AS GOOD AS IT CAN BE

THE REPUBLIC OF PIRATES

COLIN WOODARD

This is a very readable book about diverse subjects who have very little substance. I wanted to learn about pirates who have been characterized in history, by Walt Disney, in cartoons and in art. I read this book, and I learned what happened to them and what happened to the people who put an end to them.

Pirate society, however, is not a republic.. It is similar to a mafia or an organized crime syndicate: get money by anyway possible, generally release the victims so they will go off and work to get more money and property, drink to incapacity every day, rape and otherwise be included in a society of men seeking spontaneity, caprice and ease. Sociologically, pirate society was similar to cults; it has elements of male dominated philosophies and societies which appeared in twentieth century countries where mass-murder was accepted (Germany, Cambodia and Rwanda).

A full analysis of the sociology is likely impossible. There are too few historical sources; projecting modern theories into the Seventieth Century seems impossible.

Despite these shortcomings this book is enjoyably informative. One thing it tells the modern reader is the world of the past was not settled and peaceful. There were murderers, rapists and robbers then. But there were also unusually modern situations which may never be found in any university history. The footnote on page 98 would enliven any book, although I don’t know what it has to do with pirates:

Young Sarah Walker (1700-1731) would eventually marry William Fairfax, for
whom Fairfax County, Virginia is named. Her daughter, Anne, was George
Washington’s mistress, a particularly awkward situation as she was married to
his brother, Lawrence Washington. Anne’s own brother, George Fairfax, apparently
had some African features; he suffered humiliation during a childhood visit to
England when his paternal relatives began speculating aloud as to whether his skin
would turn black at puberty.

BURNING REPUBLICANS

On social media and now on TV is a man, who says he’s burning his registration certificate showing he is a documented Republican. He is a Trump fan who is upset that Don did not read the Colorado Convention Rules and get any delegates.

Foremost, who keeps such a document that unfolds to a 2 1/2 by 1 1/2 foot table matte reflecting party affiliation? As far as I can tell on the screen the guy is burning the deed of his house. [I note the current Republican Party no longer can be accused as being tree killers. They hand out plastic cards showing party membership. Zut alors! There are no auxiliary benefits like discount rental cars.

Next, the man appears of the Boomer generation and the last thing he burned in 1968 was his Registration Card for the draft. That card is 2 by 4 inches.

Someone has taken the precaution of removing matches from this man’s reach. He used a barbecue lighter to get the flame agoing to the big paper. Think of the change of utility and cultural and legal implications. In 1968 when burning a draft card or lighting a joint, it was a secret affair. Be careful and use a match. Nowadays in Colorado, one openly uses the barbecue equipment to keep the flame agoing along a bomber.

Don Trump said he liked the uneducated (the ignorant). He will do nothing to improve their fate. Don Trump likes potheads. He’ll supply more weed and make billions. Don Trump also accepts endorsements from white power losers like David Duke. Two of three Americans distrust Don Trump; they also dislike him. Groups of disgusting, horrid Don Trump supporters can go on and on and on, and Americans are free to speculate, add to and further publicize the list of undesirables.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Englishman Matthew Arnold wrote criticism about criticism in the last half of the nineteenth century. In an essay The Modern Spirit, Range of Modern Criticism, Arnold observes:

Philistinism! – we have not the expression in English. Perhaps we have not the word because we have so much of the thing…The French had adopted the term epicier (grocer), to designate the sort of being whom the Germans designate by the term Philistine; but the French term, – besides that it casts a slur upon a respectable class, composed of living and susceptible members, while the original Philistines are dead and buried long ago, – is really…in itself much less apt and expressive than the German form.

Arnold goes on to argue that the English should adopt philistinism, as the literary term he believes appropriate. The French word is not precise. In fact it conjures many meanings. Someone might be offended especially French grocers.

Arnold misspeaks. The French know epicier is the correct word because of the varied meanings it carries. The French know food; they know what to buy and where. The French themselves see no disrespect to any part of their business community. The French know there are many, many, many, many, many epicier ordinaire in France.

I stumbled across this criticism on criticism, and if Matt Arnold is the sort of person generating this sort of malarky plaguing everyone, everywhere we should be careful not to call anyone a Philistine, or an Etruscan or a Druid.