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Author Topic: Why do we love pirates?
mr_porteiro_head
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Why, as a culture, do we romanticize pirates? What's so great about being a theiving, murduring SOB?

Of course, when we romanticize them in film, we don't show them doing such things on screen. Capt. Sparrow spent his time dealing with Ghosts. The captain in Cutthroat Island spent her time trying to get the family gold from her evil(er) uncle. And in the Princess Bride, Westley was just saving his girl and humiliating the prince. The fact that he has been murduring and stealing for the last 10 or so years doesn't seem to have heavied his heart at all.

Why do we love pirate heros? I just don't get it.

This only seems to apply to the treasure-island type pirates. If there is ever a movie with, say, space pirates, they are usually portrayed as evil and base.

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Zamphyr
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I blame Robin Hood
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Storm Saxon
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I am right with you,mph. Every bit of attention lavished on pirates rightfully belongs to ninjas.
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skillery
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  • Pirates have mobility, and they don't have to pay for gas.
  • Pirates have a place to sleep, and they don't have to pay bills.
  • Pirates can sleep with swine or with trashy wenches.
  • Pirates don't need their teeth because they've got rum to fill their bellies.
  • Pirates don't have to worry about growing old or saving for retirement.
  • Pirates get to shoot guns and blow things up.
  • Pirates can swear without saying anything nasty.
  • Pirates have cool names.
  • Treasure!

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dkw
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Itís the clothes. Thereís just something sexy about full-sleeved shirts on men. And then thereís the long, curly, dark hair that kind of falls into your face when they kiss you and the short, dark beard sprinkled with gray thatís so incredibly . . . *ahem* . . . what was I saying? Oh yeah, pirates. Itís the clothes.
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Sal
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Hear, hear! A woman of the cloth(es)! [Smile]

[ March 30, 2004, 11:03 AM: Message edited by: Sal ]

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skillery
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What's all this kissing stuff? You forgot that pirates mostly drool. And they never miss airline flights!
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larisse
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Hmmmm.... Bob is short for Robert. And, of course, the most famous of all pirates is the Dread Pirate Roberts which does have an 's' at the end of it. I knew it! Bob_S is a pirate. The secret is out. Okay... another secret is out. [Big Grin]

Incidently, pirates are sexy because of their swashbuckling swords. Ninjas are sexy because of their katanas. Enough said. [Evil]

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Storm Saxon
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Ninjas die in battle fighting for a noble cause, or they commit sepuku.

Pirates die from friggin' scurvy. [Roll Eyes]

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skillery
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Ninjas aren't cool; they wait under outhouse seats to skewer folks when they are most vulnerable.
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Book
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Same reason we love thieves like Danny Ocean. They're just cooler than us.

Also, the silly hats.

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Fyfe
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Silly hats?

*excommunicates Book from the Milky Way*

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Suneun
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*agrees with Book* *again*

Yeah, stories with good-guy criminals are awesome. I love heist movies. Great Train Robbery? Awesome book. Ocean's Eleven? What a great bunch. Catch Me If You Can? I wish I could be so cunning. And that one was based off of truth!

I'd like to say it's like girls liking "bad boys" but I think it's different. The stereotype for bad boys is that you want to reform them, "turn them around." But for the criminals who get away with it all, I just want them to teach me what they know [Big Grin]

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aspectre
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Cuz at least they allowed SOBs to be as equal as sons of aristocrats.

As you pointed out, pirates-as-heroes come from a specific milieu: the time framed between Columbus (who began the democide and colonialist looting) and the War of 1812 (which had more to do with the British enforcing their anti-slavetrade laws upon the high seas than impressment of American sailors.)

Pirates never killed as many innocents as the conquisquedores, slavertraders, colonialists, etc that they preyed upon.
On the whole, pirates were never as nasty as the governments of the time. Most often they began their careers as privateers working to further their governments' political objectives. Naturally the layabout nobility had problems with the enoblement of those born less-than-peers.

Pirates were egalitarian and democratic in an age when only born-aristocrats were entitled to rights. Shares were split equally, with only one or two bonus shares being awarded to the leadership (unlike today when CEOs and top executives often receive hundreds of times the compensation of the crew). Projects were decided upon by vote.
They operated under the laws&protections of their Charters. Which wasn't the case for citizens of nations until the AmericanRevolution and the subsequent drafting of the USConstitution (which may have been as influenced by the pirate Charters as by the governance of the nativeAmerican IroquoisConfederation).

