Kester Brewin, a teacher of mathematics in South East London, was wondering why his son has been invited to countless pirate-themed birthday parties, but not any aggravated robbery themed parties. What's the reason for our fascination with pirates?
Brewin’s answer is an amazing 13-minute video talk for TEDx Exeter (UK) based on his 2012 book, Mutiny! Why We Love Pirates and How they Can Save Us. The talk is a powerful account of 18th century piracy and a plea for all of us to become pirates as acts of radical emancipation.
For the full effect, I urge you to watch the full video....but here is a key excerpt transcribed from Brewin’s talk:
What I want to propose is that whenever we see pirates, we see a system in some kind of trouble, whether it involves politics, economics, spirituality, culture or the arts. Pirates send us a signal that something that should be held in the hands of common people, has been taken away.
Now if we look back in history, the golden age of pirates, the early 1700s, we see England, Spain, France and Holland trying to enclose the new world of the Americas into their empires. At this time we are right at the birth of emerging global capitalism. The engine of this movement is the ship. And the petrol in the engines are sailors.