Tags: pirates

cookiepuss cupiepuss

Rose-tinted glasses

So, as I first reported a couple weeks back, I'm still in the midst of watching One Piece. In fact, I've watched so much One Piece I think it's been dribbling out my ears when I sleep. It was a huge mountain of episodes but I've steadily chipped away at it and am currently in the middle of Episode 463. I could actually count back and see how many episodes per day I've averaged, but the result would probably make me want to weep. I have skipped over the clearly filler episodes, figuring I'll get back to them one day, and have doggedly followed the plot where it's led.

So how is it? It's not bad at all for a shounen series. I'm still not seeing what accounts for its ridiculously high popularity, but it's clearly improved greatly ever since the Water 7 arc. Those first 200 episodes I watched once upon a time made me want to stab out my eyes with sporks. It was probably just as bad as the last hundred episodes of Naruto before Shippuden where it was nothing but filler hell.

All of that said, there is something that is starting to bug me a little bit. The entire premise of One Piece is that almost every major character is either a Pirate or a Marine and the major plots all involve the conflicts between the two groups and amongst pirates themselves. While there are 'good' and 'bad' characters in each group, it seems that the general idea of pirate gets a huge whitewash. Now, obviously the main characters never do something so heinous as to kill innocent people or loot and plunder (from those who can't afford it/don't deserve it), but this clearly isn't the case with all the other pirates. Even the ones we're supposed to view as the 'good guys' have behaved, well, like pirates though mostly off-screen. I'm starting to find that sort of disturbing and it starts to seem like relativistic morality and Karma Houdini's. The main characters always go out of their way to see no civilians/innocents get hurt, and they don't even kill bad guys to boot. Yet they seem to take the fact that many of their companions have certainly sunk ships and murdered hundreds if not thousands.

Part of this is just human nature I guess. There's absolutely nothing we won't romanticize once we get a little temporal distance from it and the actual horrors start to scab over. You can take actual historical examples, like the literal pirates of olde who were usually murderous rat bastards, or even fictional ones. Sparkling vampires, anyone? The weird difference is that if this were an American story told in cartoons or comic books, they would simply scrub the moral black and grey out of it. It's not like we haven't had pirate cartoons before but you never see pirates kill and even the big bad only tends to steal from people rather than running them through. In One Piece though, it's been alluded to many times that various pirates have killed entire crews on ships let it's not like they ever really get called on it. I mean, there's only so far you can go overlooking the sins of a person because they're your friend or ally. Well....the whole Stalin thing in WWII just popped into my head so maybe not.

Either way, it just seems whacky to me to have main characters who are so extremely goody-goody not take note that they might be sailing through a crapsack world. True, the crapsack is usually off camera, but surely they must hear about the crimes and horrors and yet, they never seem to have any doubts that the pirate life is spiffy. Frankly, it's not even like they're pirates as much as just adventurers. I guess the word pirate just doesn't mean what it used to.
garfield pirate

Rules for highly successful pirates

I ran across a list from a webcomic of rules for being a successful pirate. Based on the list, I'm thinking of giving the comic a look at some point. It's called Shlock Mercenary and has been around for years apparently. I look at this somewhat like the Evil Overlord list. Sure, it's unlikely to come in handy in any specifically referenced instance, but there are a great many life lessons you can adapt from it. For instance, I think Rule #30 has been a personal motto of mine for years.

  • * Rule #1: Pillage, then burn.

  • * Rule #2: A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on.

  • * Rule #3: An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks EVERYBODY.

  • * Rule #4: Close air support covereth a multitude of sins.

  • * Rule #6: If violence wasn't your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it.

  • * Rule #8: Mockery and derision have their place. Usually, it's on the far side of the airlock.

  • * Rule #9: Never turn your back on an enemy.

  • * Rule #10: Sometimes the only way out is through...through the hull

  • * Rule #11: Everything is air-droppable at least once

  • * Rule #12: A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head.

  • * Rule #13: Do unto others.

  • * Rule #16: Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth.

  • * Rule #27: Don't be afraid to be the first to resort to violence.

  • * Rule #29: The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, no more, no less.

  • * Rule #30: A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go.

  • * Rule #31: Only cheaters prosper.

  • * Rule #34: If you're leaving scorch-marks, you need a bigger gun.

  • * Rule #35: That which does not kill you has made a tactical error.

  • * Rule #36: When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.

  • * Rule #37: There is no "overkill". There is only "open fire" and "I need to reload".
garfield pirate

More fucking pirates

There was another news story today about yet another hijacking attempt by those Somali assholes. I'm really getting sort of pissed at these stories and I have no clue why our military doesn't simply unleash some whoopass. I've heard military spokesman and Obama administration pussies whine about the large area they have to patrol and that's why these pirates can attack with impunity and it's bullshit. It might take a long time to get a ship into range but why not just lob a fucking tomahawk at them or a predator or hell, launch a F-16 to light them up like a christmas tree. Instead of parking dozens of navy ships all over, just put one aircraft carrier somewhere in the middle and the jets can cover that entire area with firey whoopass. It's only a problem if you want to negotiate with these assholes or otherwise engage them. A 5000 lb bomb has a form of diplomacy all its own. After we turn any Somali ship who approaches into burning twisted metal a few times, I'll bet the rest will keep their fucking distance. And if not, we just have more dead Somali pirates, and that's just as good if not better.
garfield pirate

Pirates? Are you shitting me?

I really don't understand what the deal is with those Somali pirates. If you haven't heard, apparently the coast of Africa off of Somalia has become pirate central. There are roving bands of these assholes who constantly hijack ships and then hold the crew and cargo hostage until they're paid off. The most recent target was an American cargo ship and while the crew escaped, the pirates have managed to keep a hold of the captain in a defeuled life raft. Even though the US navy is in the area, they haven't made any move to rescue the guy and the pirates have called for reinforcements. Other pirate boats in the area are moving in and trying to reach the lifeboat so they can evacuate their comrades and the hostage onto land where the navy can't follow them.

All clear?

Now, what I cannot fucking understand is why this situation is even going on. Why the fuck isn't the navy sending a cruise missile up the asses of the pirates? Our rules of engagement say that we cannot fire unless fired upon and unless there is no chance of hurting civilians. The pirates know this which means they basically operate with impunity knowing that no matter how out-gunned they are, we won't actually fire. Does this sound absolutely ridiculous to anyone but me? No wonder these pirates are everywhere. We encourage them with our inaction and it's the future hostages who suffer. If we simply blew the mother-loving fuck out of each pirate ship we ran across, there wouldn't be many pirates after a while.

Really, I guess there's just no hope for it. Not with Obama in the White House. I really can't see him growing a pair and taking some definitive action. Instead, he'll dither and waffle and it'll be the next american ship hijacked that will suffer for his inaction. It's the same reason why you can't negotiate with terrorists. If you give them what they want, you only encourage them. Like a cancer, the only way to get rid of people like this is to burn them out.