Debunking pirate myths


34 Responses to “Debunking pirate myths”

  1. G3 says:

    And modern pirate scholars don’t drink beer all day at work or while filming educational shows for children on the Museum Channel.

    Oh wait, another myth debunked.

  2. TheKaz1969 says:

    ha ha ha… we all know pirates are imaginary. Like elves, gremlins, and eskimos…

  3. Boundegar says:

    Everybody knows  pirates talked like pirates.  If they didn’t, then how did we get Talk Like a Pirate Day, hmmm?

  4. Dawn Grobe says:

    Well, obviously pirates talked like pirates.  They were pirates after all.   They just didn’t talk the way we think they talked.

  5. We know enough about Blackbeard to know that there WERE some who opted for an exaggerated appearance. Perhaps common sailors may have had similar casual dress to the pirates of their day, but there were officers who wore uniforms, too. And many pirates were formerly in the Navy (of a given country) or had been privateers. It stands to reason that their individual histories and the influence of dealings in the Caribbean might show in their dress, customs, and habits. 

  6. annoyingmouse says:

    “Pirates never made people walk the plank — that came from Peter Pan. Pirates didn’t have treasure maps — that came from Treasure Island. Pirates didn’t talk like pirates, either — that came from Treasure Island actor Robert Newton. … Pirates really did fly Jolly Roger flags!”

    Past tense used a lot there.  Could the biggest myth be that all pirates are buccaneers?

  7. Stefan Jones says:

    Arrrr, you’re harshing my mellow ye swab!

  8. greenberger says:

    Before we let the History Channel debunk some myths, let’s debunk the myth about the History Channel having anything to do with History first.

  9. s2redux says:

    Peter Pan and Treasure Island are bunk, fine; but I refuse to disbelieve in Cap’n Pissgums and his Perverted Pirates.

  10. Gilgongo says:

    Robert Newton wasn’t making it up. He was talking like they talked in the book Treasure Island.  Robert Louis Stevenson made a decent attempt to transcribe the British West Country accent that many sailors had in those days (and indeed, if you go to Bristol today, most people talk like that). It’s not mysterious – many criminal seafarers 200 years ago came from Bristol and the surrounding area. Check out this example:

  11. John Irvine says:

    For a great actual history of actual pirates, I highly recommend “The Republic of Pirates” by Colin Woodard.  The truth is more interesting than the myth.

  12. crenquis says:

    What’s next?  Ninja aren’t actually invisible?

    • Daemonworks says:

       Because you asked… the standard ninja outfit we all know and love came not from actual ninja (who in reality dressed like normal people), but from stage hands in traditional Japanese theatre, who dressed head-to-toe in black so the audience would know to ignore them.

  13. Eark_the_Bunny says:

    Pirates do not talk like that you scurvy curs!  Real pirates say things like, “Oh, heck Piratebay is down again!” and such.

  14. AnonymousViewer says:

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

  15. Gulliver says:

    Under the Black Flag is another great resource for the up and coming swashbuckle!

  16. bzishi says:

    Of all of the pirate myths they could have discussed they failed to examine the two most important ones:
    1) Are pirates holy, and
    2) Do pirates prevent global warming?

  17. swankles says:

    Ya but did pirates really plunder Justin Bieber mp3s?

  18. badweatherrr says:

     Pirates are really (and always have been) anarchists.

    In other words, they’re the good guys (and always have been).

    It’s the bastards in charge that are the true criminals.

  19. peter doolan says:

    a quick check on wikipedia would seem to debunk the debunking of “walking the plank“..

  20. yeltsin says:

    The  QI question might be of interest as well (though not the subsequent childish stuff).

    Also, there is the academic book “The Invisible Hook. The hidden economics of pirates” (Princeton UP). Interview with the author here. (slightly geekier: Acemoglu & Robinson vs Leeson on the efficiency of pirate democracy.

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