I would like to thank all the readers and supporters of the Old Salt Blog. Today is the fifth anniversary of the very first post, five years ago. So happy birthday to us all. Since September 19th, 2008, the blog has been visited by 968,229 unique visitors, who have viewed 1,640,344 blog pages. Not too shabby for a personal blog. Thanks to everyone for stopping by. Please have a slice of virtual birthday cake.
This is also happens to be, regrettably, International Talk Like A Pirate Day, in which many pay homage to the Disney view of piracy, while ignoring both current events and history. Not coincidentally, five years ago today, our very first blog post was “Thank You for Not Talking Like A Pirate,” which we are reposting below:
Thank You for Not Talking Like A Pirate
If by good fortune you missed the “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”, just as well. If you managed to pass the day without a single “Aargh” or “Shiver Me Timbers” congratulations.
I have a rather good sense of humor and some might say a quick wit. (And some say half-wit, but be that as it may.) Nevertheless, I am revolted by those who confuse piracy with cute colloquialisms, funny hats and the occasional parrot. Piracy is about murder and theft. Not too unlike terrorism, though in most cases with less justification.
If piracy had disappeared in the 17th century and, as such, was nothing more than a quaint artifact of the past, it might be comparable to the Renaissance Fairs that break out every summer. The problem is, of course, that piracy hasn’t disappeared. It is alive and very nasty, particularly, these days, on the east coast of Africa off Somalia, not so far from Captain Kidd’s old cruising ground.
Many blame Disney for the trivialization of pirates into clowns, but in fairness, sailors have been the objects of fun in British musical halls for quite some time. I wonder when the transition from sailors in general to pirates in particular took place. Certainly by 1879 with G&S’s Pirates of Penzance, the shift seems to have been complete.
At least one reason for resisting the Disnefication of piracy is that wandering around shouting “Avast ye, matey” makes you look about as stupid as the last ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie, which says quite a lot.
In short, if you wouldn’t know a futtock from your buttocks, best not try to talk like a pirate.