The Glorification of Piracy – and other Forgotten History

My son thinks pirates are great.

How did we get to that?  Pirates were murdering thugs who stole and killed freely, inflicting unspeakable torment on their victims.  Have you ever stopped to think about “walking the plank” for example.  A form of enforced suicide with a lingering death.  People on a ship far from the protection of the law literally having to fight for their lives against people much more experienced.  And yet we see Pirate parties for little boys (and Princess parties for little girls, but don’t get me started on that).

When on holiday in the Canary Islands a few years ago we saw a children’s disco where there were a number of songs with actions (“heads, shoulders, knees and toes”, that sort of thing).  In one of the sequences there was a bit where the children ran around with their arms spread out as planes to the sound of a funked-up dambusters march.  This is within living memory of an overnight attack which killed 1,294 civilians drowned in the waters from the breached dams.  We were a mixed European Group including quite a few elderly Germans, any of whom might have been touched by that raid.

I’ve never been to the London Dungeon; I really don’t think I want to go (though may get dragged round it at some point).  I am uneasy about those who visit sites of former concentration camps as a tourist experience.

I’m not suggesting we should wallow in past horror, but a certain sense of collective taste might be useful, a certain deference to the people for whom it was real at the time – people like us.  

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