Look, mateys. I love pirates. We all love pirates. So much so that the Pirate Mania that's been kicking around this country for the past 5 or so years is starting to get pretty damn tired. Yes, we all love Captain Jack Sparrow, but as Halloween rolls around once more, the abundance of Faux Jacks running around our city streets can be a bit much at times. However, there is a group of pirate lovers that takes their admiration for the scourges of the sea to a whole new level. The New York Times examines this phenomenon in this week's Sunday Styles section, with a piece on "latter day pirates," pirate re-enactors who "pursue historical authenticity — down to their home-sewn underwear, pistol ribands and molded tricorn hats."Much like Civil War or Renaissance Faire participants, these latter day Pirates try not to break character and revel in their alter-egos, and many of the pirate re-enactors claim that their alter-egos are a means for them to be free of the rules of today's society. 19 year old D'Andrea Seabrook told the Times, “It’s this idea of being able to go out and do whatever you want and be whatever you want and throw all these morals away and not care about the law, when in reality you can’t.” Seabrook isn't alone in her desire to live the pirate's life: "a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation predicted that more than 1.7 million American adults would dress as pirates for Halloween this year, beating out zombies, cowboys, devils and French maids combined." Hardcore pirate re-enactors, however, aren't too pleased with the recent influx of new mateys. John Macek, who has been a member of a historical pirate re-enactment group since the 90's, complained to the Times “Why do some of them feel like they can wear blank spandex pants and a puffy shirt and be allowed to call themselves pirates?” I'm sure Blackbeard, if he came back today and attended one of these festivals, would ask the same thing. And then, of course, he would steal everyone's wallets and the festival trophy and sail off into the sunset. And so it seems that Pirates have fallen into the category of most cool things in the world: sure, they may be super popular now, but there were people who were totally into pirates before you guys, and the Jack Sparrows of the world are simply those people who show up at a rock concert with the band's t-shirt on. While I support the historical re-enactment aspect of "latter day pirates," I'm a bit burned out on pirate mania in general. Is it time to let pirates go and move on to another pop-culture villain? The fact that zombies have been bypassed by pirates makes me a little sad inside. Because anybody can swig rum and scream "Argh!" all over town, but it takes a special kind of creepy to wander around with one's arms out, quietly murmuring "brains" the whole night through. Can I Get An Arrgh? [NY Times]
My husband and I recently played miniature golf at a pirate-themed place in Lake Placid — each hole had a sign offering up historical pirate facts. It was really interesting! The place had obviously been around for quite a while and didn't seem to be part of the whole recent pirate trend. We just couldn't figure out what the hell the High Peaks had to do with pirates. Arrgh.