Pirates Infiltration of Mainstream Culture

Arrr, mateys – it be a true golden age of piracy!

Well, yeah, the actual golden age of piracy was in the 1600’s, but my point is that it’s still a pretty good time for us pirate enthusiasts. The public’s love affair with buccaneers, kicked off by last summer’s Pirates of the Caribbean, has maintained a surprising amount of momentum. This past year has seen new pirate bands emerge, new pirate businesses, festivals, several pirate video games in rapid development (Sid Meier’s – woo! woo!), and a seemingly endless run of newspaper articles talking about how trendy pirates are these days. The Houston Chronicle, in fact, recently published a piece talking about how the Jolly Roger is this generation’s happy face. Finally the rest of society is learning what some of us scalliwags have known for years – Pirates rock, and if your eye is unpatched or your buckle unswashed, then you ain’t hip.

Now here’s the sad news – it can’t last, folks. Society is fickle, and it was only a few short years ago that the magazines currently discussing pirate fashion amongst teens were touting the vampire look. Give it another few years and it might be clown fashion or (god forbid) ninjas. But are we doomed to sit back, enjoy our brief moment in the sun, and then helplessly stand by as pirates go the way of Spuds McKenzie and Max Headroom? Not necessarily.

Trends come and trends go, but there is one sort of enthusiast that has maintained steady acceptance through it all – I speak of course of the cowboy enthusiast. You can’t wander into a shopping mall wearing chaps and six-shooters, mind you, but there isn’t a public area in this country where it would be overly strange to see a guy stroll by in cowboy boots and a 10-gallon hat – it’s just a normal part of life.

So why can’t it be the same for pirates? Would it be so hard to get mainstream culture to accept a guy in a frock coat and bucket boots? Is there any reason we should hesitate to lounge around the local bar sporting a sash and bandana (aside, of course, for the risk of looking very gay)? And don’t even get me started on the possibilites for modern wench-wear – I could drone on all night about bodices and petticoats, but I digress.

In my own, ever-so-humble effort to jumpstart this trend, Bilgemunky.com now offers Pirate Costume & Clothing Reviews, keeping you abreast of the very best in pirate fashion. My reviews section, however, is only a kickoff – it’s up to you to see this trend through by sporting a tricorn hat and pegleg whereever you go (the movies, the voting booth, PTA meetings, etc.) If we each do our part, then it’s only a matter of time before the pirate equivelants of “western wear stores” and Country Music Television become cornerstones of American culture – just you wait and see.


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