[ March 30, 2004, 12:21 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Jenny Gardener
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Pirates are sexy! I think it's the idea of freedom - traveling anywhere, not being held back by social expectations, and being honest with yourself when it comes to your carnality. Perhaps pirates become popular in times when society is trying to be more proper and hold it all in?
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Jenny Gardener
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dkw - You have me fanning myself. I think it really is the clothes.

Johnny Depp in pirate clothes. Cary Elwes in pirate clothes. *pant, pant* Can you imagine them in any costumes that were sexier than their pirate clothes?

Ewan McGregor groupies - wouldn't he look so hot in pirate clothes?

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eslaine
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Gina Davis looked great in Cutthroat Island

And Earth Girls are Easy for that matter.

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MEC
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I've always hated pirates, they're all a bunch of ugly smelly dirty thieves.
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Starla*
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Because Johnny Depp is dead sexy.
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Elizabeth
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I agree with Skillery and Jenny, that it has a lot to do with freedom, and general lack of inhibition. I am sure they had a lot more rules than we think, in fact I know they did, but it is the IDEA of freedom that they embody.

Is it an American thing? Do other cultures have this romanticized view of pirates?

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Belle
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I am siding with Her Most Excellent Wenchiness of the Boots here. It's the freedom, and the clothes.

They have no responsibilities to tie them down. And the sea is romantic, when it isn't trying to kill you. And we all long for a little danger and excitement.

Why did Leia fall for Han, not Luke (before she knew he was her brother?) Because, as Han said, she liked him because he wasn't nice. And his clothes. [Big Grin]

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Rhaegar The Fool
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A few main reason almost everyamerican guywants to be a pirate, privateer, buccaneer, dread pirate whatever. But above all, american guys want to be mentaly disabled pirates, (Jack Sparrow, savvy?)

They embody freedom
They fight all the time
They have great clothes
They live in a floating fortress
They have lots of guys to watch their back when they whup up on some French dudes
They get to whup up on some french dudes
They have lots of weapons
They have lots of girls
They get to impersonate and quote Jack Sparrow, Dread PIrate Roberts, Captain Blood, Sea Hawks, and no one in their workplace will make fun of them
They have lots of fun words and phrases
They get to beat up Frenchman, English, Spanish, Portugesse, etc

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Elizabeth
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But is it an American thing or a universal thing?
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Rhaegar The Fool
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I think it's somewhat international, but the real powerhouse is in the states.
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Elizabeth
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Then again, there is all the literature about loving the romantic, dangerous weasel, like Don Juan. Lancelot. Others. Hmm. Maybe a Western theme? Or is it just a human theme, one of those Jungian archetypish things?
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Rhaegar The Fool
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*Stares at big word in last sentence, the one that starts with a J*

[ March 30, 2004, 04:37 PM: Message edited by: Rhaegar The Fool ]

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Eruve Nandiriel
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10 Reasons to love Pirates:
#1 Johnny Depp
#2 Orlando Bloom
#3-10 Johnny Depp
[Kiss]

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Rhaegar The Fool
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Ahem! Sinbad! Captain Blood! Errol Flynn!
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Jenny Gardener
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Errol Flynn in Pirate Clothes. Mmm.

Harrison Ford in Pirate Clothes. Mmm.

I think I'll Wench some pirates now.

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T. Analog Kid
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Jenny Gardner has boots?
???
!!!!!!

what were we discussing again?

*ahem*

It should be noted that, often, men fighting for a cause, like America's first Naval Hero, John Paul Jones, were often branded "Pirates" by their enemies.

... and I don't have a boot *fetish* I just *really* like them... [Evil]

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Jenny Gardener
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TAK, you HAVE seen the Boot picture from WenchCon, right?
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Dagonee
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All this supposed loving of men in Pirate clothes, yet my Dobie is still ignored.

Harumph!

Dagonee
P.S. "Where is this boot picture?" he asked nonchalantly.

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T. Analog Kid
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I have not seen any of the wenchcon pictures. I don't think I could take it.
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BelladonnaOrchid
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Why do we love pirates?

