Saturday, September 19, 2015

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Apparently, today is "Talk Like a Pirate Day" -- an official holiday in the United States or even internationally.

I wrote about this two years ago on Bubblews,  I still think the same today. By making it impossible for privateers to thrive, the United States created a nostalgia for that era, but instead of using the word "privateer" we use "pirate." We long for the valor and patriotism and determination of a Jean Laffite, but we end up talking like idiots in emulation.

The change in nomenclature between a privateer and a pirate began as early as the 19th century, when after saving the United States from certain annihilation, Jean Laffite was branded a pirate. But what does a pirate talk like, you may ask? Back when Jean Laffite was still alive, there were people who tried to imitate him. One robber of the sea left this note:

This was not written by Jean Laffite, but it was attributed to him by the papers, because that's what people back then believed that a pirate talked like. Things have gone very much downhill when today they are expected to say "Ahhrghh".


  1. I noticed stereotypical pirates became really popular with the Pirate of the Caribbean movies in the early 2000's. I thought the first movie was entertaining, but never would have considered this real history. The other movies were just not that interesting to me. Unforunately, a lot of young people today watch Pirates of the Caribbean, and probably think that is real history. The obsession with pirates was quite large a few years ago. I even heard a lot of people saying they wanting to change their last name to pirate sounding ones, or like the name Jack Sparrow of Pirates of The Caribbean.

    1. I think that while nobody considers a Disney movie about pirates to be real history, that the way they have stereotyped pirates and the way they suggest that "privateer" is just a fancy word for pirate is meant for us all to accept the inroads that the Neutrality Act has made into the American way of raising an army and a navy. People today scoff at the idea that any of that could be privately owned.

    2. I see what you mean by privateers being typecaste as pirates. Even real pirates are not like pirates of the Caribbean. For instance, when Fletcher Christian decided to mutiny against William Blight, that was considered a true act of piracy. Even that story has been romanticized, but the fate of Fletcher Christian and the mutineers was anything but that.

    3. That is a good point. Mutineers are never referred to today as pirates, and perhaps they should be.