Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Age of Pirates or Modern Politics?

I am a big fan of pirate video games. They are my favorite genre of game. Sid Meyer's "Pirates" is a great game. I've also played "Port Royal" versions 1 & 2 and "The Age of Pirates." I am currently waiting for "The Age of Pirates 2" which is due out soon. I've looked into "Pirates of the Burning Sea" but don't like the mass online games. Of course all of these pale compared to the best pirate video game ever produced which was "Sea Dogs." The rights to the Sea Dogs sequel were purchased by Disney and the game was changed at the last minute into the "Pirates of the Caribbean" game. This was sad because Sea Dogs 2 would have been a better game and the PotC game was not great unless you download one of modification builds from the good guys at Pirates Ahoy. But, despite the so - so game, the PotC movies are possibly my all time favorites and I generally have a Pirates marathon when the really pretty-smart - looks 20 years younger than she is wife goes away for business.

One of the best scenes in any pirate movie is the opening sequence in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie where all the people are being hanged for being, knowing or having even the slightest association with a pirate. The condemned are shuffling along in their chains to the gallows when one small boy starts to sing and before long the whole row of people waiting to die are singing this pirate song:

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho,
thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

The king and his men
stole the queen from her bed
and bound her in her Bones.
The seas be ours
and by the powers
where we will we'll roam.

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

Some men have died
and some are alive
and others sail on the sea
– with the keys to the cage...
and the Devil to pay
we lay to Fiddler's Green!

The bell has been raised
from it's watery grave...
Do you hear it's sepulchral tone?
We are a call to all,
pay heed the squall
and turn your sail toward home!

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and beggars,
never shall we die.

The reviewers who didn't understand that movie didn't listen to the song.

Something else that I find interesting about this movie is how it so accurately reflects politics today. Pirates, real pirates like those in Somalia of course are criminals. But what if we lived in a world where everyone was a criminal? What if the criminals were more honest than the law abiding? What if the law where only a shell for something more evil still?

In PotC3: At the World's End, Jack Sparrow is hunted by Davy Jones because he made a Faustian bargain with the devil and the bill is due. But Davy Jones himself is captured and used by men more evil than he who are in the government and who wish to bend the world to their own political and economic ends. Thus, the real pirates are not Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbarossa, Will Turner, Sau Feng and Elisabeth Swan but the very government. It is a tricky double plot for the pirates are still pirates but they are also heroes.

That is kind of like many great leaders. Whether Thomas Jefferson, Sun Yat Sin or Mastapha Kemal all great leaders can be viewed as either heroes or villains. Sometimes, many times in fact, they were indeed both.

It is an odd thought that an evil government threatens the liberty of honest people and criminals alike. But it is true. When justice is denied to one group it is denied to the other. When a government usurps the freedom of its citizen it becomes a piratical entity and must be opposed. It is all the sadder that often time those who lead us against great tyrants are themselves small tyrants.

When people or governments, who should know better, usurp history twisting it to an end that furthers a World View rather than bending their World View around the facts of history they become intellectual pirates. They steal our history, my history and plunder the present for their own gain. In doing so they have taken far more than material wealth. They have taken our cultural heritage by refusing to admit the good in our past but only the mistakes. They are evil and must be opposed.

My concern is that at least for the moment, those greater Pirates appear to have won. The politically correct, the socialist idiots, the lies of the political left and those who call evil good appear to have carried the day. In doing so the pirates have become the authority and I have been reduced in their eyes to a pirate simply for wanting to live as a free man. I am forced to ally myself politically with those I do not trust and whose motives I question. I wonder, if we will very soon be reminded of Elisabeth Swan when she asked "What will they see when they look at us? Will they see us cowering on a derelict ship or will they see free men?" I wonder if there will be anyone but me to man the guns and work the sails? I hope so.

But I don't like being a pirate nearly so much in real life as I do in a video game.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who seems to be saying "Yo Ho' a lot of late.

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