 25, 1956, stupefied the tobacco-spitting baseball lifers all around him precisely because it transcended baseball, entering the realm of pure theater and then myth.” You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the subtext of this daring play.

I remember his early baseball cards referred to him as Bob Clemente, trying to Anglicize the Puerto Rican player. In 1972, my favorite player other than Willie Mays was 38. He had just hit his 3,000th major league hit, which surely qualified him for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Clemente did charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries, hands-on stuff, during the off-seasons, often delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need. On the last day of 1972, he died in a plane crash while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

He was inducted into Cooperstown in 1973, “in a special election that waived the mandatory five-year waiting period.”

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