19 September 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Today is, apparently, Talk Like a Pirate Day.

I don't know how I missed this earlier. I can't believe it's not printed on my Audobon Backyard Birds calendar. And it wasn't in the newspaper.

Maybe if I'd turned on the TV. I think this sort of thing is right up Channel 3's alley. They've probably got Beverly Kidd on location somewhere in a tricorn hat and an eyepatch.

You may say, Jill, isn't this the sort of ludicrous hilarity in which you typically revel? Well, if you do, you'll have to speak up, because I can't hear you. Maybe consider sending it by e-mail next time so my ears don't strain.

But I digress. I do indeed enjoy a bit of juvenile frivolity every now and then. But I do not participate in Talk Like a Pirate Day.

There are two main reasons for this, which I shall elaborate for your reading pleasure. The first is that, despite the recent pop-culture success that it has enjoyed, I do not think piracy is funny or cool. Perhaps if actual piracy was a thing of the past I could bring myself to laugh about it. But there are plenty of places in the world where actual human beings are attacked, brutalized, and killed by actual pirates, and I don't find it the least bit funny or cute. These pirates do not have a skull-and-crossbones flag on their ships, and they do not dress like Johnny Depp in one of the wildly popular Disney films based on an amusement park ride. Real pirates are much more dangerous and ruthless than that. They are cruel, they are terribly violent, and some of them are downright evil.

So forgive me if I don't think that pirates are cute or funny or simply pop-culture. I haven't been able to forget an article I read about a British civilian who was savagely and brutally slain in front of his terrified wife. Maybe when I can, I will find pirates cute and amusing.

The second reason I will be speaking in my normal hybrid of American and British English today is because of the TV show "Wife Swap." Yes, "Wife Swap." I'm rather embarrassed to admit that I have actually seen that show, but the fact remains that I have actually seen probably a dozen episodes. There was a time when I needed something to fill my TV-watching gap of 4 to 6pm, and Lifetime had the answer in the form of shrill, nasty women torturing the families of other shrill, nasty women.

In one episode, one of the families involved in the swap is headed by a man whose real name eludes me because he insisted on being called Chumbucket. Yes, *the* Chumbucket. The one responsible for this august occasion known as Talk Like a Pirate Day.

How can I describe Chumbucket? Out of touch with reality is the first phrase that comes to mind. Chumbucket, and his wench - I mean, wife - are a good argument for fewer personal freedoms in America. They dress like pirates (or rather, like the Disney version of pirates), talk like pirates (or rather, like Disney pirates), annoy their neighbors, and raise their psychologically damaged children by ignoring their problems, allowing them to curse wildly, and teaching them that there is no reason to aspire to do anything to contribute meaningfully to society (or "pirattitude," as they call it). They stage pirate plays in the backyard of the hovel they call a house, they have pirate friends (Say hello to Cap'n Slappy), they wave swords. Here's a family begging for matching prescriptions for lithium if ever I've seen one.

I won't go into detail on the episode featuring this family. Suffice it to say that Chumbucket and Mrs. Chumbucket are two of the most reprehensible human beings I have ever encountered (and I went to a community college). The fact that one of them created this holiday and stands to profit from it, even in a non-monetary fashion, repulses me like a pus-oozing face wound.

So no, I will not be talking like a pirate today. And be advised, those of you who know me, that if I hear that you have spoken like a pirate today, you will land on my spreadsheet of respect somewhere in between Dr. Phil and the man who invented Esperanto. And I think we all know how I feel about Dr. Phil


Miĉjo said...

Ja akceptiĝas via opinio pri marrabistoj. Sed mi ja fakte volas scii, kiel vi opinias pri la elpensinto de Esperanto? :-)

(Point well taken about pirates. But what I'd like to know is, how you feel about the man who invented Esperanto?)

patrice stanford said...

I had a friend that one day a week she spoke like she was British....it was a ton of fun. Kinda stupid, but fun none the least. I once recorded a greeting on the phone at work in my British voice and my boss made me change it....not professional enough??? Come on!

patrice stanford said...

Oh yeah...and some days Tracy and I have a day when you have to answer every question with a question!!!!!

Jill Elizabeth said...


Was that Esperanto? If so, you have just blown my mind.

And I think that the man who invented Esperanto is a bit of a dope. Not for inventing Esperanto, but for thinking that we should (or could) have a global language.

Miĉjo said...

Yes, that was real, live Esperanto :-). There are about 2,000,000 Esperanto speakers in the world, but we tend to be a pretty inconspicuous lot, leading many people to believe that nobody speaks it. I personally think we could do a better job of advertising.

I'm not sure what you mean by "global language", but in the Esperanto community, it has a couple of meanings. Esperanto's inventor felt, at least at first, that in all interpersonal relationships except private ones, Esperanto should be used, although he seems to have softened his position somewhat later in life. Shortly after he published Esperanto, however, he relinquished control of it to the community, and most of that community rejected the stance of quasi-universal application of Esperanto. Today, almost all Esperantists feel that Esperanto's vocation is as an easy-to-learn common second language to be used between people who share no common mother tongue - essentially, in the international arena - with family, community and regional languages retaining their roles. Modern-day Esperantists advocate the worth of all languages, minority or not; the last thing we would want is to see Esperanto - or any language, for that matter - wipe out any other language.