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Why I Hate Fake Pirates

Jack_Sparrow, the most famous fake pirate (c) Disney CorpHISTORY MATTERS

In my taxonomy of Halloween monsters there are three categories. First are the imaginary monsters like vampires, trolls, devils, dragons, ghosts, and zombies. I like these monsters a lot. They are not real; although I’m afraid we’ll get a letter from someone who believes otherwise. If that person shows up with one of the above in a box, I’ll happily eat this article. (Continued below)

 

The second category includes monsters that are scary in the movies, but benign in real life. People have been legally branded as witches in New England, for example, but they were not actually supernatural figures. Usually they were helpless female victims who were defrauded of life, liberty, and property by corrupt, powerful, and superstitious neighbors. Mummies and skeletons also belong to this middle category because, in the movies, they get up and walk around. That’s scary. In real life, however, mummies and skeletons just lie still and do nothing. Space aliens are tricky too because, although there’s no evidence of them on Earth, there’s certainly life out there somewhere.

The third category includes historical monsters like pirates, evil dictators, child molesters, hit men, gangsters, some carnivorous dinosaurs, and murderers. I don’t like these guys at all because, with the exception of dinosaurs, they are really out there and they are very dangerous.

Call me a prude, but the more realistic the monster, the less I enjoy them as Halloween costumes. I prefer not to honor evil. Give me a good imaginary Wolf Man or Frankenstein’s monster any time. But when I see a witch with her stereotypical pointed hat and broom, as an historian, my mind goes to the 17th century victims in the Salem Witch Trials. I think of poor Goodwife Cole who was starved and jailed and spat upon by the citizens of Hampton for being a witch. Or I think of old George Walton whose unseen New Castle enemies assaulted him with flying rocks.

I love the gory temporary Halloween superstores that pop up each year, but not the sicker costumes that tend to mirror the headlines. We could do without Chester the Molester, Lizzie Borden, Jason, Freddy Kreuger, pimps, Adolph Hitler, Bin Laden, Jack the Ripper – and oh yes – pirates.

CONTINUE WITH FAKE PIRATES

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Thursday, June 22, 2017 
 
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