Because other than belly-dancers, they're the most fun to party with at medieval faires!

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Jill
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The eyeliner. Definitely the eyeliner.

(on Johnny Depp, at least)

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BelladonnaOrchid
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Proof of my above statement
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T. Analog Kid
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I gave in to temptation, searched hatrack for "wenchcon pictures", found a link to foobonic... and it was GONE!

Is this a temporary deal or has the evidence been destroyed?

[ March 31, 2004, 08:23 AM: Message edited by: T. Analog Kid ]

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Bob the Lawyer
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It seems to me I'm going to have to get a boat and tighter pants if I want to make it with ze ladies.
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Bob_Scopatz
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BtL...

Apparently long hair and a graying beard works okay too.

[Big Grin]

dkw [Kiss]

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mr_porteiro_head
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Almost nobody has addressed my original question.

Original Question:
Why do we romanticize pirates?

Question Being Answered:
Why do we love romanticized pirates?

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sndrake
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*Wonders how many people are thinking of pirate gear as wedding gifts for Dana and Bob*

(We definitely need a pirate graemlin!)

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
Original Question:
Why do we romanticize pirates?

Question Being Answered:
Why do we love romanticized pirates?

MPH, you must give up control.

I think we romanticize pirates because each of us wishes to do something exciting and free in our lives. The types of existence that seem free from society's restrictions are all romanticized:

- join the circus
- live among the natives
- be a pirate
- spy
- bank robber
- Methodist clergywoman.

It's all the same thing, really. A way to rebel without actually taking the risks.

And those people who achieve it in reality or in fiction are romantic characters because we want to be that way.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Yeah, I see your point. I really see it with those others (except for the minister [Smile] ).

I just find it bizarre that we romantizice murudring, raping, theiving sacs of scum.

But it still doesn't answer the question -- Why PIRATES? I guess there's no good answer. Somebody did it one day, and people loved it. It caught on, and has been with us ever since. In fact, last evening I saw an episode of Jag dealing with somebody that bought into the romaticized pirate a little too much.

Bob -- I don't understand what you mean when you say I need to give up control. Do you mean of this thread? Were you serious, or was it a joke?

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Ryuko
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We romanticize pirates partly because they're far enough away that we can forget about the fact that they raped and pillaged. Since we weren't terrorized by them, we are able to forget about that and think about the cool parts... and the sexay parts...
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mr_porteiro_head
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I don't think that's true. People were writing and selling pirate stories back when there was a real chance of being murdered by pirates. [murdured by pirates is good!]
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T. Analog Kid
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*still desperately trying to find the infamous "wenchcon boot picture"*
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Bob_Scopatz
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MPH...yes, of the thread.

Ryuko, that's a pretty good theory. I heard someone talking about dinosaurs in a similar vein. In reality they were pretty frightening creatures that had tiny brains and were mostly geared towards eating. If they existed today, they'd be monsters right out of a nightmare. But since they've been gone millions of years, they aren't a threat. The remoteness allows for romanticized notions.

Makes me worry about long-distance relationships.

[Razz]

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zgator
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That from a man who wears a dead dinosaur on his head.
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saxon75
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Ninjas are far cooler than pirates because ninjas are mammals and the purpose of a ninja is to flip out and kill people. These guys are so crazy and awesome that they flip out ALL the time. I heard that there was this ninja who was eating at a diner. And when some dude dropped a spoon the ninja killed the whole town.
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sndrake
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I think some of it derives from the ambiguity around some real-life pirates - ambiguity that existed even during their lifetimes:

Jean Lafitte: Gentleman Pirate of New Orleans - Pirate and Patriot

quote:
He has been called "The Corsair," "The Buccaneer," "The King of Barataria," "The Terror of the Gulf," "The Hero of New Orleans". At three separate times, U.S. presidents have condemned, exonerated and again condemned his actions. He is known for his piracy in the Gulf of Mexico, and lauded for his heroism in the Battle of New Orleans. Each personae seems to balance the other. He hated being called "pirate," for, as he saw it, he was a "privateer" serving an economic purpose in an economically frugal time in a new country that needed to economize. When he at last sailed away from American shores, he felt betrayed by a country that didnít understand the difference.

He was Jean Lafitte.

Reading the bio is fascinating. I remember first seeing something on Lafitte when I was a kid.
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