Monday, January 18, 2016

The Problem is a Shortage of Pirates

This week is Gasparilla week in Tampa.  I've never been (drat!) but it has been described to me as a little Mardi-Gras type festival.  Fun, but a little toned down from New Orleans.  One day, I'll have to go.

Every year when Gasparilla comes around it makes me lament the shortage of pirates nowadays. Vikings, for this discussion, fill the same role.  I'm not keen on the raping and pillaging aspects of being a pirate or a Viking.  I'd prefer they find a way to fulfil their economic duties without all the violence, that would be better, I'm not sure how possible that would be, especially nowadays.

The economic duty of the pirate was to level the playing field in a rigged game.  I guess you could say they were the first Non-Governmental Agency (NGO).  Piracy nowadays is limited to mostly the coast of Africa, but in its last glory days, someone with modest means and a lot of brains could strike at the heart of an empire (or at their pockets, hard to tell the difference sometimes).  In the long run, it probably just made the empires more powerful and taught the powerful how to get a firmer grip on their power - how to make it waterproof and bulletproof.

Robin Hood was a pirate too.  Rob from the rich and give to the poor.  That's effectively what pirates did.  They didn't rob from the rich and give to the rich, that's for sure.

It's also MLK day.  He was a different kind of pirate.  He and his crew operated without violence and instead of taking advantage of momentary weaknesses, he exposed huge societal flaws.  He too probably just taught the powerful - taught them to tighten up their game to have the appearance of fairness while minimizing sacrifice.

I am led to understand that pirates and Vikings and Robin Hood were vicious in their means.  I guess you could throw Atilla the Hun in the mix too.  Maybe Genghis Khan (despite the new chain of quick-serve restaurants bizarrely named for him.)  MLK fought viciousness by his means.  I suppose so did pirates and Vikings too  - after all its not like they were stealing cookies from Girl Scout troops.

So, I lament - not the killing or the swashbuckling (whatever that is) - but the lack of a defined method of dealing with an imbalance of power and wealth that pirates provided, if only for short time.

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