Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I've Got Yer Plank Right Here

What Was I Thinkin' In My Head - Sly + The Family Stone (mp3)
Heart Into Suicide - Exile Parade (mp3)

Pirates. The TODAY show talked about 'em. Every friggin' news source this side of Al Jazeera has talked about 'em. Hell, I bet even Al Jazeera has talked about 'em. Let's check, shall we? ...  ... Yup, Al Jazeera's got pirate news!

Forgive me, but this whole story of the Somali pirates and the Heroic Bearded Captain and the Kick-Ass Snipers is... well, it's pretty damn cool, if we're all being completely honest. The characters in this particular yarn are so compelling that it seems everyone followed at least a teensy bit of the tale.

As the wacky liberal I sometimes find myself to be, my second reaction upon hearing that these pirates had been sniped out of existence was a sort of pity and sadness. The desperation and poverty of trying to survive in a hopeless third-world African country and all that. It's pitiful that these people fall into such a livelihood, yada yada.

The success of all these pirates, their pillaging and their booty, was pushing them up the News Stock Market. There was a Pirate Bubble on the open seas, and it was only a matter of time before they overextended their investments by catching a fish too damn big for their own good. And this one was it. They caught an American fish, with a crafty American captain. Then, to make matters worse, they killed the sympathetic nature of even a wacky liberal like myself by reneging on a trade. They promised to trade the captain for one of their compadres, but upon receipt of said compadre, they welshed and kept the captain.

It was at this precise moment in the Reality TV plot that folks everywhere said, "Oh no they dint." And then we all said, "Oh, they're fucked now."

John Grisham's plotting genius was not needed to finish this particular yarn. We all knew this one ended with the pirates floating face-down in the ocean. The only drama was whether the captain would return to our continent in or out of a pine box.

But here's what I've been thinking: Who's dying to go back and re-view those "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies??

Seriously, does anyone in America find it just a teensy bit more difficult to enjoy those movies now, after months and months of these non-Johnny Depp-lookin' dudes pillaging anything and everything in sight? Does all of Jack Sparrow's clever quips and his runway-esque strut create just the slightest "I just threw up in my mouth" kind of reaction to anyone? 'Cuz it does for me. In theory and in practice, there's very little difference between the kind of crap Jack Sparrow did as a pirate in the movies we proudly show our children and the crap these dudes did that earned them a high-caliber Navy SEAL bullet right in the skull.

Except, when Jack Sparrow was doing it, we cheered him on. And when those British soldiers were aiming at him with their muskets, we hissed and booed.

It just leaves me wondering, political leanings aside, what side are we on, and when are we on it? Do we cheer for the charming and the attractive, no matter what they do or how they do it? Do we root against the disheveled and downtrodden without regard to their motives, their needs?

If you want to watch a really great movie about this, I'd recommend George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in "Three Kings," where they're both the soldiers AND the pirates, and they're forced throughout the movie to sway back and forth between the two evils, trying desperately to figure out how to do either one and keep their souls.

In the meantime, all I can say is I don't really want to see Jack Sparrow for a while. I think I'm done with him for now. As for Keira Knightley... she might need to get in touch with me and coax me into continuing my drooly habits in her direction. Ms. Knightley can reach me at bottomoftheglass@gmail.com 24 hours a day, 13 days a week.

(I can't seem to find either of these songs anywhere on iTunes or Amazon.com... so good luck!)


Ms. Knightley said...

Dearest Billy,

I am finally ready to leave the pirate world behind me. All that sunlight and fresh sea air is really bad for my complexion. Swashbucking is highly overated. What I really want is a sweet, smart-ass fella with a runaway imagination to write me poetry and feed me bon-bons.


P.S. Are you still drooling?

Anonymous said...

Dear Pirate Hater,

We at Disney World take your patronage seriously. In light of your comments, we have decided to offer you a new option in hopes that you will not abandon our theme park experience at Pirates of the Caribbean in favor of the new Simpsons ride at Universal Studios.

It is called the "sniper". While in the safety of your boat ride through the seedy underbelly of Jack Sparrow's adventure, you can take out a customized musket with a Disney encrafted scope to help lay low the various scalliwags and miscreants that have overtaken the fine city.

In this way, we hope your anguish at being a liberal can be freed upon the animatronic heads that surround you! (P.S. You can't shoot the dog.)


Mickey Mouse

Billy said...

The levels of creativity in response -- not to mention the Scooby-Doo-esque mystery of sleuthing out the authors -- leaves me bowing in a Wayne's World "We're not worthy!" manner.

I'm flattered Ms. Knightley could shoot me down in so complimentary a fashion, and I'm outright jealous of the amendment to the Disney ride.

Kudos, commenters! Thank you!

troutking said...

I heard the Somali pirates also modeled themselves on Keith Richards. We should have just waited til they got high snorting their own father's ashes.