The Pirates’ Flag Is Deepest Black

Y’arr!

Ye join me as I run ahead of a brisk sou’ wester from Maracaibo Bay to Santa Marta. The sky is clear blue, the sails are full, and above me and me crew of lusty seamen flies the Jolly Roger, proud emblem of all that is piratey. Long has this flag flown o’er the ships of buccaneer and pirate alike, the skull symbolising the death’s head that is the fate of all who cross us, and the bones symbolising bones or something.

But news has reached me that in England, the skull and cross’d bones has lost the power it once had to strike fear into the heart of lanlubbers and lily-livered merchant seafarers alike. I’ve learned that that a buccaneer in Surrey has incurred the ferocious wrath of the Royal Navy, or Mole Valley County Council or some other such lanlubbin’ scum, for his flyin’ of the dread black jack. It seems the navy sent this pirate comrade an ultimatum to strike his colours or suffer the consequences, and he, a proud man, insisted on flying the Jolly Roger from his “house”, which I take to be some class of land-based boat. I shiver to think that even now he is most likely being keel-hauled for his offence.

Distressin’ as this news is, it is sadly typical of the low esteem in which pirates are now held. In the glory days of piratin’, the 1970’s, we felt that lanlubbin’ as a political system was on it’s last legs, and that the people would any moment come to see the rightness of the pirate analysis and flock to the true buccaneer alternative. In those days, you’d fly a false flag from your ship, the flag of a nation perchance, and trick into your rogueish crew honest men (pthooh!) who thought they were signin’ on for king and country (two things no pirate has any time for). By the time they learned we were pirates, t’was too late, they were one of us. Y’arr, but we did it for their own good. T’were nought but false consciousness we were riddin’ them of, much as you’d careen a hull to rid it of barnacles.

Still flying the false flag, we’d lure in other craft a’seas, then when prey drifted too close, run up the true pirate colours and chase after the HMS Mole Valley Council or whatever it’s name might be. Usually the sight alone of the Jolly Roger would be enough to strike fear into the hearts of the civil servants aboard, and the sloop, brigantine, or local government administrative body would be taken without a shot fired. You’d pillage all they had a’board, and by nightfall be in Cartagena to sell a’market the treasury tags and staples thereby obtain’d. Nowadays though, the power of the flag has waned, through years of dilution by Johnny Depp and his new piracy. But the day will come when the pirate flag will again bring terror to all who behold it. History demands it. We at the IPR will be to the fore of the project that makes sure of’t. And if we can’t manage that, we’ll write at great length about it, for there’s little else for an old pirate to be a-doin’.

All together now me hearties, “We’ll keep the black jack flying here!”

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1 Response to “The Pirates’ Flag Is Deepest Black”


  1. 1 Long John Yamster 7 May, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    HARRRRRRRRR!!


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Arrh! The Photo above be available for us to be using though Creative Commons by missy_1074 from Flickr. We thankee!
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